Monday, November 11, 2013

We Require a Kiss To Pass

In some military weddings, the newly married couple exit the ceremony under an impressive archway of swords, sabers or rifles. This unique tradition is perhaps one of the most defining differences between a military and civilian wedding. It is also sure to rate three tissues for tears of pride.

US Naval Academy Wedding  Gea and Chris    Dennis Drenner Photographs
For commissioned officers, the ceremony is referred to as the Arch of Sabers. Non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel use a variation of it is known as the Arch of Rifles.

Generally speaking, after the I do’s are exchanged, the bride and groom leave the service and enter the archway lined by honor guards holding the ceremonial weapons. They may stop to kiss and then pass through. Before completing the symbolic safe passage into marriage, the last two members of the honor guard block their journey while one of guards gives the new military spouse a rather un-ceremonial swat on the rear accompanied by words of welcome to whatever branch of service she has married into. You won’t find it written down anywhere, but perhaps those blocked weapons of choice and swat are also quite symbolic of the challenges military couples face! [source Military Weddings 101].

Below a video of what that ceremony looks like.

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