This Informant is a staff sergeant in the United States Marine Corps with numerous tours under his belt. He’s currently a MECEP in the USC Naval battalion. He’s married with a kid on the way.
“When me and my wife got married, we had a normal military wedding. Its like a normal wedding except I wear my Dress Uniform and there’s a weapons arch at the end. Officers have a saber arch, and enlisted guys like me have a rifle arch. The guys doing the arch are generally your friends. So you wait there for them to do the arch, then you walk through, stop and take a picture. After that you keep going through but they stop you before you leave and giver your wife a swat on the butt and say ‘welcome the Marine Corps Ma’am,’ or whatever branch your in. After that its just like the rest of a normal wedding. Just pictures & sh**.”
This wedding ceremony is preformed by most, if not all, members of the military. The arch is incredibly symbolic. It symbolizes a liminal point in which the non-military spouse transfers over to becoming a military spouse after they walk through the arch. The arch also symbolizes military life. The weapons represent the protection and support of the U.S military and are held by the military members friends. The stop and subsequent swat symbolizes the many obstacles and hardships that the couple will have to endure as the military life is not for the faint of heart. The wedding is planned like any other wedding ceremony and doesnt not require any special permission to make it an “official” military marriage, as long as the military customs are followed.