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Select personalised. Apply market research to generate audience insights. Measure content performance. Develop and improve products. List of Partners vendors. Photo by Photography Anthology. Plus, different branches of the military have different variations of these traditions. Like all nuptial ceremonies, military weddings are celebratory and meaningful events but with an added air of patriotism.
They're meant to honor anyone who has served or is currently serving in any branch of the U. Incorporating long-standing traditions makes military weddings that much more special, and there's a lot more guidance when it comes to making decisions about the venue, decorations, recessional songand more.
Wondering what to expect at a military wedding? We called upon Amber Chaib, a U. Navy veteran, to break it down and offer insight that will make both planning and attending a military wedding a breeze. Meet the Expert. Amber Chaib is a U. Navy veteran Marriage military woman the brand director for Military Spouse and G.
Jobs magazine. Chaib adds that both veterans and retirees of the military Marriage military woman wear their service dress uniforms for weddings and other special occasions of the same caliber. Guests who are not in the military should wear clothing that matches the dress code and formality of the event. Anyone hosting a military wedding has the option to host the ceremony at a military chapel or on academy grounds.
All service academies have more than one chapel for members of different religions. However, the couple may choose to host their ceremony at their regular place of worship or another venue. For those couples who choose to marry at a military chapel, a military chaplain will officiate the ceremony. Chaplains are commissioned officers who are paid by their branch of service, so the couple does not have to pay them, though a donation to the chapel is encouraged.
Couples may choose to have a civilian clergy member assist the chaplain in the ceremony. This depends on the couple's personal, cultural, and religious preferences and the type of ceremonial rituals they choose to Marriage military woman in.
Some couples choose to participate in every military wedding tradition, which can make for a longer ceremony, while others incorporate only a few. This would depend on the couple's preference, but many couples will register for gifts. If not, consider a gift with a military theme. When in doubt, look to the invitation for directions regarding gifts. Below, learn all about the traditions, plus what to plan for and expect at a military wedding ceremony. At the reception, military members should be seated by rank captains with captains, sergeants with sergeants, etc.
Military personnel may also be seated together at a table of honor near the head table, or they can sit with the civilian guests if the couple prefers. Each branch of service has specific seating guidelines, but overall, high-ranking officers generals, captains are given positions of the highest honor both at the ceremony and reception. An American flag and the bride or groom's unit standard are usually on display during the ceremony as a of respect. Protocol dictates that this should be displayed to the left of the officiant when viewed by the gathered guests. In addition to the flag, the couple may choose to incorporate other patriotic decorations and colors into their ceremony and reception.
If the ceremony is being held at a military chapel, the couple will have to get permission to decorate from the chaplain first. If either or both partners are in the military, they have the option of wearing a full ceremonial dress instead of civilian clothing. For the groom, this might be dress whites in the summer or dress blues in the winter. For the bride, this could be a ceremonial uniform or a traditional wedding dress. If either is an officer, their evening dress uniform is incredibly formal and should be reserved for a white-tie affair while dinner or mess dress uniforms are appropriate for black-tie events.
Dress blues are the best choice for a wedding with a cocktail or formal dress code. If the groom chooses to be wed in full military uniform, they'll need to adhere to the unique regulatory standards that each branch holds, including universal grooming standards, such as shaving. Chaib explains that all men in uniform must be clean-shaven, and these same rules apply to any vets or retirees planning to don a uniform.
However, the opportunity to again wear a uniform that holds so much national and personal ificance may be a major motivation. Out of respect, boutonnieres are not allowed to be pinned onto uniforms, no matter the formality. This applies to both the groom and groomsmen. Any military decorations they might have will serve as the "boutonniere" in this case.
The bride, however, may carry a bouquet, even if opting to wear a uniform instead of a traditional wedding dress. Any member of the wedding party in uniform who is carrying a saber or cutlass, whether an officer or enlisted personnel, must wear white gloves. This is typically required of military members for most ceremonial events. The groom and best man are exempt, however, as they will be handling the rings. If the groom carries a saber or cutlass, the bride will stand to the groom's right at the altar to avoid the blade rather than on the left, which is traditional at non-military weddings.
While most non-military couples choose a classical or modern song for their wedding recessional, many military members will choose to play their service branch's song for their ceremony exit. Army, while "Anchors Aweigh" serves as the fight song of the U. If the bride and groom are members of the military but serve in different branches, they can choose to forego the tradition altogether or pick another military song.
Similarly, they may play patriotic tunes during the reception. If one or both of the newlyweds are commissioned officers, they may exit the ceremony beneath an archway of sabers held by other military members, known as the Arch of Sabers Marriage military woman the Arch of Swords if they're in the Navy or Marine Corps. If the partners are noncommissioned officers or enlisted personnel, they will instead use a variation known as the Arch of Rifles. The arch serves as a pledge of loyalty to the couple by their military family and often ends with the final two military members lowering their sabers to prevent the couple from passing.
Traditionally, brides who aren't in the military may be ceremonially tapped on the behind with a saber before the couple is allowed to pass—it's considered a way to "welcome" them into the military family. Though less common than it used to be, it's still practiced today, and brides can request to skip this part if they're not comfortable with it. The sword cake-cutting is perhaps one of the most recognizable military wedding traditions.
If the bride or groom is an officer, they will use a ceremonial military sword to cut their wedding cake instead of a knife or cake server. Traditionally, the military spouse presents the sword to their partner before they cut the cake. Then, customarily, the bride places a hand underneath the groom's on the handle of the sword, and they cut through the cake together; however, this can be updated according to the couple's preferences.
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I Accept Show Purposes. By Jaimie Mackey Jaimie Mackey. Jaimie Mackey was the Brides real weddings editor from to She also worked as a luxury wedding planning producing over high-end weddings and events over four wedding seasons in Colorado. Brides's Editorial Guidelines. Fact checked by Cherisse Harris. Cherisse Harris is a fact checker with a focus on lifestyle, beauty, and parenting. Meet the Expert Amber Chaib is a U. What should I wear to a military wedding?
Where is a military wedding held? Who officiates a military wedding? How long is a military wedding ceremony? Should I bring a gift? Seating Based on Military Status and Rank.Marriage military woman
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9 Military Wedding Traditions You Need to Know