A Salute to Love

I have always had a very special place in my heart for those serving in our military.  I was born in Berlin, Germany on a military base while my father was stationed at Checkpoint Charlie and I have always loved the stories of the people my parents encountered and the things that they saw being a part of the Military family.  Since I am mildly wedding obsessed and we as a Nation observed Veterans Day this week, I am combining two favorite topics and looking into Military wedding traditions!

First things first let’s discuss the attire.  There are a number of uniform options for those in the service depending on the formality and season of the big day.  For most military weddings the groom will wear his Dress Class A’s with a bow tie substituted for the standard neck tie shown below.  Each branch has their own version of the dress uniform though they all are similar in style.  Colors and collars vary based on the branch.

army mess dress uniformLadies in the military have the option of wearing their uniform or a more traditional white dress.  I do want to note that wearing a uniform is not required by the military for the ceremony and each couple makes the decision individually based on their preferences.  With that being said, the couples that I spoke with all agreed that it was an honor to get married in uniform-and the guys loved that it was a departure from the standard tux!

In addition to the uniform, the other big player in the military wedding is the saber (also called a sword depending on the branch).  The saber is utilized at two events during the wedding day. The first is the saber arch in which an arch is created for the bride and groom to walk through after the ceremony.

saber arch luke walker

It is customary to stop the new couple at the end by blocking them with the last two sabers.  The couple will then kiss and in some (scandalous) branches of the military the saber holder on the right gives the bride a little tap on her behind and welcomes her to the military family (that is if the groom is the one in the armed forces)!  You know by now that I love the history of traditions and this particular tradition is meant to ensure the safe passage of the couple as they embark on their new life together!

saber arch outside

The second time the saber is highlighted is at the cake cutting ceremony.  Instead of your run of the mill cake knife and server, the couple uses the saber to slice and dice the first piece of wedding cake.

wedding cake saber

West Point Wedding: Tracey Buyce

Some sabers have been handed down and used for generations in families. We have a groom here at Saratoga National that is bringing in a saber from World War II that has been in his family for years and used at all of the family weddings to cut the cake!

I was chatting with my old high school friend Seth about his military style wedding and one of the things he liked the most was that he and his wife had the ability to customize and incorporate the traditions that had the most meaning for them as a couple.  His two favorite moments (other than marrying the love of his life of course!) included the tradition of walking through the arch and cutting the cake with his saber.  Seth was especially excited to incorporate his own saber and even had it engraved with his name on the blade for the occasion. He felt as though the military tradition served to keep the focus on them as a couple and their new life together-which is what it is really all about!

Planning Tip: When planning the flowers you will need to skip the blooms for everyone in uniform-boutonnieres cannot be pinned to any uniform in any branch.

There are some fun details you can include though-like military themed cake toppers or branch specific garters!

military cake topper

Let me know if you have seen or been a part of a special military tradition at a wedding and don’t forget to thank those that have served and continue to serve in the armed forces!

A special thank you is in order for my friend Seth for the inside scoop on his big day and for his service to our country!

seth and jess

Jess and Seth on their wedding day!

4 Responses to “A Salute to Love

  • Pat Alena
    13 years ago

    Jess and Seth are friends of ours, what TREAT to see their wedding photo here!! Aren’t they adorable!!

  • Ingrid Schroder
    12 years ago

    Hi there,
    I’d like to know where can I buy that same cake topper? I can’t find it anywhere. Please let me know asap!

  • schilson
    12 years ago

    Ingrid-of course! I actually found this topper among other military themed toppers at http://www.miscaketops.com. Head to the gallery link and then select the military section. Happy planning! 🙂

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