3 Key Differences When Planning a Military Wedding

Members of the military have a few extra things to consider when planning their wedding. For example, you have extra options for locations, have to plan for including military dress uniforms, and might be expected to choose patriotic decorations for the reception. In honor of those serving our country this Patriot’s Day, let’s take a look at three important aspects to consider when planning a military wedding.

Military Wedding

Photograph by Appleye Photography

Consider a military wedding chapel.

Military chaplains perform weddings free of charge, and you can usually use an on-base chapel for no charge, although it is customary to make a small donation to show your appreciation. This is the perfect combination of having a meaningful ceremony site, while also cutting costs from your budget! If you choose to celebrate in a chapel on base, be sure to check with the officiant before picking out patriotic decorations for the ceremony. Sometimes the chapel will provide them, and sometimes it is your responsibility. They will almost definitely have strict guidelines if you are providing your own. Choose modest, patriotic decorations, such as simple flowers and an American flag, to avoid breaking any rules. military dress uniforms

Photograph by Appleye Photography

Plan for military dress uniforms.

It is customary for military members in the bridal party to wear their military dress uniforms, although it is not uncommon for female members to wear bridesmaid dresses instead. Any non-military members will be wearing formal attire, so it can work well to have a mixture of military dress uniforms and formal wear on both sides of the aisle. However, it can also look striking to have bridesmaids in navy or green dresses that match the uniform color (or colors) of the groomsmen. Keep in mind when planning, that boutonnieres are never worn with military dress uniforms, so only order them for civilian party members. Finally, while it is expected of grooms to wear military dress uniforms, brides have more flexibility. If you are a member of the military and wish to wear your uniform, wonderful! Otherwise, it is absolutely acceptable to don your dream wedding dress instead. You could even wear your uniform for the ceremony, and change into your bridal gown for the reception if you want to enjoy both options! military wedding

Photograph by Appleye Photography

Get caught up on military wedding traditions.

Probably one of the biggest differences in a military wedding is the Arch of Sabers (commissioned officers) or Arch of Rifles (non-commissioned officers and other enlisted personnel) tradition. You’ve probably seen newlywed couples in movies passing through the regal-looking tunnel created by 6-8 military members and their sabers or rifles. Imagine the stunning photograph you could get while stopping to steal a quick kiss at the end of the tunnel! On a related note, another fun military wedding tradition is getting to use a ceremonial sword or saber to cut the cake! Sounds like way more fun than your everyday cake-cutting knife, don’t you think?

Are you having a military wedding? Did you have patriotic decorations? If you’re a bride, would you wear your uniform or a bridal gown? Share your opinion below!

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