I got married the week after my husband's commission into the Navy. It had to be that weekend because he was heading off to training the week after. Three weeks before our wedding, our venue went bankrupt and cancelled all events. Amidst the panic, we managed to scramble to find another venue and re-send the invitations (invitations are a generous term for a home printed announcement). I wish I had a backup plan in the beginning to mitigate the stress of a cancelled venue and to help with the reality of only having one available weekend to get married. I asked some fellow military spouses what their advice is to help ensure other military weddings go off without a hitch-the reoccurring theme? BE FLEXIBLE.
Be flexible. Our wedding thankfully ended up coming together with only a few military members having to bow out last minute (and other's replacing them in the sword party) but I attended one a year later where the unit was called out for a domestic disaster deployment like 12 hours before the wedding and so there were whole tables of guests missing. It was weird seeing it, almost like he was getting married without his family there, but they made the best of it. – Kim from sheisfierce.net
Flexibility is key- Our wedding was amazing... Granted we had to push the date a few times due to work up's and he deployed 9 days after we were married so our honeymoon was something local and 3 days. Trying to get all the necessary paperwork and such done in a week was definitely a challenge! – Stefanie
Wedding insurance is a must!! Always check with vendors, locations, musicians, etc. to make sure they have a military clause to cover the unexpected! - Shannon
It was so hard for us because when you are looking at venues, florists, etc., the first question they always ask is, "So when's the big day?" And we didn't have a date set in stone for quite a while. What we did is have a top 3 choices for everything and wait until we had the date to book them. My top choice of venue ended up being available which was nice, but the backups were great too! -Aprille
Three of my four military kids are married. First tip is think outside the box. My daughter got married on a Monday night after Christmas to accommodate her brother's deployment schedules. My sons got married on Sunday's of three day weekends. All had honeymoons well after the wedding. –Elaine
We planned for a couple of months after my husband was supposed to commission (also his grad day) because most of the others in his unit still hadn't left from the semester before, so we thought we had time-NOT. We ended up having to do his grad, commissioning, and our wedding all in one day and he left not two weeks later for us to be apart for two months. The lack of knowing dates sooner was nerve wracking and the separation was painful so early on. I also wish I would have known that sending out announcements instead of invitations still ended up in our favor for a years worth of new home gifts in a time of loneliness in a new part of the country. I wish I would have known that it didn't matter how big or perfect my wedding wasn't going to be due to the military, because I was marrying my love, and that's all that mattered. Also, a "three year later" honeymoon was TOTALLY worth it when you're not broke from the wedding- Brianna
Consider two wedding dates:
We did multiple weddings, and used a mash up of style. Our first wedding was just a JP in my parents' dining room in civilian clothes with grocery store cakes. And it was fabulous. But I wanted a "white dress wedding" because why not! It was also our graduation present to me, since his military service and upcoming deployment forced me to decide between spending time with him or walking across the stage. My husband wore his dress blues, we cut the cake with his sword, and I had a USMC garter. That was it! No sword arch, no special table set aside. We picked the things we liked and that spoke to us and were viable, and left everything else. - Meg
There are many factors out of your control when planning a wedding, but what advice can you share to make the next couple's walk down the aisle the fairy tale we all dreamed about?
About the Blogger: Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two beautiful girls (2 years and 4 months), a former full time USAA employee and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Briana writes at Being Briana, a blog focused on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.
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