wedding planning

Where can I find cute USMC themed cake toppers?
For cake toppers, go to www.grunt.com
For cake toppers and more, go to http://www.coloradocarla.com/MarineWeddings.htm
More cute wedding stuff here: http://bridaloccasion.com/
For cute cards, go to http://www.usmcstories.com/usmc_stories_048.htm

Interracial cake toppers?  

Yup, right here: http://www.renellie.com No dice with the military theme there, but it does offer a nice ethnic variety.

Cake ideas?

You betcha. Visit here: http://www.freewebs.com/wsue1023/index.htm

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Can I plan a wedding around a military deployment and training schedule, or should we just head to Vegas?
Only go to Vegas if you want to go to Vegas! Having a "JOP" wedding (civil ceremony performed by a court official) is very easy, quick, and inexpensive. If you choose, you can have a "JOP" wedding to make things official, then plan your big wedding ceremony at your own pace. Once you get your license, ask the county clerk where you can get it done.
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How do I address the invitations properly?
Check out this link: http://www.ehow.com/how_4451_address-wedding-invitations.html
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Does he have to wear his uniform? Can he wear his uniform? If he dos wear the uniform, can my Marine wear a boutonniere?

He doesn't have to wear the uniform, but he can, as it is a formal event.  As to the flower, I have no idea if I spelled that right, but no.  It's against uniform regulations (located on the Links page). And while you may feel bad about it now, trust me. I've seen it done and it just ruins the whole effect of the uniform.  Leave well enough alone on this one!
He doesn't have to wear the uniform, but he can, as it is a formal event. As to the flower, I have no idea if I spelled that right, but no. It's against uniform regulations (located on the Links page). And while you may feel bad about it now, trust me. I've seen it done and it just ruins the whole effect of the uniform. Leave well enough alone on this one!
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What is a "military wedding" like?
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I often wish I had done it that way, but we got married on the beach in Hawaii!  It doesn't change the actual ceremony, it's just a very nice look.  You can use other attending Marines as your ushers and groomsmen, or just as the sword arch afterwards. 
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I often wish I had done it that way, but we got married on the beach in Hawaii! It doesn't change the actual ceremony, it's just a very nice look. You can use other attending Marines as your ushers and groomsmen, or just as the sword arch afterwards.
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Where do we get Marines to help out, and what's this sword arch?
First, ask your Marine to consider his friends for the detail. They can check out swords from the honor guard detail on base. If he doesn't have enough available friends in the Corps to do it, he can make a request through the base for members of the honor guard who would be willing to do it. Usually they're happy to do it. If you are not near a base, try the local I&I (Reservist Drill Center), or your local ROTC. 

While technically only NCOs and above can bear the sword and/or saber, it's YOUR wedding and if your husband's friends are Lance Corporals they can do an arch for you if that's what you want. This is another one of those things that invites debate. But it can be very difficult to get enough NCO's or officers to do a proper arch...so do what you need to do to have the wedding you want. 

