Q: What about those impressive military weddings where the bride and groom duck under a canopy of swords held by formally dressed personnel?
The "Arch of Sabres" is usually part of military formal weddings. The arch of swords takes place immediately following the ceremony, preferably when the couple leaves the chapel or church, on the steps or walk. Since a church is a sanctuary, in case of bad weather, and with permission, the arch may be formed inside the chapel or church. Also, with permission, you may be allowed to have two arch of sabers, one in the church and one outside. White gloves are a necessity for all saber (sword) bearers.
Q: Is there anything different about marrying someone in the military than marrying a civilian?
A: There's one primary difference, and that's in the area of housing benefits allowed after the marriage, rather than actual marriage procedures.
There are two basic types of housing allowance (monetary allowance paid to military members who live off base): Single allowance, and "with dependent" allowance. Usually, single (non-married) military members who are allowed to live off base receive the single allowance. Those who have dependents (civilian spouse and/or children) receive a larger allowance called the "with dependent" allowance.
If two military members marry (assuming there are no children), each receive the single allowance. The total of both of these single allowances is always more than the "with dependent" allowance. For example, a military member in the rank of E-4, stationed at Fort McClellan, Alabama, who married a civilian, would receive $525 per month for a housing allowance. If a military member married another military member, they would EACH receive the single rate, which would be $424 per month.
If a military member marries another military member and they have children, one member will receive the "with dependent" rate, and the other member will receive the "single" rate. Usually, the member with the most rank receives the "with dependent" rate, because it means more money each month.
Q: Can married military couples request postings together?
A: Each of the services have a program, called "Join-Spouse" in which the services try as hard as they can to station spouses together, or at least within 100 miles of each other. However, there is absolutely no guarantee. In order for spouses to be stationed together, there have to be "slots" (job positions) available to assign them to.
For example, let's say that an Air Force B-1 aircraft mechanic married a Navy F-14 aircraft mechanic. Because the B-1 bomber is only stationed at certain Air Force bases, and because the F-14 Tomcat Fighter Aircraft is only stationed at certain Navy Bases, this couple is probably never going to be stationed together. The best the services could do would be to try and find a B-1 base as close as possible to an F-14 base (and, if this case, that would be at least 1,000 miles away).
If a military person marries a person in their same service, the chances of getting stationed together are better. Each of the services brag about a 85 percent success rate with in-service Join-Spouse (That sounds pretty good until you realize that there are 15 out of 100 military couples in each service who are not stationed together).
When one marries someone in a different service, it becomes more complicated and the success rate of "Join-Spouse" goes down dramatically to somewhere around 50 percent.
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