When I first saw my fiancé in his dress whites uniform I was smitten…
Who wouldn’t be?
A few months into wedding planning, one of my bridesmaids asked me whether or not JB would wear his uniform to the ceremony. Although unfamiliar with the many wardrobes for Navy Officers, I immediately imagined us both in our “whites.” Wasn’t white reserved for the bride? After coming to terms with such a selfish remark, I approached JB with a question much larger than the color of our fabrics: What role would the military play in our wedding?
As a future wife to a very impressive Navy Officer, I have come to realize the limitations of a bride-to-be expressing her desires in the face of the military. Some things are simply beyond the control of the bride, groom, and the wedding planner.
Here’s the good news for brides-to-be who are in a similar boat: you’re marrying the sailor and not the system.
Over the past few months, I have learned about traditional aspects of a dedicated military wedding, some of which we plan to incorporate into our ceremony as we see fit.
Will there be swords?
We have chosen to marry in an old, charming chateau in my hometown, rather than downtown Annapolis, the historical location for Navy weddings. When I looked at various traditional ceremonies, I learned of a famous tradition known as the Arch of Swords. As the bride and groom exit their ceremony they walk through a man-made arch held up by about eight commissioned officers who stand in formation opposite of one another.
A serious strut into married life!
Photo credit: http://baysidebride.com/2013/03/military-wedding-traditions-and-etiquette/
Although this tradition is iconic and picturesque, it’s a bit too serious for the softer scene I imagine at our wedding. I would rather make use of JB’s fellow officers in a different way. Perhaps they can surround us with our family as we walk down the aisle into the reception area. I imagine our first steps into marriage being welcomed by rose petals and cheers, rather than officiating an entrance into a Navy lifestyle. Can you imagine men in uniform throwing petals? Now, that’s a picture!
A Call to Arms to Cut the Cake.
As of right now, the Arch of Swords has been vetoed from our wedding. With that said, I am not opposed to a touch of a sword, if used in a considerably very different way. I have heard of grooms who hold a sword with their bride to cut the wedding cake together.
I’m leaning more toward this tradition.
Photo credit: http://www.theknot.com/weddings/photo/cutting-the-cake-with-a-navy-sword-141660
Clearly, there are several ways to incorporate the Navy into a civilian ceremony without shifting the main focus of the affair.
We are set to marry in June, with or without his “whites.”
In the coming months we will see how Navy traditions fit more clearly into our ceremony. Although military commitments can definitely add to the stress of planning a wedding, I always make an effort to remember the heart of my love story: I’m marrying JB first and a Navy Officer second.