Like many other Vietnamese ethnic groups, the Tay people consider marriage an important event of the family and the whole clan. They uphold several marriage rules and rituals. The man has to show his love, intelligence, and honesty to make his wife happy. Customarily, the groom’s family pays almost all the wedding costs and the bride’s family contributes a small sum. In order to show that the groom’s family will firmly support the daughter-in-law, the groom’s family has to try to provide all the wedding gifts the bride’s family asks for.
In the past, almost all Tay marriages were arranged by the parents. Now young Tay people are free to choose their spouse and marriages resulted from love. After a courting period, the man’s family sends a representative, who should be an uncle or patriarch, to the woman’s family to talk about the couple’s relationship and ask for the woman’s horoscope to compare with that of the man.
Based on the horoscopes of the couple, the man’s family chooses a good day to bring offerings to the bride’s family. Senior members of the two families then discuss the wedding gifts. The groom’s family has to prepare 400 kg of pork for the wedding party and bring to the bride’s family 100 kg of pork, round glutinous rice cakes, roosters, wine, and money. The groom’s family prepares 3 to 10 trays for the marriage proposal ceremony. In the past, this has to include a 35-kg pig, 60 round glutinous rice cakes, 2 roosters, and two bottles of wine. The two families share have a meal before discussing the wedding day and presents. The bride’s family might ask for 100 kg of pork, rice, cakes, and wine.
Poor families, who can’t prepare enough themselves, ask their relatives to help them. The relatives were responsible for raising a fat pig for the groom’s family. The custom of “helping raise a pig” is no longer upheld in Lang Son. But the Tay have always had a tradition of mutual support in preparing weddings for their children.