Welcome to the Marine Corps.
Many brides include traditions from their families’ religious or cultural background in their wedding ceremonies. The United States Marine Corps “family” welcomes a bride with wedding traditions unique to the history of the Marine Corps. Marrying into this family means you’ll probably learn some new jargon and get used to a lot of acronyms. You may expect some sacrifices like time apart or relocations. But as in any family, marrying into the USMC family means you’re welcomed with traditional displays of affection unique to the Corps.
Here are three unique Marine Corps ceremonial traditions, their history, and what to expect as the bride.
- Arch of Swords: A select group of six to eight Marines stands on either side of the wedding exit to “shelter the bride” as she and the groom walk out. Traditionally, it represents the USMC’s pledge of fidelity to the couple. The selected Marines cannot be groomsmen in the wedding, but they can escort guests of honor during the ceremony.
- Spanking the Spouse: Spanking the spouse is a tradition representing a welcoming of the bride into the USMC family. As the couple near the end Arch of Swords, they are blocked by the last two Marine’s swords. A designated Marine shouts, “Give this Marine a Kiss.” After they kiss, swords are raised, the couple is announced and they move forward together. When the bride moves forward, the lead Marine lowers his sword and gives a gentle pat on the backside saying, “Welcome to the Marine Corps Family, ma’am!” In this tradition, the lead Marine honor is similar to the best man and is a coveted honor between friends in the Corps.
- Cutting the Cake with Sword: If the bride or groom is an NCO in the Marine Corps, they can choose to cut their wedding cake with a sword. The groom presents the sword to the bride, places his hand over hers, and they cut the cake together.
Marine Corps Inspired Wedding Cake or Grooms Cake
Another way to include the Marine Corps traditions into the ceremony is by choosing a USMC wedding cake. If a USMC wedding cake is too much, include the Corps in a Grooms cake.
Inspired by USMC Blues Uniform, this four-layer cake is topped with white service hat and finished with the bright blues uniform pants. Middle layers display gold service uniform buttons. Cakes can also have edible EGAs (Eagle, Globe & Anchor) or American flags, as shown in the Marine Corps-inspired cakes below.
Welcome to the Marine Corps Family, ma’am! Contact our team for cake-design planning for your USMC wedding.