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Monday, January 9, 2012

Military Wedding Tradition

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The arch of swords takes place immediately following the ceremony, preferably when the couple leaves the chapel or church, on the steps or walk. Since a church is a sanctuary, in case of bad weather, and with permission, the arch may be formed inside the chapel or church. Also, with permission, you may be allowed to have two arch of sabers, one in the church and one outside.
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If an arch is held inside and the ushers are commissioned officers, they line up with the bridal party at the altar. After the blessing, the bride and groom turn, face the guests and remain there while the saber bearers get into position.
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The senior saber bearer issues a quiet cue, and all saber bearers turn, proceed to the center aisle in pairs, facing the guests, and stop at a point just forward from the first pew line. With the command "Center Face" they pivot so that the officers are in two lines facing each other. At the "Arch Sabers" command, the saber is raised with the right hand until it touches the tip of the saber directly opposite. The cutting edge is up.
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As the guests stand, the bride and groom start the recessional, passing beneath the arch.
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After the newlyweds have walked through, the commands "Carry Sabers" "Rear Face" and "Forward March" will move the saber bears to the outside of the chapel to prepare for the second arch.
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Only the bridal couple may pass under the arch. The recessional continues after the saber bearers have exited the chapel.
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As the couple recess through the arch of swords, the last two men to make up the arch lower their swords in front of the couple, detaining them momentarily, while the sword bearer on the right, with his sword, gives the bride a gentle "swat" on the rump and utters, "Welcome to the Army," or the appropriate branch of service. This step is omitted if the bride is in the military. Only commissioned servicemen and servicewomen may participate in the arch of swords or sabers.
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4 comments:

Joan Perry said...

It sure makes for dramatic photo ops doesn't it? Love it.

Rachel said...

That's funny about the bride getting a gentle swat! What if the man is not in the military and marrying a woman in the armed services? Do they give him one?

Lowell said...

Nice shots, Barb! Anybody you know getting married?

I've seen pics of this before but I didn't know the bride got a swat on the butt! Funny!

cieldequimper said...

This looks so much like Versailles, the only difference would be the uniforms!