There are a lot of details involved in planning a wedding, but even more so for a military one.

Unpredictable deployment schedules and attendees from far away can make selecting a location and date seem impossible — but even if you dodge all of that, there are countless traditions and protocol to consider and each one offers up a meaningful way to pay homage to the time spent serving our country.

If you are marrying a servicemember (or you are a servicemember getting married), here are 4 ways to make your military wedding day special:


1. Have Your Servicemember Wear Their Military Dress Uniform

Photography by Devin Briscoe Photography (Norfolk, VA)

Veterans and military retirees have the option to wear a dress uniform to their own wedding. If you, your spouse, or both of you serve and would like to don a military dress uniform, go for it! It could be a great way to make your military wedding day momentous and meaningful. Plus, the photos will turn out beautifully!

As for the bridal party, Father/Mother of the Bride, and guests, an officer or enlisted man/woman may also wear their uniform, as long as it’s in accordance with the formality of the wedding and seasonal regulations.

Read more about military weddings attire from the Knot.


2. Include the Arch of Swords or Sabers

Photography by Brooke Photography (Indianapolis, IN)

Common at officer weddings, this tradition is called the Arch of Sabers (Army and Air Force) or the Arch of Swords (Navy and Marine Corps) and, for some, it is considered a rite of passage for a military bride.

Essentially, a special detail of six or eight servicemembers will march in a double line then stand and face each other. When the order is given to draw swords (or sabers), each person simultaneously draws a ceremonial sword and holds it with the blade pointed up, forming an arch. As the bride and groom pass through the arch, the last two bearers drop their sabers or swords, forming a cross to block the path of the couple. The groom then kisses his bride. The crossed swords are raised for the couple to pass through.

In Marine weddings, after the couple kisses, the lead Marine may lower his sword and give the bride a gentle swat on her behind as he declares, “Welcome to the Marine Corps, ma’am!”

Learn more about using the sword and saber during military weddings.


3. Bring Your Dog of Honor

Your pets are a huge part of your lives together, so why not include them in your wedding? Whether you would like your dog to accompany you down the aisle, be your ring bearer or flower girl, appear in your wedding photos, or even if you’d like to surprise your bride or groom with your animal for a “first touch” or “first look” experience; there are tons of ways to incorporate your furry best friend in your special day.

FairyTail Pet Care specializes in “wedding day pet care” which is a unique service for couples who want to have their dogs as a part of their celebration, but don’t want to have to worry about the logistics. They offer full day-of services, including professional handlers, venue coordination, constant love and care, dog exercise and adventure, round-trip transportation for your pet, custom animal wedding attire, and all of the toys, treats, and poop bags your furry friend may need. FairyTail Pet Care has locations in Florida, Georgia, and Pennsylvania with the availability to travel worldwide.


4. Cut Your Cake with a Sword

When having a military wedding, consider cutting the cake in style — with a ceremonial sword or saber! Traditionally, the bride and groom use the sword to cut the first slice of cake together and serve it to each other.


Did you incorporate a special military tradition at your wedding? Tell us all about it!


More Military Wedding Resources from SpouseLink:

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