The Ultimate Guide on planning a Military Wedding
If you’re planning a military wedding here in the UK and if you or your fiance, or indeed you both are members of the British Army, Royal Navy, RAF or Royal Marines you have come to the best place to plan your perfect day!
As a specialist in military wedding photography, I have served for over 20 years in the British Army so getting booked to capture military weddings is a chance for me to combine my two loves.
For your wedding, I can guide and advise you through all of your preparations for your military wedding as I understand the traditions and use my knowledge as a soldier and my experience as a professional photographer to capture your military wedding perfectly with beautiful and timeless images.
Below I have broken down all the areas that you will need to think about when arranging your military wedding, guiding you every step of the way to ensure that planning your wedding day is stress-free and fun.
Experienced Military Wedding Photographer
Probably one of the most iconic parts of a military wedding are the Uniforms. Each Regiment has its own traditions and history, making each Service dress unique making every military wedding unique in some way. Some Regiments get issued their No 1 dress as part of their kit issue but for some of the other Corps and Services, this may be the first time in the Grooms career of having the chance to wear your No 1 dress! The Royal Navy, RAF and the Royal Marines all get issued their No 1 dress during training so it’s a little bit easier arranging this on the big day.
Army Uniform Hire
For some, you may need to hire No 1 dress for the big day. It is a good idea to get these booked early especially for the busy summer wedding dates to ensure it’s available. Most hire shops can get you fitted up to 6 months prior to the wedding date and there are several shops situated close to military garrisons throughout the country. It is advisable to check your clothing store or the Garrison clothing store as some may have some in stock that can be issued on a temporary loan however they may not potentially have your size so may require altering.
The price to hire uniform ranges from £99 to £150, some even give discounts if you are ordering multiple uniforms for the Guard of Honour or other military guests.
Below is a list of a few shops to hire from situated in the larger Garrisons:
Glover Riding (Alderhot and Bulford)
Eastern District Tailors (Catterick)
Medway Medals (Gillingham)
Hill Military Tailors (Maidenhead)
For any last minute items you may have lost or have forgotten about Samuel Brothers have a range of items for sale in their shop.
Another nice little touch if you have Page boys planned for your wedding ceremony is to hire military Page boy uniforms! These can match the Grooms uniform and will look super cute in the photos!
Specialist in Military Wedding Photography
For the reception, a nice way to mix it up is to get changed into Mess dress for the evening celebrations. Mess dress is usually much more comfortable and perfectly matches your No 1 dress so the colours look the same throughout the day. If you have any other military guests it is also nice to invite them to change into Mess dress so they can get comfortable as well. If you want to completely move away from the military theme, an alternative is to change into a dinner suit.
Royal Navy, RAF and Royal Marines uniform
These 3 Services are fortunate to be issued No 1 dress in training as previously mentioned so it is much easier to arrange this prior to the big day. It is advisable to get it out of the cupboard if it hasn’t been worn for a while and get it into your nearest tailors for alterations if required. White belts and white gloves if not issued usually have to be signed out from stores and really finish off the look compared to the standard issued belt.
Guard of Honour
Nothing quite beats a Guard of Honour, also known as an arch of sabres or steel, welcoming the newly married Bride and Groom after the ceremony to their onlooking guests! Although not a necessity, it really does add that extra flair and style to a military wedding ceremony. Tradition dictates that a Guard of Honour should normally consist of 6 military personnel with 8 being the best number.
It’s a good idea not to involve the best man within the Guard of Honour as you want them to organise the rest of your guests so appoint a lead person amongst the Guard of Honour to call all of the commands.
To ensure it goes smoothly on the day, make sure your Guard of Honour get the swords organised well before the wedding day and have somewhere secure to store them before and after the wedding.
UK Best Military Wedding Photography
Military Wedding Traditions
There used to be a tradition of formally asking your Commanding Officer for permission to get married, however, this practice has long passed. I still advise doing it, however, as it is a good chance that the CO will invite you in for a quick chat to congratulate you and also a great chance of securing leave around the time of the wedding and the honeymoon after!
Cutting the cake with a sword is always a nice touch as well to add to that military theme. Military cake toppers can really make the cake look unique, especially if you get them in your Regiment or Corps colours!
For your wedding colour scheme, using your Regiment or Corps colours can look amazing and keeping with the military wedding theme. Plus why not incorporate the military theme into your stationery using your Regt cap badge or perhaps emblems representing your Service (Swords for the British Army, wings for the RAF, and an anchor for the Royal Navy and is perfect for your military wedding decorations.
Military Wedding Venues
Most couples will choose to have their wedding close to home but for those in the military, having their wedding venue linked to a time in their military career can bring a lot of meaning to them.
The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst is a very popular venue for Officers looking to tie the knot and will bring back fond memories of their training at this iconic establishment!
For those getting married in the London area, there are a few unique locations including the stunning Royal Military Chapel in St James Park and the Brompton Oratory with its spectacular interior!
If you are celebrating a civil ceremony, the Army and Navy Club is a fantastic venue choice however when it comes to London you are literally spoilt for special wedding venues!
For the RAF, St Clement Danes Church situated in the heart of London is a wonderful grade 1 listed building and features one of the best church organs in London and a beautifully maintained set of working bells. This could be followed by hosting your reception at the Royal Air Force Club, situated in London Mayfair overlooking the beautiful Green Park.
For the Navy, The In and Out Naval and Military Club sits in a private corner of St James Square in London. A magnificent wedding venue with luxurious grand rooms for celebrations of up to 300 guests, an exquisite indoor decor with sweeping staircases, chandeliers, and cozy classic fireplaces. For romantic scenic photos, the private courtyard is ideal for receptions and your wedding portraits dressed in Naval Military dress will look incredible.
Alternatively, the Britannia Royal Navy College in Dartmouth with its historic history serves as a fantastic location to celebrate your Royal Navy wedding or Royal Marine wedding
Military Wedding Photography
Choosing the right photographer for your wedding is often one of the first things you start to look at once you have booked your venue. With over 20 years of service in the military and having photographed many amazing military weddings, I have lots of experience and knowledge in the little intricacies and traditions involved with a military wedding.
The military is where I first found my passion for photography, capturing photos throughout the world and in the UK. When I shot my first wedding I knew I had found my passion in life and I have had the pleasure of capturing some amazing weddings for phenomenal couples throughout the UK.
My style of photography is a mix of natural, documentary wedding photography together however I also love to capture epic portraits and with military uniforms this can look truly incredible and unique.
With your wedding photos being something you will treasure for years to come, investing in an experienced military wedding photographer to capture your day is vital to ensure your memories of the day are beautifully captured!
To see some examples of real military weddings I have had the pleasure of photographing check out the following link!
Get in touch
If you are looking for a wedding photographer to capture your military wedding ceremony please feel free to contact me to discuss your plans!
My full day packages start from £1200. This includes All Day Coverage which is something I believe is needed with any wedding for me. I’ll also provide amazing previews of your wedding within just 3 days to keep those blues from setting in.
So what are you waiting for? Drop me a message using the link below and I’ll be in touch.