Wedding Traditions: Military Weddings

Some military-wedding traditions can be confusing to a civilian — even when it’s the bride!

Military weddings are one of the best examples of how traditions and rituals can be the foundation for the creation of a truly memorable event. Anyone who has been fortunate to participate in or be a guest at such a wedding will surely agree.

A Hudson Valley bride asks: “My husband-to-be is in the Army, and we both agree that a military wedding with all its lovely details would be wonderful. But I have several questions: Who carries the sword that’s part of the ‘Arch of Swords’ under which we walk? Are we allowed to cut the cake with one of the swords? And what’s this my fiancé is telling me about being swatted on the backside as a part of the ceremony?”

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The Wedding Guru says: Military weddings are very memorable, though the details can sometimes become a little overwhelming. To answer your questions:

  • No one out of full dress uniform, when conforming to military procedure, is allowed to carry a sword or saber.
  • Some do abide by the tradition of using a sword to cut the cake.
  • And yes, expect a gentle swat to the backside from the last swordsman. Now that you know that it happens, it’s a good idea to either tell your fiancé that you’re okay with it, or, if you’re not, let him talk to the swordsman who would be doing the slapping!

Any other questions about etiquette should be addressed to your husband’s commanding officer. If you want more information about military weddings, visit HudsonValleyWeddings.com’s Wedding Guide article here.

» More wedding traditions and customs
» More from The Wedding Guru
» Submit a question to the Wedding Guru
» Hudson Valley Weddings 2013

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