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Attire and Accessories

Groom's attire- military dress or not?

Hi, we are trying to decide what fiance should wear to our evening wedding- his dress uniform, mess dress, or a regular suit. We are not getting married on a base but the former chaplain is officiating. 

Did anyone's groom make this decision and how/why? If fiance wore his uniform, would he feel less comfortable/able to let loose? If he didn't, would he regret it later? The AF has been a big part of his life and he wears his uniform proudly- I'm just wondering if this is the right occasion for it. I'll happily support whatever he decides but I'd like him to decide somewhat soon as our wedding is 2 months away... I've asked him these questions and he says he doesn't know so we're kinda stuck.

Re: Groom's attire- military dress or not?

  • I have absolutely no background with the military and formal events BUT I do have to say that I think military dress is pretty snazzy! I love the look! I know there's a guideline for wearing them (and I'm pretty sure weddings, church, etc. fall under the "can wear" category) so if he's comfortable wearing it then I say go for it! As far as "letting loose" I'm sure there are guidelines on that as well (in or out of uniform) and he should be well aware of those. If the AF is a big part of his/your life, then go for it! It is all about comfort on your wedding day though. If he doesn't already own a suit or tux, then that's one more rental/purchase you'd have to make so close to the wedding. If he does already own one, then he could wait until last minute to decide. Just let him make the choice - and when you see each other for the first time on your wedding day you both will have a surprise! :)

    xyentruocx
  • I have absolutely no background with the military and formal events BUT I do have to say that I think military dress is pretty snazzy! I love the look! I know there's a guideline for wearing them (and I'm pretty sure weddings, church, etc. fall under the "can wear" category) so if he's comfortable wearing it then I say go for it! As far as "letting loose" I'm sure there are guidelines on that as well (in or out of uniform) and he should be well aware of those. If the AF is a big part of his/your life, then go for it! It is all about comfort on your wedding day though. If he doesn't already own a suit or tux, then that's one more rental/purchase you'd have to make so close to the wedding. If he does already own one, then he could wait until last minute to decide. Just let him make the choice - and when you see each other for the first time on your wedding day you both will have a surprise! :)

    Thanks! You're right about the timing of things. He only needs to decide now if he wants to buy a suit at MWH that will match the groomsmen's suits. That does take some of the pressure off. In terms of comfort, I think he'd feel more comfortable in a suit as it's less formal and less conspicuous (he doesn't like drawing attention to himself). I just wonder if he would regret it later in life.
  • I love the look of dress uniforms!  So classic.  And, he earned the right to have that dress uniform, so I say rock it!
    xyentruocx
  • I'm a sucker for a man in his military uniform. I don't think wearing his uniform is going to draw anymore attention to him, he is already the groom and will be the center of attention since you guys are getting married.

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    holyguacamole79xyentruocx
  • If FH was in the military I would make him wear it all the time. ;)
    atlastmrsg
  • My FI is in the Army, and we've decided he'll do a suit or tux.  I love his dress uniform, but he doesn't want to be the only one there in his Army uniform, plus he doesn't really like having attention drawn to the fact that he's in the Army.  I support whatever he chooses to do - I don't have a preference one way or the other. 
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  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Oh, I'm dress mess all the way!
  • labrolabro Hotlanta member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    My dad wore his Army dress uniform for my sister's wedding and he's wearing it for mine as well. He didn't wear it when he married my mom. However, my mom has since said she wishes she had done a military wedding and that they had made the decision for him to wear his dress uniform. I think this is up to your FI. If he's comfortable wearing it and (more importantly) WANTS to wear it, then he should. I think he'll look great!!

    Here's a photo from my sister's wedding last year:image



    KatieinBklnjaprincess24
  • theartistformerlyknownastheartistformerlyknownas peaced out. member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    Honestly, as much as I love a man in uniform, it's tricky at weddings because of the uniform etiquette regulations, especially about PDA. In addition to the below, I was really offended to see a friend's BIL wear his dress blues without shoes or cover at her beach wedding (when a uniform is worn, you have to wear all pieces of it). Plus, IDK if your FI is a drinker but I don't believe they're allowed to get drunk in uniform. I've heard of a 2-drink limit but I don't know how official that is.


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  • @LaPeanut1018 Aww, your dad looks so handsome.
    labrojaprincess24
  • Thanks all, for your thoughtful replies. I agree he's earned this and he has my support but I have some concerns, like the strict regulations. We are also pretty private about his AF career, to the point that half our wedding guests probably don't know we went through three deployments in the past few years. And I wouldn't want his uniform to surprise or offend anyone at the wedding. Am I overthinking this?

    @LaPeanut1018‌ that's such a great photo. Thanks for sharing your parents' experience.. I keep wondering if we would regret not having a military wedding too.

    @lolo883 exactly, the PDA piece was one of my concerns. We will be taking photos after the ceremony and I expected some romantic shots of the two of us. Fiance does not drink so that isn't an issue but I'd like him to feel comfortable and be able to relax at the reception.
  • theartistformerlyknownastheartistformerlyknownas peaced out. member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    Ginpup said:
    Thanks all, for your thoughtful replies. I agree he's earned this and he has my support but I have some concerns, like the strict regulations. We are also pretty private about his AF career, to the point that half our wedding guests probably don't know we went through three deployments in the past few years. And I wouldn't want his uniform to surprise or offend anyone at the wedding. Am I overthinking this? @LaPeanut1018‌ that's such a great photo. Thanks for sharing your parents' experience.. I keep wondering if we would regret not having a military wedding too. @lolo883 exactly, the PDA piece was one of my concerns. We will be taking photos after the ceremony and I expected some romantic shots of the two of us. Fiance does not drink so that isn't an issue but I'd like him to feel comfortable and be able to relax at the reception.
    Ultimately I think it's his decision on what he feels comfortable in, especially given the bolded. Most people I know can't relax when they're in uniform, because they feel like they're working. If he's comfortable sticking to all of the rules and looking/acting professionally while in uniform, then go for it. If he'd rather let loose, take his jacket off and do some breakdancing, ham it up in a photo booth, make out with his new wife, I'd encourage a regular suit or tux. 

