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The Traditions You Can Anticipate During a Military Wedding

Military Wedding - Aisle Decoration for Wedding

The exchange of wedding vows is a significant life event that can be founded in a variety of wedding traditions; a military wedding is not any different in this regard. In point of fact, there may be even more traditions to incorporate into the wedding if either or both of the individuals who are getting married are currently serving or have previously served in any of the branches of the United States Armed Forces. In spite of this, the experience will continue to be centered on celebrating a couple’s union; the only difference is that there will be some additional pomp and circumstance included.

Visit the professionals of a military wedding consultant and event planner, as well, to drill down into the wedding traditions and wedding customs that are most commonly observed at military weddings. In the near future, you may be invited to a military wedding, or you may be arranging one for yourself. In either case, reading this article will provide you with the critical background information you need to comprehend and appreciate the experience.

Ceremony Venue

A wedding between two members of the military need not take place on a military base. Chaplains serving on military installations are free to perform wedding ceremonies anywhere the couple chooses. However, there may be criteria you need to fulfill to gain access to a chapel associated with a certain location. For example, the Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Maryland, is a picture-perfect location for a Navy wedding, but the couple must have either a graduate, a member of the faculty or a member of the armed forces stationed in the region in order to get married there. The chaplain may want to meet with you for premarital counseling in advance of the wedding, and your selections for wedding decorations may be more limited.

Dress Code

It is up to the couple getting married to decide whether or not either of them will attend their wedding in their respective military uniforms and whether or not they would request that their guests also wear their respective uniforms. It is important for the couple to make it clear in the invitation package that they want the dress code to permit the wearing of uniforms.

When it comes to branches of the armed forces that have more than one style of uniform, the season of the wedding is generally used to choose which uniform is worn. At the beginning of summer, for instance, the dress uniform for the Navy consists of whites rather than blues. In light of this, Wise suggests that the members of the wedding party should dress similarly to the bride and groom if they choose to wear their whites to the ceremony. Everyone who takes part in the Arch of Sabers is required to wear uniforms, and those uniforms ought to be comparable to what a member of the couple who is also in uniform is wearing.

Status and Rank Determine Seating

Military officers of higher rank (captains, admirals, generals, etc.) will be seated in the front row of the church behind the bride and groom’s immediate relatives. Wise typically also prepares premium parking spots for these VIP guests while planning the wedding day logistics.

“Distinguished visitor” tables at the welcome. There will be special tables set up for the highest-ranking service personnel and their guests, who will be seated near the happy couple. After that, officers and their dates or families will be seated together based on their ranks.

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Cutting a Cake with a Sword

It is not uncommon for couples who are getting married to decide to cut their wedding cake with a ceremonial saber, especially if one of the members of the couple is a member of the armed forces. In most cases, the military spouse will hand over the sword to their partner, at which point both members of the pair will lay their hands on the blade and jointly cut into the sweet treat.

Patriotic Music Picks

At a wedding for members of the armed forces, it is not at all unusual to hear the trademark song of the service member’s branch. Although the national anthem is frequently selected by engaged couples to serve as the song played as they leave the ceremony, it is not the only available choice. If there are members of a number of various branches of the armed forces present, one amusing method to recognize who is in the room is to play a medley of songs from each branch and urge the members to rise when they hear their branch’s song being performed in the medley.

Despite the fact that it is not part of any official canon, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” is another well-known song that you might hear at a Navy wedding. (Yes, we have Top Gun to thank for that one!) According to Wise, in a heterosexual couple, the groomsmen will generally encircle the bride and sing the tune to her at a few points later on in the reception party.

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Frequently asked questions

Does the military pay for your wedding?

A military chapel is typically free to use for weddings, and since the Chaplin is serving in the military, you typically don’t have to pay. However, be sure to enquire about their wedding demands.

Why does the military marry fast?

In response, the military has decided to accept entire families, and as long as everyone in the family is married, it will pay for all of their relocation costs. Because of this law, people frequently get married earlier than they had planned to and occasionally to partners they may not have chosen. 

Can unmarried couples live on a military base?

Outside of specific mitigating circumstances where the non-service member would be defined as a caregiver for the service member’s children, an unmarried couple is not permitted to reside on a base. Therefore, single military spouses usually reside off-base.

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