Today's Bride

Simple Guide to the Perfect Military Wedding

With Memorial Day having arrived, we want to honor our servicemen and women with a simple guide to a beautiful military wedding. Thank each and every service person who works to keep our country safe.

Location

Having your wedding ceremony at a church or on the beach is always an option, but you can also consider having the ceremony on academy grounds or a military chapel! All service members (active-duty and retired), National Guard, and active-duty reserve service members are eligible to use a military chapel for their wedding ceremony. As there are specific requirements, you should check your local installation chaplain office for more details.

Traditional Attire

There are some differences in attire for military weddings. If the groom is in the military, it is customary that he wear his military uniform, as well as any other male military service members in both the wedding party and on the guest list. Depending on the season, military men (Navy specifically) may wear white pants as opposed to their dark pant uniform. The bride however, has the option to wear her uniform or she may wear a traditional wedding dress if she prefers. In any case, the bride may carry a bouquet.

Military Wedding | LMAC Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

LMAC Photography

Saber Arch

One of the unique traditions of a military wedding is the arch of swords. The bride and groom walk under this arch at the end of their ceremony. The ushers “draw swords” when they are commanded and hold up their swords (or sabers) in the form of an arch. Once the couple passes under, the ushers are commanded to “return swords” and they escort the bridesmaids down the aisle. The arch of swords represents the newlyweds’ safe passage into a new life together.

Military Wedding |Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Guest Seating

In addition to regular seating arrangements, as a military serviceman or woman, it is important to seat your military guests according to their rank. There should be a designated place for the commanding officer of the bride or groom. Additionally, seat high-ranking officials (lieutenants, colonels and above) at positions of honor at both your wedding ceremony and reception. Seat other military guests according to rank, also.

military wedding | AJF Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

AJF Photography

Decor by Military Branch

You may want to incorporate the colors of you military branch into your wedding ceremony and reception. Below are a list of the five branches of the military and their colors. Accenting the chairs or including centerpieces with the colors at the wedding reception brings a nicely added touch to the wedding decor. You can also get creative with decor by incorporating the branch colors in the napkins, flowers, place settings, linens, and even lighting. If picking these decorations is not your strong suit, give your vision to your wedding planner and they’ll ensure it gets done!

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Military Wedding | Sabrina Hall Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Sabrina Hall Photography

Navy colors: Blue and gold

Marine Corps: Scarlet and gold

Army: Black and gold

Air Force: Ultramarine blue and gold

Coast Guard: White, coast guard blue and red

Check out this blog of decor inspiration based on military branch!

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Cake cutting

When cutting the cake, military weddings include some unique traditions. The bride and groom usually cross under the saber/sword arch again and make their way to the cake. After the groom gives the bride his uncovered sword or saber, he then places his hands over hers and they cut their first piece of cake together.

Military | Genevieve Nisly Photography | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Genevieve Nisly Photography

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With these implemented ideas, you are sure to have a beautiful, traditional military wedding! Thank you again to all of our service men and women who fight for our safety and freedom.

Want even more military wedding inspiration? Check out our Pinterest Board.

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