Offbeat military weddings

December 17 |

One aspect of our Offbeat Bride army, if you will, that doesn't often associate with being particularly offbeat, and is definitely under-represented on Offbeat Bride, are military brides. (Seriously, in our entire military tag there is only ONE military bride! Where are y'all hiding?)

Unlike civilians, who can get weddinged and go on honeymoon whenever and wherever they damn well please, sirs and ma'ams on active duty are often relegated to before or after long deployments, often leaving one partner at home with the bulk of the planning.

Of course the armed forces don't work on any kind of normal or predictable time-line, switching tour dates and locations to and fro, changing up units at the last minute, etc. It's a hard row to hoe when you're trying to plan a wedding, but these offbeat military guys and gals somehow pulled off some amazing offbeat weddings.

So, here are a few of our favorite military brides and grooms representing this offbeat (and dangerous) wedding niche.

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Photo by Mary Kate McKenna
Kacey & EZ's wedding was a double-whammy as both bride and groom are active military. Here's my favorite excerpt from their wedding profile:

There was a moment during the cocktail reception where [my friend] Bill and his boyfriend were talking to several active duty friends of ours, and they were all swapping war stories about deployments to various locales, etc. I stood back and took a look and smiled, because here's Bill, his arm around his man, and here are these entirely macho badass dudes, and they're all telling war stories … and no one has a problem with any of it. Bill's gayness was a complete non-issue; they were all just veterans swapping stories. And that, to me, was pretty badass.

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Shyla and and her Marine groom Richard saved a ton of dough by having a celebratory vow-renewal ceremony with their friends in Vegas. Shayla said her favorite moment was…

…everyones reaction when I lifted the dress and revealed the chucks with my stockings. It was so me, and helped tie that into our ceremony. With my hubby wearing dress blues I had to compromise to match with the colors and mood etc., this was really just me shining through.

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Melissa and Sean planned a strikingly colorful, and very military-esque Scottish wedding from CANADA (all over email purportedly)! Her custom-made medieval dress, his Canadian Highland regiment dress uniform, the wonderfully mismatched bridesmaids and uniformed groomsmen in a castle on top of a volcano! (I'm fanning myself as we speak… whew!)

Our Wedding 21
Who doesn't love a man in uniform OR a bride who wears wings to her reception? Sarah & Jeff had a military wedding at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis and then a Victorian Steampunk fairyland reception.

Here's a military wedding from WAY back in 1979. The groom got married in his Navy uniform, because it was the only suit he owned. A gorgeous lace coat acted as the bride's train and her bouquet was from her grandmother's garden.

Remembering a missing friend
Photo by Empire West Photography
Katie and Bill incorporated the military in their non-military wedding because, as Katie explains:

Our friend, Josh, re-enlisted in the military a few months before our wedding. He was supposed to be one of our groomsmen, but we understood his reasons and timing as what he felt he needed to do for his family and country. Before he left, he gave me his Infantry crossed rifles as my "something blue." I asked our florist, a friend and former employer of mine, to attach it to my bouquet.
Photo by Laraine Weschler
Tribe member Em Graves and her husband who's a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army cut into their cake with a little mini sword! And you have to check out their cake topper…

cake_topper
Photo by Laraine Weschler
A mini stiletto and a combat boot!

There are tons of ways to incorporate armed forces participation into your wedding, so don't let the white wedding police shut you down. Dust off those dress uniforms and throw out tradition, because being in the military doesn't mean you can't be offbeat! And if you'd like to get even MORE military-inspired ideas, check out our entire tag devoted to our armed forces!

  1. I was so excited when I saw the post about military couples on OBB today! My fiance is currently serving a year long deployment in Iraq and I am planning pretty much the whole wedding while he's gone. Thanks for recognizing the military couples on here!

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  2. There is certainly something to be said about a man in uniform…be it a Scottish kilt or Navy blues.

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  3. Thanks! I enjoyed this fun post. Hard to imagine what military couples face~ planning weddings & being married, deployments, pending deployments…

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  4. Snaps to ariel! I'm a soon to be airforce wife & a little offbeat… You get me!! :p

  5. Yay for military brides! I'm going to be one in a year, and I'm really looking forward to seeing my Marine in his dress blues at the end of the aisle! (there really is something about a man in uniform, no??)

