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You’re getting married! Let the planning begin.
Things to consider
Consider the following as you start planning your wedding ceremony:
- Eligibility — All active-duty and retired service members, National Guard and reserve service members (while on active duty) and dependent children of active-duty or retired military service members are generally eligible to use their military installation’s chapel for wedding ceremonies. Contact your local installation’s chaplain office for specific requirements.
- Scheduling — Military chapels and chaplains’ schedules can fill up fast, so be sure to plan ahead if you are interested in their services for your wedding. Some chaplains require an application, typically three months before your wedding date.
- Ceremony — Chaplains conduct ceremonies in accordance with the manner and form of the religious organization that endorses them. If the available chaplain isn’t of your faith, you can ask for a referral to a clergy member of your own religion to perform the service.
- Premarital counseling — Many chaplains require premarital counseling before they will perform a marriage ceremony.
- Fee — Weddings conducted by a chaplain are free. Active and reserve chaplains are, in fact, prohibited from accepting monetary donations. However, you can donate to the chapel fund at the installation chapel.
- Marriage retreats — Consider taking part in a marriage retreat. Army Strong Bonds, the Navy and Marine Corps CREDO Marriage Enrichment and the Air Force MarriageCare retreats are chaplain-led programs designed to strengthen your relationship and help you maintain a strong marriage.
As with many aspects of military life, early planning and flexibility are the keys to celebrating the wedding ceremony of your dreams. Contact a chaplain at your installation, or find your chapel at MilitaryINSTALLATIONS under the program service “Chapels” to start planning your wedding now.