Today's Bride

How to Plan a Military Wedding

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While planning any wedding is stressful, planning a military wedding adds a whole different level of stress to the process. There are different traditions for each branch of the military. We have answered a few common questions to make this planning process less overwhelming.

What if we are having the wedding in a different State?

Military Couple | John Paul Stuios | As seen on TodaysBride.com

John Paul Studios

Typically most people in the military will have their wedding in their home state instead of the state they are stationed in. It may be easier to travel home instead of trying to find a date for all of their family and friends to travel to them. However, it can be difficult to find local vendors when you live across the country. This is when you need to find someone you trust to take over, whether it be a professional wedding planner, your mom, or a local wedding resource like Today’s Bride.

If you or your fiance has leave before the wedding and are planning on traveling home for it, set aside two days to strictly meet with potential vendors. Beware that you will have to plan far in advance. Set up appointments as soon as you know the dates you will be home to ensure the companies you want to meet with will be available.

What do I wear?

Military Wedding | Black Dog Photo Co. | As seen on TodaysBride.com

Black Dog Photo Co.

If your soon-to-be-husband is in the military, he is required to wear his dress uniform. If there are any men in the wedding party that are also in the military, they do not have to wear their dress uniform, but they may want to. For the men dressed in uniforms, they should wear their military decorations instead of boutonnieres.

However, if the bride is in the military, she can decide if she wants to wear a wedding dress or her dress uniform. Some brides may even decide to wear their dress uniforms at their ceremony and change into a dress for the reception. This is a decision that is completely up to you. At the end of the day, these will be your pictures to look back on for years to come.

What are some traditions I should be aware of?

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

Sabrina Hall Photography

There are a few things you should keep in mind when having a military wedding. You must seat guests in the military according to rank and title. All high-ranking officials should be seated in positions of honor at the ceremony and reception.

Some military couples will decide to exit the ceremony under an archway of swords or rifles. Only people in the military can help create the arch. Civilians in the wedding party are expected to stand as a sign of respect. If you do not have enough people in the military in your wedding party to create the arch (which is usually six to eight people) it is common to ask guests in the military to step in.

Some couples also decide to pass under the arch as they walk up to cut the cake. The couple will then cut the cake using a sword or saber. Cutting the wedding cake is already a part of the reception that everyone looks forward to, so make it even more memorable if you are having a military wedding.


Planning a military wedding can be more work because of the extra planning and customs. However, it will all be worth it in the end. The traditions that come along with a military wedding will make the day unforgettable.

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