Every day – well, every weekend – couples tie the knot and begin their lives together as life partners. The big day is filled with hope, love and excitement for a future of growing and learning together. And although weddings – at their core – follow the same principles and purpose, they are celebrated in hundreds of different ways. From the size, guests, length and location, weddings are all different. These themes are what make the special. One theme that is becoming very popular is military weddings. With continuing deployments and the uncertainty of what men and women face during their duty, couples are choosing to tie the knot, military style. But how are these weddings different than civilian weddings? Here’s what you need to know.

 If you’re choosing a location, many military weddings are held at military chapels and even at military academies where you or your future spouse graduated. Discuss your options with your Chaplain. One benefit of having a military wedding is that your Chaplain services are free. Also make sure to discuss flowers, music and cameras with the Chaplain when you meet. He/she can give you great advice and communicate ceremonial dos and don’ts on the big day. When it comes to dress code, military members will wear dress uniforms with their military decorations serving as boutonnieres. Bridesmaids, however, usually wear the standard dress chosen by the bride. When you exit the church, it is customary in military weddings to pass under an archway of swords signifying a safe passage into marriage.

 These are just a few things that set military weddings apart from civilian weddings. The big day, however, is just as special.