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In southern Vietnam, couples favor massive wedding gates made from veggies

Tuesday, September 27, 2022, 13:53 GMT+7
In southern Vietnam, couples favor massive wedding gates made from veggies
A supplied photo shows a dragon and phoenix wedding gate made from vegetables and flowers by Tran Trung Hieu and his team in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City.

More and more couples in Vietnam's Mekong Delta region and Ho Chi Minh City have decided to celebrate their special day in a traditional and organic way with a veggie wedding gate.

Wedding gates made from coconut leaves, fruits, and vegetables used to be a staple at the weddings of the Mekong Delta’s residents before they were replaced by modern plastic flower gates which are more convenient and affordable.

However, in recent years more young couples have been trying to bring this feature back on their special day. 

Tran Trung Hieu has been providing wedding services, from reception meals to wedding gates, for the past ten years.

Located in the southern province of Dong Nai, Hieu and his team have traveled across Vietnam to make veggie wedding gates for nuptials in Ho Chi Minh City, An Giang, Can Tho, Long An, Bac Lieu, Hanoi, Hai Phong, and more.

A supplied photo shows Tran Trung Hieu (first on left) and his team posing with a complete wedding gate in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City.

A supplied photo shows Tran Trung Hieu (L, 1st) and his team posing with a wedding gate they made in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City.

Hieu specializes in shaping wedding gates into dragons and phoenixes, the two mythical animals representing nobility and prosperity which are widely seen in Asian weddings.

Tran Trung Hieu from the southern province of Dong Nai has been making veggie wedding gates for the past ten years. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Tran Trung Hieu from Dong Nai Province, southern Vietnam has been making veggie wedding gates for the past ten years. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Customers need to make a reservation for his service days in advance and inform Hieu the gate size at their wish, so that he can estimate the material required.

“This gate is 3.5m high and 8-10m wide,” Hieu told Tuoi Tre News while working on a wedding gate for a couple in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City.

“We have to prepare the freshest vegetables beforehand.

“The total amount of veggies needed here is 55kg, including 20kg of betel nuts, 15kg of chilies, and 20kg of okras, plus garlic and beans. 

“Besides, this gate also needs around 1,000 flowers and leaves.”

A worker attaches flowers to a wedding gate in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

A worker attaches flowers to create a wedding gate in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

According to Hieu, it takes his eight-strong team two to three days to complete a veggie wedding gate. 

“It requires multiple steps before we can have a complete gate, from selecting ingredients, transporting all materials to the venue to processing the vegetables, shaping and framing them, as well as decorating with flowers and leaves,” Hieu said. 

“The most important thing is to have a passion for learning in order to be able to create products with high esthetics."

Tran Trung Hieu glazes the dragon head to make it shiny. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Tran Trung Hieu glazes a dragon head to make it shiny. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

It also requires meticulousness, patience, and hard work to craft the very small fruits and details, Hieu added, expressing his hope to see more people doing the craft in the future. 

A wedding gate created by Hieu’s team fetches VND30-40 million (US$1,263-1,685), depending on its size. A gate can last for three days. 

“This is for my son's wedding and we wanted a special gate like this after seeing people in the Mekong Delta region have this type of beautiful veggie wedding gate,” said Duong Thi Thu Trinh, a customer from District 12. 

“It makes the wedding more special with this type of traditional gate which would offer a beautiful backdrop for guests to take photos against.”

Hieu's team delivers flowers to a wedding venue in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Hieu's team delivers flowers to a wedding venue in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Flowers are processed for the dragon head. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Flowers are processed for making a dragon head. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Tran Trung Hieu (center) and his team are working on the flowers and betel nuts for a wedding gate in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

Tran Trung Hieu (C) and his team are pictured working on flowers and betel nuts before creating a wedding gate in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Betel nuts are positioned by pins. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

A betel nut is positioned with a pin. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Pham Ut Tret, a member of Hieu’s team, is positioning okras and chillies on the dragon. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

Pham Ut Tret, a member of Hieu’s team, is shown positioning okras and chillies on a dragon shape. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Chilies, beans and garlic are used to make the dragon gate. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

Chilies, beans, and garlic are used to make a wedding gate. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Hieu's team is working on a phoenix for a wedding gate in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Hieu's team is displayed working on a phoenix for a wedding gate in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

A phoenix is being shaped from veggies. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

A phoenix is shaped from veggies. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

A worker attaches a phoenix on a wedding gate in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngọc Phượng / Tuoi Tre News

A worker attaches a phoenix to a wedding gate in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngọc Phượng / Tuoi Tre News

Members of Hieu’s team attach parts of the dragon together. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

Members of Hieu’s team attach parts of a dragon together. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Members of Hieu’s team attach parts of the dragon together. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News.

Members of Hieu’s team attach parts of a dragon together. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

A sign reads “Tan Hon,” which presents the wedding ceremony of the groom’s family, made from coconut leaves. Meanwhile, the bride’s house will see a sign of “Vu Quy” which also presents the wedding ceremony. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

A sign reads 'Tan Hon,' which presents the wedding ceremony of the groom’s family, made from coconut leaves. Meanwhile, the bride’s house will see a sign of 'Vu Quy,' which also presents the wedding ceremony. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Tran Trung Hieu prepares roses for the last decoration step. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

Tran Trung Hieu prepares roses for the last decoration step. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News

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Ngoc Phuong - Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

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