A Few Simple Guidelines for Your Military Wedding

Military weddings are really the same as any other wedding, with the exception of attire and a few traditions.

To have a military wedding, either the bride or the groom must be currently in the military.

In a military wedding if the groom is serving in the armed forces, he must wear his dress uniform in the ceremony. As part of the outfit he may wear a sword or saber but never a boutonniere.

A military bride has the option to wear her dress uniform or a traditional wedding gown. Other military personnel in the wedding party and wedding guests, male or female, usually wear a military dress uniform.

Despite the differences in attire and protocol, a military wedding is pretty much the same as a traditional wedding with include some military traditions.

One of the most common military wedding tradition is the arch of swords or sabres, which symbolizes a safe entry into their new life together. Navy and Marine Corps’ use swords for the arch and the Army and Air Force uses sabres.

Usually at the conclusion of the ceremony, but can also be done as they enter the reception, the newly married couple walks arm and arm beneath an archway of crossed swords.

If the bride is not in the military, the last saber bearer typically will gently and playfully swat the bride’s backside as she walks through the arch, and says “Welcome to the (insert branch) Ma’am!”

Another tradition is for the bride and groom to use a sword to cut the first piece of their wedding cake. As in a “regular” cake cutting, the bride holds the sword and the groom places his hand over hers.

When determining the seating chart for a military wedding you need to consider any high ranking officers who may be in attendance. The bride or groom’s commanding officer along with his spouse should be seated in the front row of the respective side if the parents are not there. Or, he and his spouse may sit in the second or third row with the family. The remainder of military guests should be seated by rank in the rows just behind the family.

Photo credit: Couple in garden – © Katseyephoto | Dreamstime.com – Happy Wedding Couple In Garden Photo

Photo credit: Arch of sabres – © Michellepix | Dreamstime.com – Under The Saber Photo

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