The day has finally arrived. After all these years waiting for the right one, you finally find that special someone. Soon a marriage proposal comes your way, one that will surely change life forever. You finally get the opportunity to plan the wedding you’ve dreamed about since childhood. All the plans begin falling in place, when suddenly things change dramatically. Your soon-to-be spouse learns that they are being deployed oversees. All the hopes and dreams for happiness appear lost, at least for the moment. You still long to get married, but there is so much to do, and so many unique circumstances that other couples don’t face. From finding a chaplain to the financial costs of planning a rush wedding, the task can seem daunting.
There are others too who have lived the military life from Day One and are now proud to be a part of it themselves having enlisted. Having grown up with parents in the military, changing from base to base, and city to city, the couple longs for a military wedding that brings with it the traditions and pride lived their entire life. Yet, as everyone in the military knows, there are many tried and trued rules and regulations on doing things right. Planning a wedding and making sure to stay within all the guidelines can be overwhelming. The bride needs answers on how to do it and these answers aren’t found in the pages of the numerous bridal magazines or bridal books out there. But hope is not lost.
As everyone knows, there are vast differences from a civilian wedding and a military wedding. The ceremony may be held at the base/post chapel. The officiant would be a military chaplain. The Arch of Sabers or Swords (dependent on the branch of service) is used. And special attention needs to be placed on the formalities of the invitations and seating arrangements.
To help plan a military wedding, here are some tips:
#1 – Buy Wedding Insurance. Even if the couple does not choose to have the traditional Military Wedding, insurance (unless they are having a quick small civil ceremony at the courthouse) will save headaches and cover the loss of deposits or money due to changes or cancellations. When marrying into the military, the never-ending changes of deployment dates – quick deployments, delayed deployments, and extended deployments are common. It’s best to plan ahead and be safe. Take this example: The date has been set for a year out. The deposits have been paid and invitations prepared. Then a set of orders arrives for the bride or groom that reads, “Report to your duty station 19 May 2007. Unfortunately, the wedding date has been set for 25 May 2007.” You now have to change everything and re-order invitations. Unless working with very military friendly vendors, there is a real risk of losing deposits. Insurance is a way to safeguard against this.
# 2 – Learn the language. For a new bride that is marrying into the service, there is a whole new set of lingo to learn. Among the most common would be the formalities of the Arch-is it Swords or Sabers? The answer – Sabers are used for Air Force and Army. Swords are used for Coast Guard, Marine Corps and the Navy. National Guard and Reserve go by the same etiquette and regulations of their service branch (i.e. Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Naval Reserve, etc). Also, the majority of military personnel do not own a Sword or Saber. However, they can contact the Chaplain, normally he/she will have these for this use or his/her Commander will. There are also so many other terms you want to become familiar with to be knowledgeable.
#3 – Question often asked — Can the bride’s “swat” with the sword be omitted from the ceremony? Answer – For traditions sake, it is better left in the ceremony. When the Arch has been formed, the bride and groom will then pass through the Arch of Saber or Swords (this symbolizes the welcome and safe transition into a new life together as a couple). The couple pauses as the last two men lower their sabers or swords in front of the bride and groom and then at that time the man to the right will then lightly “swat” the bride of on the rear and say “Welcome to the Army,” or the appropriate branch of service. This step should only be omitted if the bride is the service member.
#4 – It’s important to know the proper seating arrangements for guests and also where the bride and groom should stand, including who stands on which side. The standing arrangement is determined by whether the service member being an officer or being enlisted. A guest list will have Commanders, other Officers within the unit, and peers. It’s important to know the proper seating for guests and also for the receiving line. All persons that are associated with a service member (i.e. their Commanders, Officers and peers within the unit or office) should be invited to the wedding. When seating the groom or bride’s Commander and his/her spouse, they are to be seated with the family of the bride or groom, whichever group they represent. Commanders are usually seated in the front row when the bride or groom’s parents cannot be in attendance. All other higher-ranking Officers are to be seated directly behind the family of either the bride or groom.
Sounds overwhelming doesn’t it? Well now with the help of an innovative website, Military Weddings at http://www.Military-Weddings.com, you can get all the answers you need. MilitaryWeddings.com is a complete wedding planning site solely for the Military community. It provides everything to plan a Military wedding from engagement to honeymoon including who to contact in the Military installation; protocol and etiquette in seating arrangements; writing announcements; sending out invitations (the correct way of addressing an envelope to commanding officer); the ceremony itself; Military chaplain services and whether to use the base or post chapel. Plus, a complete shopping center for your entire wedding needs including stationery, gifts, bride and groom basics, and everything needed for that special day.
Planning your wedding can be fun and exciting with the right tools. Stop by today and enjoy a wedding that you can remember for years to come.
About The Author: GiGi Rena Rogers is an Army Wife of 11-½ years, the Founder of Military Weddings.com and CEO of CT Publishing. For assistance and resources to plan you Military Wedding you can contact her by visiting http://www.Military-Weddings.com or by emailing [email protected] Article is free to be reprinted as long as the author’s bio remains intact.