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Inside Our Guide
NAVY MILITARY WEDDINGS
As an RP, you will become involved in the preparation of military
wedding ceremonies. You must be prepared to give couples to be married
some appropriate guidelines. Guidelines for military weddings are
associated with a variety of different circumstances and social
considerations. Appendix II provides some appropriate guidelines and
considerations for several conditions under which a military wedding
might take place in an RMF.
Traditionally, the military wedding ceremony is a religious event that
takes place in an RMF. The military wedding consists of two important
factors: (1) military personnel in uniform, and (2) the tradition
customs associated with honoring the bride. In the following paragraphs,
let? take a look at each of these factors.
For active duty military personnel, the uniform should be the
appropriate uniform of the season. It is also appropriate for retired
persons to be in uniform. Basically, military members of the wedding
party should wear either dress blues or whites, and all members of the
wedding party should wear correctly the same type of dress uniform. In
cases where the bride is the military person and the groom is a
civilian, the bride may wear her uniform or a bridal gown.
If the military members of the wedding party are commissioned officers,
swords should be part of the dress uniform. Navy enlisted members do not
wear swords. Enlisted members of other branches of the uniformed
services may wear swords if the practice is authorized and endorsed by
their service. Since it is not correct for personnel to wear swords or
bear arms in the RMF, church, synagogue, temple, or any other place of
worship, a fitting area is selected for the weapons before the ceremony.
In a military wedding, honoring the bride (or the bride and groom) is an
optional tradition based on the personal choice of the bride and groom.
Following the religious rite, honoring the bride is a traditional
ceremony in which the bride and groom pass through an arch formed by
swords or rifles. Naval officers traditionally form the arch with
swords. Navy enlisted
persons may honor the bride in a similar fashion. Enlisted members who
do not bear arms can use hand salutes; those who bear arms can form an
arch of rifles.
The tradition of the wedding arch
of swords or honors differs slightly among the different branches
of the armed services.
In all cases, to have an arch of
swords or honors is the choice of the bride and groom. It is an
obligation of the best man or the groom to select those who will
take part in this presentation, as well as to confirm that all
weapons are at the ceremony.
The senior usher is responsible
for making certain that the ushers are adequately rehearsed in
their roles in the honors ceremony as well as the religious rite.
In the following paragraph, let? take a look at a typical honors
After the religious rite, the senior usher forms all the ushers in two
columns, and places them at the vestibule of the RMF, facing inboard. As
the newly married couple advances near the RMF? exit. . they pause. .
the senior usher then declares, ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honor to
present to you, [rank or rate] and Mrs. John Doe. Variations of
this may be required if the bride, or both bride and groom, are
military... whichever is common, acceptable, or suitable.) The
newly married couple passes through the portal, and the senior
usher commands, draw swords.? On command, all ushers carry out
only the first count of the movement, leaving their swords raised,
with tips touching, to form an arch under which the couple passes.
After the newlyweds have passed, the senior usher commands, return
swords.? All ushers return their swords in unison. The senior
usher then dismisses the ushers.
As previously stated, this modest time-honored ritual may differ among
the different branches of the armed services and can be altered to
oblige enlisted persons. In all cases, however, only the bride and groom
pass under the arch of swords or honors.