Military Weddings

July 4, 2012 at 10:00 am 4 comments

Exuding a feeling of patriotism, military weddings are a great way for a service couple to celebrate their nuptials for each other in the presence of family, friends and comrades –in-arms. Military weddings are similar to civilian ceremonies in many ways with a few notable exceptions. When hiring vendors for your wedding, be sure to inquire about discounts for military personnel, a way for businesses to offer reduced-priced services for the men and women who serve our country. Read on to learn more about military weddings.

Location

Military bases make for great wedding locations; many feature beautiful chapels and offer halls with the capacity to hold large quantities of guests. Reserving a military chapel and reception hall is just like a civilian wedding, except due to the high demand you may need to reserve your location at least a year in advance. Generally there is no charge but it shows good etiquette to make a donation to the chapel. If you choose a military academy as your wedding destination, note that you must be an active or retired graduate or a dependent of such, serve as enlisted personnel or an officer assigned to the academy, or hold a position as official faculty or staff member.

Attire

Military dress uniforms are the civilian equivalent of black tie tuxedos. Each branch of the service offers distinctive dress rules that may vary according to the time of year and formality of the wedding. The Air Force authorizes full dress uniforms for weddings from Service Dress to Formal Dress. The Army sanctions Army Dress Blues or Blue or White Mess Dress. In regards to weddings, the Navy permits full dress uniforms. Marines may wear Blue Dress or Blue-White Dress and Evening Dress for officers. The Coast Guard permits Full Dress, Formal Dress Blue, Dinner Dress, Formal Dress and Service Dress uniforms. Check with your military branch to verify the appropriate choice of uniform before wearing on your wedding day.

Guest Etiquette    

Invite your commanding officer and spouse to your wedding as well as any other important staff officers and their spouses. The commanding officer and spouse are seated on the same row as the family or have them seated immediately behind the family. If the parents of the bride or groom are not present, seat your commanding officer and spouse in their stead on the front row. At the reception, seat military personnel according to rank.

The Arch of Sabers

After the exchange of ‘I do’s’, the couple may depart the facilities under a remarkable archway of formally dressed military personnel holding-with hands raised high-a variety of swords, sabers or rifles, depending on the military branch. The purpose is for the newlyweds to walk underneath the arch. The eye-catching activity is called the Arch of Sabers for the Army and Air Force and the Arch of Swords for the Marines and Navy. This impressive tradition defines the line between military and civilian weddings. The Saber Arch is a tradition inspired by the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom.

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