Being introduced to the military life can be quite the change! Many sacrifices and compromises have to be made. At times it can be very tough for the service member and also for their family. But there are also so many rewarding aspects of this branch. If you are ready to dive into an ever changing atmosphere, then let me guide you through these tips to make your military wedding as easy and as memorable as possible.
1. Flexibility and Location
When choosing your wedding date it is important to book your chapel early in advance, as is with most weddings. Have alternative dates to choose from just in case something comes up. What might add on to the flair of a military wedding is choosing a chapel on the installation. If you do so make sure to check about sign in procedures for your guests.
2. Cutting the Cake
One of the biggest highlights of any wedding is the cutting of the wedding cake. What makes this so special in a military setting is that this is done with a sword or saber. Traditionally the wife holds the sword or saber and the husband places his hands over hers.
3. Saber Arch
There are so many pretty send offs after the ceremony, either very traditional with rice or modern with bubbles or confetti. The moments captured are unforgettable. A military tradition for this send off is the sword or saber arch in which there are six or eight service members who are lined up in pairs and make an arch with swords or sabers for the married couple to walk under. This is considered to be a sign of good passage.
4. Seating Guide
Although it might be a nice idea to seat service members with civilians, it is best if service members are grouped together and seated by rank. What one could consider is having a table of honor for specific military personnel.
If your spouse decides to wear his uniform for the ceremony, reception or both, keep in mind that boutonnieres are not allowed. Uniforms have strict regulations on how they look and where something is placed. Following military decorations are allowed and are piece of the uniform, e.g. patches, medals, insignias. If the bride is the service member and chooses to wear her uniform, she may carry a bouquet.
6. Military Dress and Service Uniforms
The most obvious of a military wedding is seeing the service member wear his/her uniform. If members of the wedding party or other guests are also members of the military, they should wear what the bride and/or groom will be wearing and their attire should be the same level of formality. For those guests who do not serve, the soon to be wife/husband can decide on a color scheme or how formal the attire should be.
7. Ranks and Titles
Titles and ranks are very important to a service member because these have been earned and rewarded to hard work and dedication. When sending out formal invitations make sure to address the service member correctly.
8. Where to get Military Wedding Details
To make sure that you are going by the book and staying within the guidelines, further instructions can be found in a unit’s protocol. Further guidance can also be given by the chaplain.
Although there are many rules and regulations (and not just on the wedding part) that the military enforce, it is not impossible to have a beautiful and memorable day. One thing to remember is that there is so much pride and honor in what you and/or your spouse do. You are embarking on a ride of your lifetime with many changes and adventures and the best thing about it, is that you will be sharing these moments together, side by side.