What Is Military Wedding: Complete Guide

If you’re unsure what is military wedding, it is the union of someone serving or has served in any US military branch. We will discuss what to expect when attending a military wedding to help you further understand how it differs from other weddings. 

We will also provide a checklist of requirements for couples about to have a military wedding. And if you’re still in the planning stage, here are the questions to ask when planning a wedding

what is military wedding


What Is Military Wedding And What To Expect

From the name itself, military weddings refer to the union of a bride and groom but are also an honor reserved for someone serving or has served in any branch of the US military. It can be the bride or groom who is enlisted, an officer, or a cadet, and each branch of the US military tends to have its wedding traditions. 

And while it’s a wedding, a military wedding also becomes a way to celebrate patriotism. Therefore, it has some unique traditions compared to a traditional wedding ceremony. 


What makes a military wedding ceremony different from a traditional wedding?

One of the most significant things that differentiate a military wedding ceremony from traditional weddings is the special attention to high-ranking officers. Depending on the military branch, they are the admirals, captains, generals, and colonels. 

If they attend the wedding, they’ll be seated at a special table near the head table and other honored guests like the bride and groom’s closest family members. If there are non-commissioned officers of equal rank, they’ll also be honored the same. 

As for the formality of the military wedding, it can be as formal or traditional as the bride and groom want. The couple can dress in uniforms or wear the classic white bridal gown and black tux. 


What to wear to a military wedding?

If you’re a guest at a military wedding and are also a member of the military, you should adhere to the couple’s level of formality. This can mean wearing your service uniform, while those who aren’t part of the military can follow the event’s dress code. 


Do you bring a gift to a military wedding?

You can check the wedding invitation or website for the couple’s preference regarding gifts. If their registry is on Amazon, here is how to search for a wedding registry on Amazon


Military Wedding Traditions

Note that there might be other traditions in the wedding, depending on the couple’s branch of the US military. These are only some of what you can see unique to military weddings. 


The American Flag

The American flag is on display during the ceremony, typically to the left of the officiant. There may also be other patriotic decorations in the wedding venue. 


The wedding attire

If the groom wears the full military uniform at his wedding, he should follow his specific branch’s standards. And if both the bride and groom are in the military, they can opt for ceremonial uniforms or traditional wedding outfits. 

As for the groom and groomsmen wearing their uniforms, note that they’re not allowed to pin boutonnieres in their outfits. And if any wedding party member is carrying a cutlass or saber, they must wear white gloves.


Wedding exit

The newlyweds can have the Arch of Sabers or Arch of Rifles for their wedding exit to signify loyalty to their military family. If the bride is not in the military, she can be tapped behind with a saber before passing with the groom as a sign of welcoming. 


Cake cutting

If either the bride or groom is a military officer, they will use a ceremonial military sword for the cake cutting. The partner in the military can also present the sword to their partner before cutting the cake. 


Military Wedding Requirements


What is the paperwork for a military wedding?

You can check websites like Military OneSource to know the list of paperwork that you will file to get married in the military. They include your marriage certificate, military identification card, and the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.


Where does the wedding ceremony occur?

You can have your military wedding in a military chapel or academy ground. Make sure to apply or reserve the site ahead of time and ask your installation if you would instead get married somewhere else.


Who officiates a military wedding?

A military chaplain will marry you if you have a wedding at a military chapel. You don’t need to pay them, but you can donate to the chappel and offer an honorarium to the assisting clergyman. 


How to plan the seating for a military wedding?

Remember to seat the high-ranking officials at special tables both during the wedding ceremony and reception. They can even sit in the front if the couple’s parents are absent. 


Does Military Pay For Wedding?

You can save hundreds to thousands of dollars if you opt to marry in a military chapel. The officiant is also likely to be free, but it’s preferred to offer a donation to the chapel. 



And that’s it! You just learned what is military wedding, which is a way to honor and celebrate patriotism as someone serving or has served in any branch of the US military is being married. 

However, you must know traditions and requirements if you’re having a military wedding. Know the specific traditions per branch and plan your venue, especially when honoring high-ranking officials who’ll attend the wedding. 

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