Military Weddings: Saber Arch

Military Banner

Military Weddings are some of my favorites to attend. Though all weddings are special, it is mesmerizing to see the true patriotism shine through, and I always love to see the different ways that couples incorporate their honor for their loved ones in the services.
Some ideas that most of you have probably seen are: Wearing Dress Uniform, Having Military Ushers in Dress Uniform, Cutting the Cake with the Sword/Saber, Military-Inspired Décor and/or Invitations, Military-Theme Grooms Cake, etc.
One of my favorite attributes is something that is new to me, yet I’ve now witnessed it 3 times this season: The Saber Arch.

Captain & Mrs. Keith Dacus

Captain & Mrs. Keith Dacus

For those of you who have no clue what I am talking about (& I was one of you until recently- I had to do a lot of asking questions and research to fully understand the significance and proper procedures.)
The Saber Arch is a tradition in Military weddings in which a team of officers and enlisted personnel form a high arch with their swords/sabers (or rifles) for the newly married couple to walk through. The tradition does vary slightly with the different branches of the service, though in all-only the Bride & Groom are to pass under the arch of honors, as it is considered a privilege to members of the service.
The Sabre Team is typically composed of six to eight members in full Dress uniform (White Gloves are required). Once the ceremony has concluded, upon command of the Head Usher, the arch is formed. Typically there is a salute between the Head Usher and the Bride/Groom (Whichever is in the service) and then they begin to walk under the swords (Blades up of course for safety!-lol). Just before they reach the last set of swords, the 2 team members at the end lower their swords forming a ‘block’ to detain them temporarily. The new spouse is welcomed to the Military and given a little ‘swat’ on the backside with a sword. The Bride & Groom then kiss to ‘open’ the path and continue through.
While even just reading the explanation of the procedure is interesting, actually experiencing it gives you a whole new perspective and sense of appreciation as you watch the event unfold. It is truly captivating to see and I recommend that everyone having a Military Wedding consider taking advantage of this truly unique honor.

Question: Where do they get the sabers from?
Answer: Most of the time, the team members performing the saber arch are officers/ cadets that have the swords as a part of their uniform. However, in the event that you do not have six to eight team members from one of those particular service groups, you can check with the Armory on base. They will usually allow you to check out the swords from their inventory to fulfil your wedding wishes

Photography by Danrae

Photography by Danrae

Remember: Always get permission or verification from proper military channels. Please check with your commanding officer, protocol officer or chaplain on the proper protocol that should be followed when planning a military wedding. Not only does each base differ, but also each branch.
Lastly, I want to extend a personal Thank you to all of those currently serving and those who have served. No matter which branch, what rank, or how long- we are all in debt to you for your thoughtfulness and bravery in keeping our country safe. Words cannot express my full gratitude.

Military salute