Military Weddings: The Rules & Etiquette You Should Know


A military wedding is dictated more by tradition than strict laws. Both bride and groom, if each is in the military, have the option of wearing a military uniform or traditional wedding attire. Many choose to wed in very traditional military style by wearing a uniform, wording the invitation in proper military form, and including the arch of sabers or swords. What else do you need to know to have a wedding with the proper etiquette? Read on to find out!

How does the sword arch work?
If the venue permits, the arch may be formed immediately after the bride and groom turn to face the assembled guests inside the building at the end of the ceremony. In this case, the head usher calls, "center face," and the ushers form two lines facing each other on the steps beneath the altar. The next command is "draw swords" or "arch sabers," and the ushers raise their swords, cutting edge facing up. The bride and groom then pass under the arch. The ushers then join the bridesmaids and leave with them.

If some groomsmen are also in the military, should they wear boutonnieres?
If they will be wearing their uniforms, then no, they should not wear boutonnieres. They should, however wear any military decorations they have received.

How do we word names with titles in invitations?
When their rank is captain or higher in the army, or lieutenant senior grade or higher in the navy, a guest's, bride's, or groom's title appears before their name. A lower rank would be listed after their name. For example: Max White, Ensign, United States Navy. Mr. is never used to refer to an office on active duty. Contact the protocol officer at the nearest base or a military chaplain for more information.

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