Most churches will not allow the swords inside, so they do the arch right outside the door, after all your guests have gathered outside. One set of sword-bearers will lower their swords, and you have to kiss your new husband to be allowed through. The last pair of swords you pass under, one of the Marines will swat you on the butt with the flat of the sword and say "Welcome to the Corps, Ma'am". Your guests will just love it, and it's a wonderful photo opportunity. 
First, ask your Marine to consider his friends for the detail. They can check out swords from the honor guard detail on base. If he doesn't have enough available friends in the Corps to do it, he can make a request through the base for members of the honor guard who would be willing to do it. Usually they're happy to do it. If you are not near a base, try the local I&I (Reservist Drill Center), or your local ROTC.
While technically only NCOs and above can bear the sword and/or saber, it's YOUR wedding and if your husband's friends are Lance Corporals they can do an arch for you if that's what you want. This is another one of those things that invites debate. But it can be very difficult to get enough NCO's or officers to do a proper arch...so do what you need to do to have the wedding you want.
Most churches will not allow the swords inside, so they do the arch right outside the door, after all your guests have gathered outside. One set of sword-bearers will lower their swords, and you have to kiss your new husband to be allowed through. The last pair of swords you pass under, one of the Marines will swat you on the butt with the flat of the sword and say "Welcome to the Corps, Ma'am". Your guests will just love it, and it's a wonderful photo opportunity.
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No one thinks we should get married - why?
Generally, if the people who love you are telling you not to get married, it's for a good reason. And if you're reading this site, I'm willing to bet your age has something to do with it. Put simply, being young is hard. Being a Marine is hard. Being newlyweds is hard. Being new parents is hard. Being in college is hard. And when you pile too many of those all together, it really does lower your chances for success.
It's not that they don't want you to get married. It's just - do you really NEED to get married NOW? What harm would come from waiting a year, or two? You undergo so many changes from 18 to 25, and your Marine goes through so many changes with all his training and deployments. Try to stack the deck in your favor: Take some time to enjoy being young. Finish school and make sure you can contribute to the family you want to create. If he's THE ONE, waiting won't matter. My husband outright refused to marry me until we had been through a significant separation (10 months in Japan) because he knew that no matter how much you love someone, there's the cold harsh reality of going to bed alone every night. (He and I both had disastrous first marriages, and consequently waited 4 years to get married. It was agonizing then, but I appreciate it now!)
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What paperwork do we need to get married?
You don't need anything from the Marine Corps. Go here: http://www.marriagelicense.com/license.html#more for marriage license requirements for your state. Use the drop-down boxes to select your state, then your county for where to go.
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Does he need permission to get married?

No. You'll hear that a lot, as once upon a time you had to get permission from the command. However, that is not the case now.  In fact, I'd discourage a young Marine from directly discussing it with his command too far ahead of time-- many times the Marines around him and above him will try to talk him out of marriage. While they may have his best interests as a Marine in mind, it's not always in his best interests as a man. And it always leads to relationship difficulty between the Marine, his future wife, and the command.

He can take leave. Where it says "Reason for leave" in MOL all he needs to put is "Annual Leave". When he returns from the wedding/honeymoon, he can request time off during the work day to get all your paperwork finished. (See "Just Married" page and checklist.) The command is required to allow him time to do so, as getting you into the system is mandatory.

There is a caveat, however: While there is not currently a Corps-wide directive on pre-marital activities, each command can impose guidelines for their Marines. I've even heard of a command making an engaged Marine write an essay about why he wanted to get married, besides more routine requests like a pre-marital counseling session. Your Marine's best bet is to try to find out discreetly what requirements his particular command has, if any.  They can make the Marine do just about anything -- however, they can't mandate YOU to do anything.

Why are they making it so hard on you? Does the command have a motivation for discouraging their Marines from getting married? Sure! Wives and children are the only thing that is more important to the Marine than the Corps. It causes a division of loyalties. Some old-school jarheads still believe that no one should be allowed to marry or have children in their first enlistment. From a financial perspective, that's not a bad idea. But life, and love, happen... and for the most part, the Corps is okay with that. Once you are married, it does get easier, as family programs are very much pushed as a quality of life issue. They know that the spouse is often a deciding factor in whether or not the Marine reenlists, and retention is typically a goal.

I feel like I'm blathering on about this subject, but my more brief entry seemed to be misunderstood often enough to warrant clarification. It's not my intention to say that blowing off the command is appropriate. However, it is very important to understand exactly what the limitations are of your Marine's obligations to the command in this particular area. To a very large degree, it is not their business. Some young Marines have been bullied and nagged incessantly about how their fiancees were only after their money (Ha - as if they make big money!), or how they would be cheated on as soon as they leave port. For some people these things are true. And certainly after spending a decade or so in the Corps, you'll see a ridiculous number of marriages breaking up among you. However, most young people who want to get married... just want to get married! They are in love and want to be together and make a family and live happily ever after. That's what we all want.



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