Happy Independence Day + Military Wedding Traditions

Happy Independence Day + Military Wedding Traditions | Southern New England Weddings | Rebecca Arthurs Photography

Though we’re a little biased, few things say summertime like July 4th here in New England. There’s no better place to celebrate the birth of the United States, whether you’re braving the traffic to the coast this weekend for fireworks on the beach or enjoying the Boston Pops’ annual concert in the city where American liberty began.

Happy Independence Day + Military Wedding Traditions | Southern New England Weddings | Rebecca Arthurs Photography

Before firing up the grill and breaking out our sparklers, we took a second to research some military wedding traditions in honor of the men and women who dedicate their lives to preserving the freedom that we celebrate today.

Customs vary slightly between different branches of the military, but many ceremonies are performed in a military chapel or on academy grounds. Enlisted members of the wedding party typically wear a dress uniform, and military guests may also dress in uniform.

One of the most well-recognized military wedding traditions is the Arch of Steel or Arch of Sabers – the Navy, Army, Marine Corps and Air Force all have similar versions of this tradition. Saber bearers will get into position after the final blessing of the wedding ceremony, forming two lines of officers holding an arch of raised swords or rifles.

Tradition states that before the couple passes through the final part of the arch, the last two men will lower their swords while one of the sword bearers taps the bride on her backside with his sword while welcoming her to his branch of the military– talk about an official send-off into married life.

If you’re a big fan of the cake-cutting spectacle, most military weddings take it a step further: a ceremonial sword is used for the cutting of the wedding cake. If the groom is the one enlisted, he will present his sword to the bride, who will cut a slice of the cake with the groom’s right hand resting on hers.

There’s something special about the patriotism, splendor and deep tradition that sets apart a military wedding. Did we miss any of your favorite military wedding traditions? What’s the best way you’ve seen military custom incorporated in a wedding ceremony? Send us a comment and let us know!

Photo Credit: Rebecca Arthurs Photography

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