Vietnamese wedding food similar like Chinese wedding food, has special symbolism: mostly wishes of happiness, longevity, or fertility. The number of courses is also significant as same as Chinese culture. At a wedding banquet, eight dishes are usually served – not including the dessert as a "good luck".
Nowadays, a wedding banquet starts with appetizers such as “dragon-phoenix” plates or cold plates which consist of various sliced meats, jellyfish, and various types of nuts shaped like dragons and phoenixes and served chilled. In a marriage, the dragon symbolises the male role while the phoenix symbolises the female role.
Roast Suckling Pig. Roasted pork is a symbol of virginity. (The groom presents a whole roasted pork to the bride’s family at the engagement party and at the wedding ceremony in the morning).
Quail. According to Shu Shu Costa, the author of Wild Geese and Tea, pigeon has tender meat that symbolises peace. Quail is offered whole to each guest so each and every one will also experience a peaceful life.
Shark’s Fin Soup. Usually follows the appetizers. The type of soup has some significance, for example, shark’s fin soup indicates wealth because this delicacy is very expensive.
Lobster. Red is the color for happiness, so serving Lobster would signify joy and celebration. Also, serving the dish whole, i.e. the whole lobster, would symbolise completeness.
Vegetables with Sea Cucumber. Serving sea cucumber with vegetables is a sign of selflessness because “sea cucumber” sounds like “good heart” and this dish wishes the couple to think in a similar way – to avoid conflict.
Fish. Serving fish would hope that the couple will experience a life together with abundance because “fish”" sounds like “plentiful”.
Noodles served at the end would symbolise longevity because noodles come in long strands.
Sweet Red Bean Soup. Serving dessert probably wishes the newlyweds a sweet life. The hot sweet red bean soup should contain lotus seeds and a red beans to wish the newlyweds a hundred years of togetherness.
I've noticed lately at many weddings, at the end of the banquet, waiters usually pass out take-away boxes to the guests because there is usually enough food for everyone and some left over; this represents abundance. It is acceptable to take some of the food home because it is not good to waste good food – or anything else for that matter.