Congratulations! You are newly engaged and ready to start planning one of the most memorable days of you and your fiance's lives. If you or your fiance are in the military and planning on incorporating military traditions into your wedding, planning may be a little different than if you were a civilian. There are different traditions depending on the branch of military and you might have to plan the wedding long distance, but don't fret! Here are a five things to know when planning your military wedding.
Timing is Everything
You both already know this, but timing may play an important factor is choosing a date for your big day. If you or your significant other have Permanent Change of Station orders you probably want to get married before the move actually happens. This way your spouse can be added to the orders and the military will pay for the relocation for both of you. If you can't get married before the move, remember you will have to pay for the relocation for your spouse out of pocket.
You might also have to plan your wedding long-distance if you're stationed away from home. In this case, consider hiring an event-planner in that area to help sort out details while you're away. Don't forget to get wedding insurance too, in case orders change and you or your fiance can't make the wedding!
This first tradition is very common in military weddings. The unique tradition takes place after the ceremony and includes six to eight service members lining up in pairs to make an arch with swords, sabers, or rifles. Once the arch is complete, the couple normally kisses and then walk under the arch. When the couple reaches near the end of the arch, the new bride (if not currently a service member) is tapped on the back by the bearers who exclaim, "Welcome to the (Branch of Service)! Civilians in the wedding party are expected to stand during this as a sign of respect. If you don't have enough military members in your wedding party to create the arch, it's common to ask military guests to step in.
This next tradition is a fun one that military couples can add into their wedding day. Instead of cutting the cake with a knife, military couples can hold a sword or saber to cut their cake. Adding this unique touch to your wedding day will become a cherished memory and will make for a great photo or video!
A military wedding can call for much more formal dress attire. It's a widely popular decision for military men to wear their dress uniform. Men in the wedding party may also choose to wear their dress uniform, but it is not required. Boutonnieres are never worn with military uniforms; instead military decorations should be worn.
Women may also choose to wear their dress uniform instead of a dress, but it's at their discretion. Some women decide to wear both, adorning their dress uniform at the ceremony and a wedding gown during the reception.
Military guests can decide whether or not they want to attend the wedding in their uniforms.
In addition to the many wedding venues across the world like the Silver Fox Barn, military couples are able to say "I Do" on base. Each base has at least one chapel used for religious services. Base chaplins offer military couples many ways to get married, including religious, non-religious, casual, civilian-formal, and military-formal.
Planning your honeymoon while one or both of you are in the military can be tough, especially if one spouse is active duty or if leave time is short. Did you know that there members of the military can travel Space-A for free on military aircraft to locations around the world? Make sure your travel plans are set for a way home before you leave, this way you're not worrying to find a flight home if the space available option isn't available on the way back.
Military members can also use the Armed Forces Vacation Club when planning their honeymoon. This program gives members discounted deals on vacation rentals around the world and even plans trips around the Space-A program! Billeting on any military base around the world could be another option for you two. Most bases offer rentals for a very small amount to members.
Although planning a military wedding may be a bit different than planning a civilian wedding, it is one of high importance and meaning. Welcoming a new spouse into not only your immediate family, but also your military family will be one of the most memorable and meaningful days of your lives and we hope your cherish every moment of it!