by Diana Mojica Valadez.
The celebration of our nation’s independence may have occurred last month, but for military couples, patriotism is a way of life so why not Say I do in Red White and Blue? With deployments, permanent change of station orders, and adjusting to a strict work schedule, leading a military life can be both overwhelming and honorable. A military-themed wedding is a beautiful way of showcasing the traditions that bear a high degree of pride and honor involved in officiating a marriage.
This may sound obvious but couples that plan on having a military-themed wedding must have keen sensitivity about their attire. All military branches have strict dress codes–especially for important events. For example, when decorating a military dress uniform with awards, the service member must be consistent. Some awards come in the form of a medal and ribbon, while others ONLY come in the form of a ribbon. Don’t mix ribbons with medals. Create a clean, sharp, neatly-organized decorated uniform with ONLY medals or ONLY ribbons. It’ll impress guests and the photographs will look stunning.
The Arch of Sabers
After the ceremony, the newlywed couple usually walks under an arch of sabers, curved swords with only one edge–it is a beautiful and symbolic act that signifies the couples passage onto their new life together. This act, however, should only be performed for commissioned officers by commissioned officers (the United States Marine Corps is the only branch that authorizes noncommissioned officers to perform this act). Usually it takes six to eight groomsmen to create the arch. When the leading usher orders, “center face” he is signaling the groomsmen to form two facing lines ready to create an arch when he orders, “draw swords.” As previously noted, this is a beautiful and symbolic passage that although is not required, many military couples chose to incorporate this tradition because of the charming and appealing visual and its romantic symbolism.
Among other decorations, the reception venue should be adorned with an American flag and the flag of the unit. Military guests are usually seated in order of rank and regimental music may be played during the bride and groom’s grand entrance. Furthermore, when the time to cut the cake arrives, it should be sliced using a saber or a sword.
The true beauty of a military wedding is that it allows servicemen and women of different cultures and faiths to incorporate their American identity into their wedding.