Post # 1
I was going to put this under military, but it really is more a question of etiquette I think, so here it goes.
Fi is a career soldier, so he’s decided to wear his uniform to get married. Awesome! Well, he’s been TDY for the last three weeks (like a business trip, but the Army, so living in a tent breathing man-farts all day long) and while he was gone, he was talking about the wedding with his buddies. They all insisted that OF COURSE if he’s getting married in uniform, we need the arch of swords. Problem is, there aren’t any other soldiers attending the wedding so we’d have nobody to do this (which is why we weren’t doing it in the first place). These guys then offered to hold the swords for him, but we’re not getting married locally so that’s a no-go. They then said they all know people in the town where we’re getting married, and since holding the swords for a military wedding is considered a big honor, these guys claimed that their friends would be happy to come to our wedding and do this. Complete strangers, mind you.
Well, to me, this is a no-brainer. You don’t make total strangers come to your wedding ceremony and basically do work, but then not attend the reception or really get much of anything in return except a thank you. So I said no — etiquette forbids it.
But Fi is really on the idea now. He wants the swords. Clearly when it comes to military stuff, questions of honor and Army pride, all that, I defer to him … and he INSISTS these complete strangers would be happy as clams to hold swords for our wedding. But I just can’t possibly believe that’s true.
What do I do? Do I put my foot down, as I have on other issues where Fi wanted to totally breach any and all etiquette rules on something? Or do I trust that he’s right, and let him pursue this idea? For all I know, Fi’s local pals won’t be able to drum up enough volunteers anyway, so it will all be for naught. But I’m reluctant to even pursue the idea unless I know I WON’T have to invite these total strangers to our small, intimate reception (obviously, attending the ceremony is A-ok) and they won’t be offended by this.
Post # 3
If he can find the necessary soldiers needed to dress up in Class A’s and hold the swords then let him have it. Treat them like a vendor. They show up, do their thing, and you give them a thank you gift. Maybe make them some custom coins. Army guys love coins.
Post # 4
We had an honour guard, but it was friends of ours. Although I have heard that there’s a “ceremonial troop” available locally that will just swing by and hold some (lances in our case) for people at random.
I just asked my husband how he would feel if he was the random sword holder, and he said if it was within a few minutes driving distance and didn’t really require too much time (ie, he definitely wouldn’t want to attend the reception) he’d be perfectly happy to go out and participate in an honour guard for a friend of a friend that really wanted it and just didn’t have anybody he knew personally in the area.
Post # 5
I think if he finds people who want to do it, go for it. It sounds like it’s important to him. I think clealy spelling out what is needed and what will happen will give the sword holders a chance to decide if they want to do it. For example maybe give them a gift or small payment, or gas money, perhaps you invite them just to cocktail hour. I think by clearly making all the details known it will advoid any drama or rude behavior.
Post # 6
Thanks for the advice. Looking at the map, it looks like quite a drive from the nearest base to our ceremony site — a good hour and a half. So I’ll let Fi know that if he wants to pursue this, he needs to make sure the soldiers involved would be adequately compensated for their time, gas money, etc. I must admit, it would be a hell of a thing to get the arch of steel at our wedding 🙂 Might be worth it even if it ends up costing us a couple hundred bucks!
Post # 7
It will look great in photos 🙂
Dont be discouraged by lack of base either. Reserve and guard soldiers are EVERYWHERE!!
Post # 8
I wanted to have this at my wedding but I am the service member, not my fiancé…. And I won’t be wearing my uniform 🙁
It is an honor and many service members would do it for the pride of it all of they were not inconvenienced. I would get a thank you gift of some sort for them and make sure they are aware ahead of time their parts and etc. If they know they aren’t staying for the reception and still agree, it is fine.