By Shannon Lawlor
Weddings are a beautiful way to honor the love between two people. Every wedding is unique and indicative of each couple’s personality and relationship. There are some common traditions that people can choose to follow on their special day, and military wedding traditions are especially interesting. If you’re looking to tie the knot and start your military marriage, keep reading to learn about some popular traditions.

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Military Wedding Traditions

Military weddings can have several special moments and traditions to make your day truly stand out. While a lot of couples choose to follow these traditions, it’s ultimately up to the couple to decide what they want their ceremony to look like. There are a lot of options, both big and small, each military member can choose from.

Wedding Venue

You can choose to hold the ceremony anywhere you’d like. But traditionally, the wedding ceremony will be held at a military chapel. This can occur on the service member’s military base. Hosting a military wedding at a military chapel does come with some rules and stipulations. Each installation will have guidelines ceremonies need to follow in regards to decorations, guest passes to get on base, and possible wedding classes you might be required to attend beforehand. While hosting military weddings on base can create beautiful memories, it’s important to do your research to properly prepare for your ceremony.


Displaying flags at the ceremony is another way to illustrate military ties. Showcasing the American flag and the flags of the service member’s unit is another way to include patriotism into your special day. You can include the American flag on the left side of the altar. The flags of the marrying service member’s (or members’) unit can be on the right side of the altar.

Military Uniform Wedding

In a military wedding, the marrying couple can choose to wear their military uniforms. Whether it be a Navy military wedding or an Army military wedding, wearing the uniform is an option for the service member. However, if the couple chooses to wear their uniforms, it’s advised that the wedding party does the same. It should also be noted that medals should be used as embellishments instead of boutonnieres. The couple may also choose to request that service members attending the wedding wear their military uniforms. If someone is participating in the Arch of Sabers, they’re required to wear their military uniforms.

Arch of Sabers

The Arch of Sabers is another military wedding tradition. It’s one of the most popular and well-known traditions in a military wedding ceremony. It’s usually performed at an officer’s wedding, but any military member can choose to include it. The actual ceremony and when it’s conducted will depend on the branch. But in general, Veterans line up outside the chapel and form an arch with their swords that the married couple walks beneath as they exit the chapel. The couple will kiss at the end as the swords are lowered. It’s a memorable light-hearted way to induct the non-service member into a life connected to the military.

Cake Cutting With a Sword

One moment guests look forward to is the cutting of the wedding cake. But military weddings cut the cake in style. It’s a tradition for the couple to use a sword to cut their cake. The wife places her hands beneath the groom’s as they slice the cake in honor of their marriage and the military. This tradition is one way to leave a lasting impact on the guests!

Engagement Ring

Military wedding rings are obviously a huge part of the wedding. Well, more specifically the engagement rings. There are some interesting traditions you can choose to follow with the engagement rings. There are a lot of different routes that can be taken when military couples choose their wedding rings. Some military members will give a copy of their military academy class ring to their spouse for their engagement. Others opt to purchase matching rings. The design, while completely unique to the couple, will often include their military branch’s colors. What better way to signify unity than with matching wedding rings?

Status and Rank Determines Seating

It’s also possible to incorporate traditions and etiquette into the seating arrangements. Some military wedding traditions enforce special seating arrangements for military members. Those with higher ranks will sit behind the immediate family members of the wife and groom. This distinguished seating arrangement showcases honor for military members. The couple may also choose to include special parking arrangements for honored guests. A military wedding is a sacred union between two people. There are so many different traditions you can choose to implement into your special day. So, if you choose to tie the knot, maybe consider if you want to bring your military ties into your wedding.

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