What is a crazy Hmong wedding?  A typical Hmong wedding can be an interesting and exciting event for most of those who attend one for the first time.   Below are some reasons why a Hmong wedding can seem a little crazy to those outside of the culture. 

1. The groom must pay a dowry for the bride

A Hmong woman is a valuable commodity and once a Hmong man takes her from her family, he is taking away important future earnings from that family.  Therefore, he must pay the bride’s parents a dowry that is worth her value. The dowry can increase or decrease depending on the bride’s skills.  Additional fees may be charged as well if the groom may have violated any cultural regulations such as taking the bride before asking his family for her hand in marriage.

2. The wedding lasts two days

The afternoon before the wedding ceremony, the groom and bride will make their trip from the groom’s family residence to the bride’s family residence. Once the groom and bride arrive at the bride’s family residence, the bride will be taken into a room with other women to receive advice on how to be a prosperous housewife.  The groom along with his groomsmen will go into a separate room with the bride’s family to negotiate the bride’s dowry.

They will have a small dinner that evening and spend the night there.  On the following day, a spiritual ceremony is conducted to call upon spirits to protect the bride and groom.  Family members will also tie a string on the bride and groom’s wrists while chanting blessings of a prosperous marriage.  Once the ceremony is complete, the celebration begins.

3. They drink for hours

The Hmong people are divided into clans so the groom will generally invite his clan to meet his bride’s clan during this ceremony.  Each member of the bride’s clan will offer a drink to the groom and the groom’s clan members as a way to introduce himself.  This drunken introduction is usually between the men in the two clans and can last for hours.  Most of the time, the only way to stop the drinking is for the groom to pass out or to flee with his bride.  

A Hmong wedding is definitely an interesting cultural spectacle.  If you live in any area where there are Hmong people, ask them if you can attend a wedding ceremony and you will find that most of them will be very welcoming.  Read the article "What is a Hmong?" to see where you may encounter a Hmong.  When you attend a Hmong wedding, you will have one of the most exciting international experiences of your life without having to travel outside of the country.