Post # 1
My fiance is about to commission as a 2LT in the USAF, and we’ve been debating what uniform he should wear for our wedding in May.
It will be an outdoor, Texas wedding; if it was going to be in a church, we would have said Mess Dress hands down. However, since our guests aren’t expected to dress in anything more than “sunday best,” wouldn’t it be weird to have the groom wear the equivalent of a tuxedo?
So our original plan was for him to wear his service dress — but that means wearing his cover during the whole thing, which is not very fun for him. (He sweats like crazy and I’m already worried about heat exhaustion from the uniform, haha — thank god we’re not doing our wedding in August!) So, he talked with his detachment’s cadre and one of them suggested the “semi-formal” service dress….I guess it’s essentially the same as the service dress, except a white shirt underneath and he doesn’t have to wear his cover.
When I looked up the uniform on google, I can’t find any other officers who have gone the semi-formal route. It seems to be an alternative for JNCOs/enlisted who don’t want to pay for the mess dress. Is it appropriate for an officer to wear this uniform? And as groom’s attire?
Keep in mind, we’re not thrilled about shelling out the cash for the uniform (~$600, I think), especially since we’re not positive how long he will stay in the service. I’ve heard junior officers don’t really need a mess dress. But we will of course, if we decide it’s the best option.
His best man is a 2LT in the Army and doesn’t have his mess dress equivalent (is that the dress blues?). I feel bad asking him to buy his so he can match my Fiance…but I’m pretty sure it would be weird if they wore two different levels of uniforms. The other 2 groomsmen are civilians, and we have told them to wear black suits with matching ties. Nothing fancy there.
Does anyone have some advice? Which way would you go? Mess dress? Semi-formal? Service dress? We don’t want to make a faux-pas, especially since we will have some military personnel at the wedding.
Post # 3
- Wedding: May 2013 - Walt Disney World
Is it an absolute must for your Fiance to wear his uniform? It’s expensive and you’re right, junior officers aren’t required to wear the mess dress until they reach O4 (at least for the Navy). I also wouldn’t want to require his Bridesmaid or Best Man to buy that uniform either. IMO, only a person’s chain of command should require what uniform a member buys, so for me, I’d stick with suits for everyone.
Post # 4
Thanks for your input! I think it’s a pride thing – we’re both really proud of his service, and feel like he should wear his uniform, whichever one. It’s such a big part of our lives that we want to show it off a little. 🙂 All of his buddies who have gotten married have worn their uniforms (not USAF, and all in churches), although we are the first outdoor wedding.
Thanks for the info on the O4, I’ve heard something similar for the Air Force. Too bad we can’t rent the uniform — I think it would need to get tailored to look just right.
Post # 5
@djames425: Renting is not a bad option. Especially in Texas, San Antonio is full of AF. I’m pretty sure you can find somewhere to borrow or rent from. My dad was AF and he rented until he hit the rank he had to buy. It would be weird for the two guys to have different ‘level’ uniforms. If your Fiance does end up with the mess dress maybe his friend could just wear civvies?
My husband and I are both navy, and I knew he didn’t want to wear his uniform for the wedding. However, when we decided to elope during a break in his deployment we decided his service dress was appropriate for the size of the wedding (15 guests), and he didn’t have anything else anyway 🙂
Post # 6
@djames425: there usually is an option to rent a mess dress from clothing and sales on a lot of the bases. i think for a wedding, as an officer, mess dress is the way to go. it is an expensive uniform to buy, main reason i don’t own one yet, but it is a requirement for all intents and purposes. i’ve never gone to an event where i’ve needed to wear mess dress but that is because i’ve avoided going to such events….like af balls and the like.
Post # 7
I asked my fiance (also will be USAF 2LT after graduation) and he thinks that mess dress is a required purchase on commissioning for AF officers. We don’t know about Army, but at least it sounds like you’d have to have it anyway.
According to the AFI 36-2903 (the dress and appearance manual), the semi-formal service dress is Enlisted-Only. He thinks that either uniform might be miserable for an outdoor wedding in Texas, but that he’d probably wear his service dress, especially since the best man only has his dress greens.
One thing to keep in mind, your Fiance would have to salute any higher-ranking officers at your wedding while in service dress. He said that nicer/more-relaxed officers wouldn’t worry too much about this, but outside in mess dress, he wouldn’t have to salute at all.
Sounds like a tough decision. My fiance is just wearing his service dress to our indoor church wedding, but our ceremony and reception are really laidback, so mess dress would be out of place. Feel free to PM me, if you want to chat or vent at all.