3 Things to Know When Planning a Military Base Wedding

A wedding bouquet and military uniform hat on a lawn.

You have the love of your life, you have a ring, and now it’s time to plan a wedding! Wedding venues are one of the first things you think about and they’re also one of the big ticket items to check off of that ever-growing list. If you’re marrying into or are in the military, you might be considering having your wedding on the base. (There are some military bases that will even allow civilian marriages.) Military base weddings can save you a pretty penny and still have all the wedding feels, however, there’s a few details to think about before booking your venue. Here are three things to keep in mind while planning your wedding on a military base.

1. No RSVP? No Entry!

A wedding ceremony set up at a military base.

A military base is very secure and will require a check-in at the entrance with multiple military personnel manning it. However, what each base needs for everyone to attend the wedding can be vastly different. Some bases will ask for guests’ full legal names as well as the last four digits of their social security numbers, while others just need to be given a final guest list to verify against IDs. Keep in mind that some military bases do require a background check to be performed before the day of the wedding for all personnel entering the grounds.

All of this is something you as the bride or groom need to inform guests about so everyone is prepared when they arrive at the base. Think about including all needed information on the invitations so no one is surprised on the wedding day and the base guards have all the needed information on hand. This also includes information for any vendor from the photographer to the company bringing the doves. Keep in mind that there’s a plus side of having to jump through this hoop; it means no uninvited guests, no random plus ones, no jealous ex or even worse—no unexpected people who didn’t RSVP! Who doesn’t love the idea of your own wedding security?

2. Military life doesn’t ever stop

As you may have experienced, military life doesn’t stop. They work on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries—they’re never “closed.” Keep this mind when you’re considering a wedding venue on a military base. Think about where you would like to be for your ceremony or what is near your reception area. Are you going to be inside or outside? Are you hoping to get married by the waterfront? Ask about when ships are scheduled to dock if its during your ceremony—or your maid of honor’s speech may be interrupted with a few blasts from a horn! Airplanes and helicopters could be taking off as well as landing throughout your ceremony or reception. Of course, this isn’t ideal, but try to keep away from being close to the runways as a preventative measure. Ask the venue about noise pollution and if they have any suggestions on where or when the base is not as active—unless you don’t mind boot camp chants while Grandma is being escorted down the aisle!

3. The Public May Be Involved Somehow

A military base with an American flag.

When it comes to choosing a day for your wedding on a military base, there’s usually a few more factors to consider compared to other venues. Be prepared for longer check-in lines or possible traffic if there are events scheduled on your wedding day. For instance, the base may be packed with extra people on days that have deployed personnel coming home. If there’s a graduation or a public event, there will also be additional traffic and there will be a bigger security presence that can slow your wedding day schedule and timeline down. If something pops up last-minute, be sure to inform your guests that they may need to arrive earlier then planned.

Overall, a wedding on a military base can be perfect—and what wedding doesn’t have some hoops to jump through? Take the time to double-check your details with the venue or your wedding planner so the day goes smoothly. Military bases hold so much emotion. Every day, the base sees happiness, tears, and strength. Showing your patriotism for the country one or both of you serve is special and something you should be proud of.

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