It finally happened, you’re getting married! Congrats! Before you rush off and start planning your wedding you should know that planning a wedding to a service member isn’t as easy as you might think. So here are my tips to have a successful and fantastic wedding!
- It’s your wedding! Not your mother-in-law’s, not your bridesmaids, not your siblings, not your parents. It’s a special day for your and your spouse. Family members need to respect that. Remember, it’s your day.
- This is simply the biggest tip I can give: Make sure all of your vendors (and anyone else involved in it) are aware that this involves the military. Leave can get changed or denied, you may have to change dates/times or post pone your wedding. It happens, they need to know this and be willing to work with you on it. IF your vendors aren’t willing to work with you in the event your S.O. can’t get leave for the wedding, I strongly urge you NOT to work with them. I didn’t know until a few weeks out if my husband to be would be at our wedding, that’s not uncommon. There certainly are couples who’ve had to cancel or change wedding dates due to changes made by the military.
- It might not be what you expect. Again it’s not uncommon for military couples for one reason or another (deployment) to have a small wedding and then later on a larger wedding or reception. No matter how it happens, it will be special. Don’t get caught up in the ideals and fantasies or you can get dissapointed.
- You rate a military wedding. In the USMC if you aren’t near a base Reserve units are supposed to be available for such occasions. If you don’t want a military wedding, that’s cool too! Not everyone has one (I didn’t).
- Honeymoon….what’s that? I wouldn’t know we still haven’t gone on one yet. We’ve been married 4+ years. Yeah, sorry to break it to you but that also might be just a fantasy. Some are fortunate enough to get enough time to go on a honeymoon but we weren’t. Combine pre-deployment training and leave restrictions with fitting in leave to get me, the cats and our stuff moved from VT to Camp Lejeune and we didn’t have time to go on a honeymoon right after our wedding. Toss in a deployment, and PCS and yeah, we still haven’t been able to go!
- Ask for help. It’s ok! Your friends and family would love to lend a helping hand. It’s overwhelming planning a wedding, let alone trying to do it if your S.O is deployed, or stationed 1000 miles away.
- This will be your first introduction to military life. Planning your wedding around the military was step one, you’ll be doing that until the day your S.O gets out.
- After the wedding there will be lots of work to do. As if changing your name isn’t enough work, you get the enjoy the joys of getting registered into DEERS and becoming a full fledged military dependent. You’ll want to get into DEERS through your nearest RAPIDS center and get your ID as soon as you can. This will enable you to get all of the benefits to which you and your S.O are entitled, from TRICARE to the commissary. LPT: Make sure all the info is correct on your ID before leaving the RAPIDS center. Or you’ll be back to get it fixed.
- No matter what happens your wedding day will be awesome. It will be a special day you remember for the rest of your life. Enjoy it! It goes by so fast! (It’s cliche but so true!)
Weddings can be hard to plan, that certainly goes double for military weddings. Follow my tips and your wedding will be a success! Did I leave something out? Do you have any other tips for military spouses to be? Share them in the comments!