Friday, November 22, 2013

Elements of Military Weddings

With Veteran’s Day having passed and Thanksgiving around the corner, we take a look at the traditions of military weddings.  In military weddings, special customs demonstrate the honor of individuals who have served our country.

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Of course, the ring completes every engagement. Midshipmen and cadets may give their fiancĂ©es a smaller version of their class ring as an engagement ring, instead of the traditional diamond. 


The main noticeable difference at a military wedding is the attire, with military uniforms replacing tuxedos or suits. The particular uniform can differ depending on the style of wedding, season, and guidelines found in the Government-manual of uniforms. 

The “mess” dress uniform is typical for formal weddings. If the wedding is semi-formal or more casual, service or class-A attire is appropriate.  If any groomsmen serve in a different branch than the groom, they can simply wear their uniforms of comparable formality. If the bride is in the military, she may wear her dress uniform, though most opt for a traditional wedding gown. Family and guests who are active or retired military may also wear uniforms, if they choose.

If the groom and groomsmen are in military dress, then boutonnieres are not used and they simply wear their military decorations.  

Often military couples will get married in a military academy or a chapel on base, though they may opt for their own church, synagogue, or wedding venue.  The chaplain of the base may officiate, since the bride or groom may already have close ties with him, and the chaplain will do the ceremony for free.    
Seating at the ceremony can be slightly different from the typical wedding, as well. Guests who are currently serving or  have served in the past should be seated according to rank.


For music, the couple may opt for regimental compositions or the theme song of the branch for which the bride or groom serves. 


Flags can be placed around the venue to show the couple’s patriotism. Brides can add flowers around the flag to help accentuate the look.

After the ceremony, the bride and groom will leave the sanctuary greeted by guards holding ceremonial weapons.  The newlyweds will usually stop and kiss as they walk through the guards (making for a great photo op!).  Don't be surprised if the bride gets a pat on the butt, as she exits the arch of guards, welcoming her into that branch of service. 

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The cake cutting makes for another fun military tradition. The groom offers his sword to the bride, and they then make the first cut of the cake together holding his sword. That's one oversized cake knife!

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Military weddings are impressive to see, and incorporating military customs into the wedding allows family and guests to share in the pride for the bride or groom who serves, as well as the pride for this country.

*Natalie Gudel contributed to this article.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Planning Weddings from Out-Of-Town

Couples today are constantly on the move! Sometimes that means the newly engaged end up planning out-of-state weddings. Though planning from afar may present some added challenges,  there are steps a bride can take to ensure that the planning goes smoothly. 

Get Planning!
Wedding planning does not have to be stressful. But nothing contributes more to a stressful planning process than a shortage of time, especially when planning from out-of-town. Ideally, leave yourself eight months to a year to plan. Start with numbers. Talk about budget and the size of the guest list with your fiancĂ©. With the numbers out of the way, you can then jump right into finding the perfect venue.

Book a Pro!
Booking a wedding planner in the city where you are getting married can help alleviate some pressure. A wedding planner will already be an expert on venues and vendors in the area and will drastically cut down on your time spent researching options. The wedding planner can do the initial research for you, allowing you to simply make the final decisions.

Utilize Technology!
We live in the era of technology, which makes wedding planning from out-of-town so much easier. You can view pictures of venues online, see examples of the past work of vendors, read reviews of vendors, and even listen to audio samples of bands. When you find a few companies you’re interested in, you can e-mail them for more info, participate in consultations by phone or Skype, and share your ideas with them on Pinterest.

Enlist the Locals!
Contact family or friends that live in the area where you’ll be hosting the wedding. Ask them to be scouts for you, attending meetings on your behalf. Having someone at the appointments whose opinion you value (and who can take pictures for you) can be particularly helpful when scoping out potential venues.

Wedding planning from afar may have its extra challenges, but if love can surpass distance, surely the wedding planning can as well!  Happy Planning!

*Natalie Gudel contributed to this article.