Military wedding ceremony at Chambers Bay

At the United States Naval Academy, metal squares like deck plates on a ship are set in the middle of hallway floors. When Brittany and Zak  were students at the academy, they met on one of those deck plates. To commemorate their meeting, they stood on a deck plate during their wedding ceremony, on Aug. 31, 2015, at Chambers Bay.

The two describe their vision for their military wedding as “elegance and romance wrapped up into a good-time celebration.” About choosing their photographer, Zak says, “We wanted only the best, and we got the best.” Striking scenery was also important to the couple, as well as an officiant who was able to communicate their love for each other.

CEREMONY: During the ceremony, the guests faced a sweeping view of the waterfront and mountains, with flowers framing the couple. Before the couple’s first kiss, the harpist played Taylor Swift’s song “Love Story.” As Brittany and Zak recessed from the ceremony, by military tradition, they walked through a sword arch created by the groomsmen. Their wedding colors, reflected in the flowers and décor, were peach, pearl and silver.

MILITARY NODS: The tables were named after legendary military units, bases or ships, to commemorate the veterans who attended the wedding. The cake was cut with a mameluke sword, the iconic sword of a Marine officer. After the reception, the couple donated all the flowers to a Veterans Affairs hospital. 

DANCES: Brittany and Zak’s first dance was one that they had spent hours choreographing. They danced to John Legend’s “All of Me.” Later, a flash mob, led by the wedding party and joined by a few guests, danced to “Pumpin Blood” by NoNoNo. Both dances can be found on YouTube.

SPECIAL MOMENTS: As something old and blue, Brittany cut a heart-shaped piece from her father’s old blue shirt and sewed it inside her dress, over her heart. As a surprise, her father wrote on it, “I loved you first.” Heartland’s “I Loved Her First” was the song for their father-daughter dance.

FAVORITE MEMORIES: “It was the moment I saw Brit step out of the Rolls Royce in her amazing dress and looking absolutely gorgeous, causing me to tear up,” says Zak. “She was escorted by her father, handed to me by her father following the rendering of a ceremonial sword salute. I was finally getting to face my bride, take her hand and begin our life together!”

“My dad has always been a huge part of my life,” says Brittany. “I didn’t realize how much the two of us would be blubbering over me getting married.” Her father, who retired from the military as senior chief, inspired her and her brother to join the military. When she was young, her father had stage 4 lung cancer and almost didn’t survive. “He told me the reason he was so strong in the fight was so that he could live to walk me down the aisle,” says Brittany. “I could not have been happier that he was able to.”

Zak wanted to salute Brittany’s father during the giving-away. “In the military, the enlisted salute the officer, but Zak thought it was important that he salute my father because he was always the No. 1 man in my life,” says Brittany. “Zak knew how much my father meant to me, and it really meant a lot to me how much Zak respected and looked up to my dad. It was a unique aspect to our wedding.”

Brittany is a supply corps officer in the United States Navy and Zak is a Marine Corps officer. They make their home in San Diego.


PHOTOS: Wallflower Photography


FLORIST: Jen’s Blossoms

CAKE: Celebrity Cake Studio

WEDDING PLANNER: Weddings by Wendy

OFFICIANT: Rev. Eric Warn

Click on a photo to enlarge.

Published on December 8, 2016.

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