Little does the average bride suspect the high style going on at her sister’s wedding down the road, at the military chapel. After all, few events can out-glamour an officer’s wedding with attendants and ushers in full “mess” dress, smart white gloves and those gleaming decorations.
And you and your honey’s passage through that arch of sabers or rifles? Civilians are so jealous, they’ve devised all kinds of creative ways of getting in on the experience: arches of golf clubs, fire hatchets, fishing poles …
Not to mention, “tears of joy” packs never work quite as hard as they do at a wedding full of American flags and flowers. (And bridesmaids are never quite as thrilled to serve as when they’re standing opposite young men in uniform.)
But what to choose for favors?
Anything stars and stripes are right up your alley. Consider sweet sugar cookies in red, white and blue, or star-topped votives. But the cutest idea we’ve seen so far: Find Nautical Themed Favors wrapped in a slender satin ribbon and filled with red, white and blue jelly beans (or M&Ms). Or give this idea the gift box look: fill white cube boxes with sweets of your choice, and tie off with luxe satin ribbons (half the boxes in blue, and half in red).
Q: How can I add a few military touches to my wedding without having a “military theme”?
Nod to the service in your Groom’s cake. Add a military pin to your garter, or a camouflage garter. Sneak in a few military hymns during your recessional or reception. Put out a scrapbook filled with military photos and mementos. Cut the wedding cake with a saber. Grace the cake with a custom military topper.
Q: Where can I find discounts on my military wedding?
A: Almost everywhere. Perhaps the most dramatic discounts are found when it’s time to book your honeymoon, but you can also find deals on accessories and invites. Tag an easy 10-20% off online purchases with sites that aggregate this information, such as this military.com women’s discount page. If you live in a big military town and are in the service yourself, try shopping vendors after work while still in uniform — you may find them offering discounts unasked.
Good news: you won’t have to look hard to turn up substantial discounts on airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises. Thinking Disney? Pleasant in-park accommodations are yours when you book at “Shades of Green,” a military-friendly hotel that sets their room rates according to rank. The booking soldier can sponsor up to three rooms at discount. Don’t forget — you’ll be able to buy discounted tickets to surrounding theme parks, too.
Carnival Cruise also offers generous discounts to military couples — ranging from 10-40% or even higher. The discount applies only to those residing in the couple’s cabin, but for a small party, the price can’t be beat.
Marriott has good military discounts, offering “special rates at or below your US government per diem.”
To hunt for specific discounts, head to Military.com’s Deal Center or call the companies directly.
Q: How do you choose your colors for a military wedding? Do you have to match the service colors, or stick with red, white and blue?
A: Many, but certainly not all, brides start with some element of the grooms/best men’s “dress mess” or full dress attire. Otherwise, white and red is a popular choice. Not surprising, since it’s elegant, classic and carries an appropriate whiff of patriotism. As for brides whose groom are wearing all-white? They often turn to pink, to capitalize on the fairy tale feel.
Of course, many brides go with colors close to their hearts — seafoam, lavender, periwinkle — whatever tickles their fancy. Either approach is fine! There’s no need to match your wedding colors to a uniform unless you want to.
De-Classify Your Finds!
Planning a military wedding is tough work — where the burden often falls on you, the bride, even more than usual. Delight someone else who’s just starting the process by sharing your ideas, plans, finds and photos below.