Military Weddings

 The biggest differences between a military wedding and a civilian wedding are the invitation, the uniformed attendants or the couple, and the arch of swords (or sabers) at the end of the service. Everything else is the same.    
    The wording on the invitation needs to be written precisely according to standard etiquette, your branch of service, and your rank. Be sure to check with your bridal consultant or the stationery store expert for the correct military wording on your invitations. There are many different correct forms to use.    
    Here's what happens at the end of the ceremony: All commissioned officers present form two lines opposite each other outside the church or right inside the foyer. As the couple exits, the head usher commands "Draw swords" (Naval officers) or "Draw sabers" (Army, Air Force, and Marine officers). Then, using their right hands, the officers draw out their swords or sabers to form an arch. The couple passes underneath the arch, and the officers return their swords or sabers to their sheaths.     
    Dress can be your dress uniform or full-dress uniform, including medals or merely ribbons. Badges also may be worn. Men or women in uniform do not wear flowers, corsages, or boutonnieres.     
    If the groom is a member or graduate of one of the academies, you may display its flag in the church along with the American flag. One wedding with a military theme that I coordinated used white braid rope for pew markers. The couple had the florist add some greenery, creating a very nice setting. That same rope braiding was used at the reception hall on the stairways and at the entrance. Even the cake was draped with "rope" icing to coordinate with the overall picture.