    Can he talk it over with a CO? See if they have any more "official" guidance to give him?

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  • labrolabro Hotlanta member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    @Ginpup I guess it just depends a lot on you, your FI, and yours and his expectations for his military career. The Army was a big part of my dad's life for many years (he retired in 2000 after over 25 years of service) so I think my mom regrets that she was "young and clueless" (her words) about having a military wedding. They got married on base but it was totally a civilian affair led by a military chaplain. Of course some of your guests won't know about your FI's service (like my sister's in-laws and in-laws family friends, how could they know?) but I don't see how it could be uncomfortably surprising or offensive for him to wear his uniform. Obviously, I'm biased here. We're all very proud of my dad's service so having him wear his uniform to such an important life event was a big deal for me and my sister.

    On the flip side, there are MANY service members who choose to not wear their dress uniform during what would be appropriate occasions and have no problem with it. I think it's very much a personal decision.

    Maybe your FI can discuss the policies regarding behavior while in uniform with his CO to clarify what is and is not acceptable at his wedding?



  • My BFF was a little bit disappointed that FI made the choice not to wear his uniform, but she married her Marine when she was 21 so it's been a huge part of their lives for the last 17 years (he just retired out this fall). FI is close to the end of his Army career too, he's 22 years in I think and planning 3-4 more before retiring, so I think he's just winding down and it's not that much part of our lives (like he shouldn't have to PCS move again before he retires, and he won't deploy again). I think it just is a personal decision, and nobody can tell you what is right or wrong - do what feels right for you and your FI. :)
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  • I am a retired vet with 26 years of service.  In all honesty, you are overthinking it a bit.

    I think most importantly this has to be his decision.  If HE feels comfortable wearing it, awesome.  If he wants to wear a suit, awesome too!

    I have been to many military weddings.  The PDA thing has never ever been an issue.  It's a wedding - people expect you to kiss, take cozy pictures, and dance together.

    I also can't remember the last military wedding where jackets didn't come off when the reception got moving.  No shoes on the beach and no cover like a pp mentioned would be a big fat NO GO!  But...the jackets always come off when the dancing starts.

    Drinking - yeah,  I am Army but I have never ever heard of a 2 drink limit in uniform except for when you were on your way back home (in uniform) for R&R from Afghanstan/Iraq.   I can't really say sobriety is the main thing I  have noticed at the end of a miltiary wedding or ball. 

    Leave it up to him and he will choose what he is comfortable with.  My DD just married an Army guy last month and he wanted nothing military at all at the wedding.  However, he is a huge geek and she surprised him with a Star Wars light saber arch as they were introduced into their reception to the Imperial March.  (And the wedding coordinator had handed him a Darth Vader helmet and just said,  here, put this on!).

    Just get him to make a decision and you are golden.  IF he chooses a suit, does he have one ready to go or would he need to rent/buy one?

  • I'm with kmmssg. You are seriously over thinking. The expectations for conduct in uniform at a wedding are completely different. 

    Hell, H and I just went to a brigade ball recently where all the top brass there were shedding their jackets and taking pulls from liquor bottles while they did the grog bowl ceremony. And all bets were off once the dancing started. I have never heard of the drinking rule either. The only thing they weren't supposed to do was show up to an after party at a bar still in uniform (and I think that was a brigade rule, not an Army-wide thing). 

    Just let your FI decide what he wants to wear. My H decided against wearing his uniform and our wedding had very few military touches. Most of the weddings we've been to in the past couple years, the uniform hasn't been busted out, actually. It's been about 2-3 years since we went to a wedding where the groom did wear his uniform 
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  • I can't tell you guys how helpful it is to hear other people's experience with this. I'll go back to fiance with some of the points you've brought up and see what he says. We're also meeting with the chaplain on Friday so I will ask then about what is/isn't acceptable. That should really help with the decision. At this point, I am slightly leaning towards a suit because I think fiance would feel like he was at work in his uniform. His work persona is rather serious and I'd rather see the goofy, relaxed guy at our wedding.
    KatieinBkln
  • caitlinmcacaitlinmca member
    100 Comments 25 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited July 2014
    My fiance was Army, we are doing away with the military uniform and that is only because 1) it is quite large on him now, when he was in, he was a little bigger and now the uniform just swallows him. 2) he has the green Army uniform and our colors are grey and yellow and the tuxedo place that we are going through offers a free tuxedo rental to the grooms all we pay is a damage fee of $20-40 dollars so its worth it for everyone to match. 3) he wanted to get out of the Army, counted down the days until his final day, even though I love the look of a man in uniform, I'm not going to force it on him.
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  • Hats off to you for wanting to make sure you respect the uniform any etiquette that comes with it. My vote is uniform for ceremony & beginning of reception, but maybe bring a suit (doesn't have to match the GM) or even just a nice shirt & dress pants for him to change into when the dancing & partying starts. He may not be much of a drinker but at the this way if he decides to let loose on the dance floor he can change into a more comfortable outfit & relax some.

    [Deleted User]
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