Any man or woman who is an active member of the military may have a military wedding.

A military ceremony is conducted according to the religion and traditions of the couple but with a few twists. A military wedding is different from a civilian wedding in the following ways.


Formal attire must be worn. Any man in the military must wear his full-dress uniform including white gloves and sword/saber. Men in uniform do not wear boutonnieres.

If the bride is a military member, she may wear her uniform if she so chooses.

Since this is a formal wedding the bride should wear an appropriate gown - no low-cut necklines or backs, and nothing strapless. A long elegant gown with a flowing train would be ideal.

All non-military attendants must wear formal attire.

If a bride wears her uniform, she cannot wear flowers or a corsage.

An American flag should be displayed along with the standards (colors) of the couple's military unit(s) during the ceremony.


The bride and groom pass under an arch of drawn swords or sabers. The arch is formed by an honor guard (made up of commissioned officers), and symbolizes a safe passage into marriage.

On command swords or sabers are raised with the sharp edge facing up. The couple enters the arch, stops to kiss, then pass through. The newlywed(s) in uniform salutes the honor guard. The officers then return the swords/sabers to the carry position.


At a seated reception, military guests are shown to their places in order of rank.

The bride and groom cut the wedding cake with a sword/saber.


The reception hall can be decorated in military style. You can use the standars of the couples military unit(s) for the color scheme.

Feature regimental decoations. Display the American flag and place mini flags on tables.

Green wreaths with white flowers would make lovely centerpieces.

Special touch: Play the theme song of the groom's and/or bride's branch of service.


A military wedding can be held in the couple's own church, synagogue, or the chapel at a military base. You can also marry at a military academy if you are a graduate (active, or retired); a child of a graduate or a member of the staff.

Only someone who is wearing a full-dress uniform can carry a sword or saber.

Naval officers carry swords, while Army, Air force, and Marine Officers carry sabers.