My Husband is in the Military. What is the Protocol for Military Weddings?

Question:

My Husband is in the Military. What is the Protocol for Military Weddings?

Bella Says:

Like any other wedding, military weddings also signify traditions and etiquette. Unsurprisingly, uniforms and patriotic décor are the norms at these ceremonies. Yet, there’s so much more than what meets the eyes. 

Let’s first understand what military weddings are. 

The honor of this gorgeous ceremony goes to the brave men or women, enlisted in active duty, officers, or cadets. Though the ceremony is religious, each branch may have its unique traditions. 

Let us help you understand the protocols and traditions that matter if you haven’t been to any such ceremony. 

Dressed to Perfection

Uniforms are the most beautiful part of military weddings. The full ceremonial dress of an officer is reserved for the white-tie events. The grooms in active duty can choose to wear their Class A service dress, formal civilian tuxedo, or Mess dress (dress blues) for a cocktail dress code. 

Brides, usually, go for the traditional white gowns. Regardless of your ceremonial dress, boutonnieres are never used by the men in uniform, though the bride may hold a bouquet. 

A Venue of Honor

Military weddings can often take place in an army chapel or any other property of the armed forces. A chaplain performs the nuptials for couples opting for a designated chapel. 

The seating arrangement for the ceremony also follows the military traditions. Commanding officers sit in the front pew with the families. Arrange a table of honor near your head table for the guests in uniform and make sure they are seated according to the ranks. 

Walking Under the Arch of Sabers

It’s hard to describe the feeling of honor and reception when you walk as man and wife under an arch of sabers or swords. It’s a tradition for the commissioned officers, where the arch represents a pledge of loyalty and safe passage to the new life by their military family. 

For enlisted personnel or non-commissioned officers, it becomes the archway of rifles. If the bride isn’t from the military, the frontman holding the saber swats her gently on the behind, and other saber bearers exclaim, “Welcome to the (Branch of service), Ma’am.”

Cutting the Cake in Military Weddings

Speaking of unique traditions, this one tops others. At military weddings, the couple uses a ceremonial sword or saber to cut the cake. If you don’t own a service sword, you can ask for one from your unit’s supply office. The groom covers the bride’s hands on the handle when doing the honors. 

Every tradition at these weddings is an homage to your husband’s sacrifice and service to the country. If you don’t understand their symbolism or need help with preparations, I am right here. Just ask!

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