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  6. YaAyy finally! Everywhere I look I always see the same thing… marine blues, white dress bride with red bridesmaids… I'm changin it up come september. RED wedding dress… black dress bridesmaids… ((him still in his dress blues tho cuz omgaHhh does he look stunnin in them))… our reception at a nightclub… and one of those crazy lookin twistd up cakes. Our first dance? Salsa. Am I offbeat or what?

  7. I'm going into the Coast Guard (yes, CG is military) this summer with a wedding set for Halloween. What the heck is up with military weddings meaning brides marrying military guys? I can't find any inspiration for civilian guys marrying a military bride!

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    • I totally get it,my FH is a Coastie (ahem, I'm sorry, "Guardian" as we're supposed to say now*rolls eyes*). His roommate/one of my best friends is a 6'1" female Lieutinant. She's intimidating to say the least. She's marrying a civilian guy, but having the hardest time! Everyone assumes the GROOM is the one in the service, not the BRIDE.

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  8. I love it! I'm one of the brides planning a wedding sans my man. He is stationed in Virginia while I'm planning a wedding in Montana. I'm down to 25 days before I say I do and cannot wait to marry him. Its not easy but finding some quirky other weddings really put me at ease. check out my blog to see the fun going on.

  9. wow! Me too. My fiance is going to korea for a year,right now hes in missouri,so im doing all the wedding stuff alone too. Cheers to all the military partners!

  10. Thank you! My fiance and I are both in the marine corps and I'm trying to plan a wedding without any leave to work around.
    It's nice to find inspiration for something beautiful (I'm so tired of my coworkers' dress-blues-boring weddings). I love my job, and I'm not marrying it, but it's hard to ignore that it changes some aspects of a wedding, and I'm glad to relate a little to the girls on here.
    One of my biggest regrets with this is not being able to find enough time to craft it all up, but thank god for etsy.

  11. I'm getting married this summer and we are both active duty Army. I've opted to wear the traditional white dress but wearing our greens together for a retro photo shoot where he's going to switch my last name on my uniform. Glad to see other dual military on here don't feel as alone!

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  12. Oh, I'm so glad to see this–and even more glad to see comments from my sisters in the military who are marrying civilian men! I'm active duty Army, currently stationed in Oklahoma, trying to plan my wedding to a civilian in New Jersey. It's been tough to say the least, but I feel better just hearing from folks in the same boat.

  13. Just got married Saturday… and yes, we're both active duty Army officers. We pushed it back for over a year because both of us were deployed. Give me a sec to get the pictures back, geez. :) (and no, no uniform for me… thought I'd look nice for a change of pace!)

  14. I'm an Army Bride! My FH and I are both Staff Sergeants. Our wedding was actually scheduled around my brother, who is an Army officer, deployed in Iraq right now. So we've got lots of Army going on. Not sure how we're going to incorporate it into the ceremony yet. I love the idea SUZY had of switching last name on uniform. I'm thinking after the "you may kiss the bride" he might whip out his name plate and pin it on my dress. Neither of us will be in uniform, but we gotta have a little Army represented!

  15. My honey is in the Army Reserves, and has just returned after 5 months of Basic and AIT. We're poor right now, and have had to change our wedding date several times due to ever changing circumstances, but I love every minute I have with him! I'm proud of him, and excited for our offbeat future together!

  16. yup, non military brides or grooms don't have the extra snafu's (situation normal all f***ed up) of military timings. But these all look fab. Weddings from 60's, 70's have often had the military dress uniform worn instead of a suit and I think they rock.

    The cake above is fab and I love melissa's dress.

  17. Yay finally! my fh and I are both military. He's active navy and I'm doing the rest of my contract reserve. We finally just got approval for our wedding date! Woot

  18. I honestly couldn't picture what a granola/grunge+military wedding would look like until I had one two months ago. I didn't think I cared much for the idea of my wedding being a big opportunity to express ourselves as a couple, but ultimately, the combination of military formality with our mutual love of all things Outside worked really well. We had a bitchin' goat farm wedding with vegetarian food, home-brewed beer, reptile-inspired vows…and a saber arch. (I'll give the tribe some details soon!)

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