Military Weddings: are a privilege of those in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Cadets or Special Forces. The format is still that of a religious wedding according to the bride and grooms denomination. The first decision to be made, having sought permission from your Commanding Officer to marry, is where to be married, including whether or not to be married on or off Base.
Tips on How to Organize your Military Wedding:
Organizationally they do not differ from any other wedding. Click on this link for your wedding timetable and wedding day timetable.
If you decide, and are granted permission, to hold your wedding on base then:
– arrange to meet with the military Chaplain
– book the military chapel as soon as possible (like all other churches there will be popular months of the year that will require booking far in advance)
– seek permission to carry arms if requiring a Guard of Honor
– seek permission to hold a private function and reserve the Officers Mess if holding your wedding reception on base
– write letters of introduction to the Catering Corp, Conductor of the Military Band, Senior Steward of the Mess, etc. so that the wedding organizer may meet with them.
– ensure you seek security clearance for non-military personnel in your bridal party and on your guest list
– check to see if there is a preferred list of providers for external goods and services, who will already have security clearance, that you may utilize
– enquire where photographs may take place, if an external photographer is permitted, or whether military personnel should be utilized for security reasons
– familiarize yourself with your Regiment’s history, traditions and customs, rules and regulations
– ensure you have presented all the necessary documentation and verified your planes with the appropriate military authorities
– if marrying on a military base overseas, check any additional papers that may be required
Military Weddings Dress Code:
Military weddings are formal occasions, where military personnel past and present wear their uniform and non-military guests are suitably attired. The dress code should be indicated on the wedding invitation.
– “Mess Dress” equates to “Black Tie”, i.e. formal
– “Class A”, or “Service Dress” equates to lounge suites, i.e. semi-formal
– button holes may not be worn with military uniform
– medals may be worn with military uniform
– a military bride, in uniform, may carry a bouquet of flowers
– a military bride may opt to wear a traditional white wedding dress
– military bridesmaids may wear their uniform
– military bridesmaids may wear bridesmaid dresses, it is suggested in colours of their force, e.g. green for Army, navy for Navy, etc., or including the colours of their regimental flag. This would also apply to groomsmen.
– a military groom will usually always wear his military uniform
Military Weddings held off Base:
All of the above will apply. However, bear in mind:
– additional security if there is to be a large gathering of military personnel
– permission to carry arms in a civilian setting and security of those arms once the wedding ceremony is over
– check where the Guard of Honor may be formed, i.e. inside the church, in the entrance, or outside the church
Other Tips for Military Weddings:
– ensure you military uniform has been freshly laundered or dry cleaned
– do not forget to polish your shoes!
– seek permission for your Guard of Honor to carry a sword, saber, lance, rifle etc.
– make sure you have invited the Commanding Officer to your wedding
– include your regiments/military flag in your floral decorations
– if not bearing arms the Guard of Honor may salute
– set your wedding theme to include your Regiments mascot
– seat your wedding guests in order of their rank
I hope you have great fun in organizing your wedding. In some ways, by following your Regiments traditions this has achieved most of the decision making for you and neither couple will have to suffer the in-laws ideas!