A few weeks ago now I began a pretty large scale commercial assignment for a chain of high end hotels, the first of which took me to Chau Doc, Vietnam, which lies right on the border with Cambodia. Along with shooting the interiors of the hotels, part of the job is also capturing the interesting sights in their general vicinity that guests can visit. One of these in Chau Doc are the Cham villages. Cham people are descendants of the former Champa Kingdom, and also found in a few other areas of Vietnam and Cambodia, though they practice different religions. Those near here are Muslim, while others farther north may also be Hindu. They speak Vietnamese, as well as their own language. Upon visiting this village, I met several people who, speaking American English, told me that they were preparing for a wedding the next day, and in typical friendly fashion, invited me to come back for it. Luckily our shooting schedule permitted, and I did just that. It was quite interesting, the people couldn’t have been nicer, and these are a few of the frames I caught during an early morning village wedding.
Some gathered outside the house in waiting
while others in the wedding party got ready inside.
A hired band with an open mic policy provided music that could be heard by anyone within several hundred meters it seemed.
This, which I captured the on the first day’s visit, and how I learned there was to be a wedding,
became lunch for the more than one hundred villagers who joined the celebration.
As all was being prepared, guests moved through the small village to the home.
Some by foot, and some by the local traditional transport called a xe loi, essentially a bicycle with a cart attached.
As others gathered at the house, the men gathered at the mosque to carry out their wedding traditions.
Once ready, they all made their way the fifty meters or so to the house where all were waiting. The groom’s attire I thought was quite interesting, almost resembling something like an Arab sheik to me.
The father of the bride seemed to have this thousand yard stare about him the whole time.
The couple, I think were actually married in a very small, hot and crowded room, which I tried to access, but could see nothing of them. Only backs of heads and cameras. But when the vows were taken pretty quickly, they emerged and went next door to the easier to access ‘picture room.’
Following a cavalcade of photos, they rejoined the guests for the well known cake part of weddings, and it seemed like that’s where the loose narrative ends. Below are just a few extra frames for fun.
Youth in traditional prayer position.
These three boys were the grooms accompaniments, seen above bearing gifts.
She and her family were from this village, but now live in Pennsylvania. It was them I met the morning of the first visit, looking like villagers, but speaking just like I do, that caught be a bit off guard, but was definitely a welcome surprise.
And the final frame I snapped on my way out. Following all the ceremony, a youngster enjoys his lunch apart from the rest of the crowd.