Military Men: Donning uniforms at a wedding

by epi on November 14, 2012

Q: My daughter is getting married in July of this year. Her fiance is in the Marines and will be wearing his uniform (navy jacket, white slacks). He will have some of his Marine friends serve as ushers for the ceremony, wearing their uniforms as well. I understand that those in their uniforms will not be wearing boutonnieres because of their medals.  The ushers (in uniform) will perform the sword ceremony for the couple as they leave the chapel.

My three questions follow:

First, is it correct that there should be no boutonierres on the groom’s and the usher’s uniform/s because of their medals?

Secondly, the couple wants to put Full Military Dress Optional on the invitation so that guests may wear their uniforms if they have one and choose to do so. Is this also correct wording for it? Full Dress Uniform Invited

Thirdly, if the groom is and ushers are wearing their uniforms, is the wedding considered a military wedding? I think not, but please confirm. If so, what does this mean?

A: Yes, you are correct.  Men in uniform do not wear boutonnieres.  However, it is not appropriate to indicate on the invitation that guests may wear their uniforms.  If they are in active service, they are expected to wear their uniforms.  If not, it is not appropriate for those guests to wear their uniforms.  Since the sword ceremony will be performed, it would considered a military wedding.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

James Wood November 17, 2012 at 11:42 am

We have one grandchild, a grandson, who is now 7 years old. Our daughter-in-law’s friends tried to warn us a few years ago that she was giving our Christmas gifts intended for our grandson to her nieces and nephews. We were too naive, however, to believe she would do this. But, it has become more blatant to the point that we can no longer ignore the situation. For instance, we are not to ask our grandson what he wants for Christmas; we have been instructed to ask only our son. Last year the list included three items, one for girls age 13+, another for a boy 12+, and a third which we did purchase for our grandson. When asked after Christmas how he enjoyed the gift he responded that he did not have it. Further queries to his parents have fallen on deaf ears. Our son and his wife are hard workers and as a result are very well-off financially – together their net assets are greater than a million dollars. My wife and I are both retired and living on fixed incomes. We feel that our son and his wife are stealing from us and our son is promoting his wife’s actions by sending us a fraudulent gift list. We love our grandson very, very much and it pains us deeply that we are treated with such disrespect at his expense. Please help us! What can we do?


Jerry November 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm

This is terrible. You’re right, your son and daughter-in-law are stealing from you and from him. (This will come back to bite them in the butt later — kids rarely forgive their parents for stealing from them.)

There is little you can do now. Consider setting up a trust for your grandson that will vest as soon as he turns 25. (That way his parents cannot raid it or pressure him to disgorge that trust.) Make the trust invalid in case your grandson ever tries to transfer his right to take under the trust before he becomes of age. (This way your son and daughter-in-law cannot pressure him.) Fund the trust with the money you would have spent on presents for your grandson. Then your grandson gets to enjoy something from you later in life.

After you’ve set up the trust stop giving your grandson presents. Explain to your son and daughter-in-law that you cannot stop them from diverting presents meant for your grandson, but that you won’t be a party to it. If you ever have time alone with your grandson, you can treat him to baseball games, dinner, or any other treat you can think of.


Heather November 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm

I love the idea about taking him out to events. Hopefully you have at least occasional times when you can see your grandson? If you have him alone, definitely take him to special events (even if it is just going to a special park, which would be free). If you always see him with his parents, perhaps you can give him small homemade gifts that are of no financial value, but would be fun for him to play with, like homemade board games.


Ashleigh November 25, 2012 at 5:55 pm

I am personally a huge fan of experiences or events at any age. Last year, my boyfriend took me to NYC. He took me to see all of the decorations and the tree and ended the night taking me to Build-a-Bear to make a bear together. It was such a phenomenal night. It might be nice to start a Christmas tradition with your grandson like this. Take him to see a local light display followed by dinner at his favorite restaurant and give him a little token as well.


Country Girl November 19, 2012 at 5:02 am

How insulting James, I’m so sorry to hear. I think the time for niceties is passed. I would have a talk with your son and let him know how hurt you are that your grandson has not been receiving your gifts. If you are close with your son you might outright ask him “It has come to our attention that grandson is not receiving the gifts we have been giving him. This makes us feel used and hurt. Can you tell me the reason?” (I would also be forthright when given a suspicious list or excuse. “Son, you know we weren’t born yesterday. Why are you giving us a Christmas list with 13 year-old girl items?”

If you don’t feel comfortable bringing this to light, or all else fails, speak with someone else who has a 7 year old boy about gift ideas. That way you are not relying on a possibly forged list. Another idea might be to start personalizing gifts with your grandson’s name sewn, engraved, printed on them.


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