This seems to be a very popular question among girlfriends or fiancées of soon-to-be Army soldiers. Many want to know if it will be easier if they are already married before their soldier enlists rather than waiting until after he enlists to tie the knot.
First and foremost, if you are rushing into marriage simply because he is enlisting – stop. While there can be certain positives to getting married prior to him joining, all of those go out the window if you’re running to the altar simply because he is enlisting. If it’s a matter of just moving the wedding up a few months, then keep reading.
Planning the Wedding
After he is in the military, it can be very difficult to plan a traditional wedding. While it certainly isn’t impossible and thousands have accomplished it, picking a date a year ahead of time in the military can be tricky.
You never know what may come up within that year timeframe or even if he will be in the country when the wedding date rolls around. Most will have to work on a shorter timeframe to have more control over the date. For this reason, planning the wedding before he leaves can be much easier.
When he enlists as a married soldier, certain paperwork is completed before he starts basic training. This includes the paperwork needed to get your military ID and enrolled in DEERS and Tricare. Perhaps most importantly is that there will not be any confusion when his orders are cut.
His dependents will automatically be added in almost all cases. If you get married between basic and AIT or after AIT, orders may have to be amended to include you and that is not always an easy feat.
Also, there is a financial consideration. While his base pay is not affected by his marital status, if he is married, he will receive BAH for his family while he is in training.
In addition, after the first 30 days, he will also receive a separation allowance. It’s not a significant amount of money but if you’re planning to get married in another few months regardless, why not move up the wedding and take advantage of the extra bonuses?
Again, it is not encouraged to get married solely because he is joining. There will be plenty of opportunities at a later date when you know the time is right. However, if you are already planning a wedding, it may be to your advantage to get married before he leaves for basic training.