Both Jordan and I had the pleasure of planning a wedding with fiancees who were in the military. As if wedding planning isn’t stressful enough, there are added stresses that come with marrying both your spouse AND the military. It sure ain’t easy, but you can bet it’s all worth the trouble. Here are some tips to ease the wedding planning:
If you’re long-distance, plan ahead.
The first challenge was that we were both long distance from our fiancees. Being apart was extremely hard especially taking into account all of the joint decisions that wedding planning entails. Planning together took a lot of phone calls as well as trust. When we were together for a short weekend, we made sure to make valuable use of our time together. Plan things like getting your marriage certificate, food and cake tastings, church preparations and venue visits well in advance when the rarity occurs that you both are in the same place at once. Another tool we used was our families. We were both living in different places, neither of which were the location of the wedding. Luckily, we had family on site that could help us with wedding tasks in the crucial months leading up to the wedding.
Military Wedding Party?
Another challenge was that a lot, if not all, of Nikko’s groomsmen were military servicemen as well. We were blessed to have met them all in college while the boys were in ROTC at Virginia Tech. I had perfect plans of eight bridesmaids and eight groomsmen but the military had other plans. Know and accept that they might not all be there for your bachelor or bachelorette parties or even on your special day. The distance may be too great or military engagements and trainings come up and sometimes there are no exceptions. We ended up with eight bridesmaids and seven groomsmen. Pictures and processions were just fine so don’t sweat the small stuff.
Utilize federal holidays.
Along that same vein, if it’s a priority to have those special servicemen and women at your wedding celebration, it’s a good idea to plan the wedding with their schedules in mind. Nikko and I looked for a three-day weekend to increase our attendance and allow our family and friends some flexible travel plans. Additionally, we made sure that the three-day holiday weekend that we chose was a federal holiday so that our groomsmen would be sure to have the day off.
Take advantage of opportunities to cut costs.
Have the groom (and possible groomsmen) wear their dress uniforms instead of renting tuxedos. Additionally, their ribbons make boutonnieres unnecessary (DOUBLE SAVINGS!) Consider venues on base that may come at a cheaper cost. Use a Space A flight to jet off to your honeymoon and see if MWR has any deals on tickets. There are many benefits that you can take advantage of so do your research!
Despite these added challenges, everything was perfect on both of our special days. It took a little extra planning, a lot more communication, and a lot of trusting each other to get things done but all of the added stresses made seeing everything come together even more rewarding.