Dear Bridal Industry, we need to talk about “looking pretty” on our wedding day

Guest post by Aurora
Wedding Boots

Dear Bridal Industry,

I will not allow myself to become caught up in your ideals of what a bride “should” look like. I will not become sucked into your standards of beauty, ones that are different from my own. I will not let you dictate to me what pretty is, and isn't.

Speaking of which, here are more things I refuse to do…

I will not let you tell me what to wear, how to fix my hair, or how I should do my make-up.

I will not spend nights in tears because I am not “beautiful enough,” or “thin enough” for you.

I will not go on a crash diet.

I will not refrain from getting my septum pierced for fear that you will tell me it makes me look less-than-bridal.

I will not try to hide my stretched lobes, or cover my tattoo.

I will not be ashamed of my lopsided breasts.

I am me. I look fine just the way I am, and I will not let you tell me otherwise.

When our wedding takes place, I will be fully present, and I will do so on my terms — not yours. When I fix my hair, it will look lovely to me and my fiancée, and we won't care if it doesn't look lovely to you. When I apply my makeup, I will gingerly avoid my multiple nose piercings so as not to irritate them, and I will love the way they look. When I put on my wedding dress, I will say to myself, “Self, you are pretty fucking hot, and you rock this dress.” When I look down at my tattoo, I will remember that I have chosen to adorn my body with badass artwork that has meaning to me, instead of trying to conceal it shamefully.

When our wedding takes place, my fiancée will be fully present, and she will do so on her terms — not yours. She will fix her kinky hair the way she always does, and I will think it looks even more perfect than it normally does, even though she won't do anything different. When she smiles at me as we see each other for the first time that day, I will love the adorable gap in her teeth that makes her smile unique, just like I always do. When she puts on her suit, she will look beautiful and sexy and gorgeous and all the words that are only supposed to apply to someone wearing a wedding dress. When I walk down the aisle and see her in her Cho'Gath hat, I will smile because she was brave enough to partially cosplay at our wedding.

In some ways, my fiancée and I will fit into your bridal mold. But in many other important ways, we will not. And even though not everyone may think we paint the picture of beautiful, blushing brides, we will resist the pressure to be anything that we are not.

More important than that, we will love the way we look, and we will rock our own individual styles. We will be proud of who we are, and we will not feel less beautiful for it. Most of all, we will not shyly ask, tails between our legs, “Do you think I would look less pretty if…”

You see, Bridal Industry, we do not owe it to you to be pretty. We do not owe it to anyone.

Our mantra, instead, will be this quote borrowed from Erin McKean:

You don't have to be pretty. You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female.”

On my wedding day, I will be beautiful in my own way, and so will my fiancée, and we won't owe you a damned thing.

Comments on Dear Bridal Industry, we need to talk about “looking pretty” on our wedding day

  1. Thank you for this. Its beautifully written.

    Bookmarking for when I need the reminder. 🙂

  2. OMG! OMG! Another woman who plays LOL and has no shame about rockin’ the Cho! May I ask if your gentle-lady will be wearing a Gentleman Cho top hat on her Cho-hat for this formal occasion? Either way, you two rock!

    <3 <3 <3

      • Excellent! I cannot tell you how happy this makes me. For every person who doesn’t get it, please remember that your fiancee totally made the day of at least one random chick on the internet. 🙂

  3. This, about brought me to tears. Even holding self expression as something sacred the way I do; with this wedding…my wedding, taking place in three months now…I find myself struggling to be what pretty should be, or as close to it as I feel I can.

    This, turned it around. I vow to be me, at my greatest for my day!

  4. Are you and your fiancee actually me and my fiancee? I’ve got the purple hair and stretched ears and piercings and she’s got the half sleeve and we both have “alternative lifestyle haircuts” and kinky hair (hers a little more than mine). I’ll be rocking a non-wedding dress and she’ll be rocking a fitted suit. After a really obnoxious bridal expo (during which I made jokes about how awful it was and my fiancee bragged for the first time ever that she got to be at work), I wanted to scream all of what you wrote from the rooftops.

    I might have told some weight loss/cosmetic surgery booths that they were terrible.

    And I definitely corrected a crapload of people as to what I would and would not be doing at our wedding.

    Thanks for putting these thoughts out there for the world.

  5. Oh thank you, THANK YOU. I needed to hear this so much today. My wedding is in two weeks and I am having some trouble accepting myself for who I am (much less *celebrating* who I am). It is MY body and even though I am the bride, my appearance is not public property. I am beautiful because I love and I am loved. 🙂

    • “I am beautiful because I love and I am loved. ”

      Thank you for this!!! I need to keep this where I can see it always!

  6. Well said!
    Why do people think everyone wants to look the same, do the same and be the same as everyone else? Beautiful is individual, what it means to one person is not what it means to another. Beautiful is perfect to you and no one else.

    I’m getting married in September and having so much fun planning and making and getting everything the way that me and my fiancé want it to be! Finding vendors that understand we are not ‘normal’ has been interesting (hence the major DIY elements to our day), but I do love proving people wrong! When our wedding venue co-ordinator said ‘we wouldn’t do anything she hadn’t seen before’ our reaction was simply ‘challenge accepted’!

    You should never give up who you are just because someone doesn’t get you – you should be able to look back on your day and think that was us, we were so in love, didn’t we look awesome. Not who were those people?

    Big love to all the beautiful freaks like me!

  7. I’m using the last few minutes before work starts to read this blog (As per usual) and now I’m crying at my desk. Having respect for YOURSELF first and foremost is important. Everyone else that matters will fall in line. Getting healthy is an inspiring thing and I have been slightly worried about looking back at my wedding photos and feeling regret BUT at least I wont look back at my wedding photos and say…man…I lost SO MUCH weight for my wedding but now I’m gross. I’ll look like me…and my family/friend/kids will say the same! How can that NOT be what we want?

  8. WOW I just sat down to browse Offbeat Bride to distract myself after I absolutely bawled after trying on my wedding dress and thinking that I don’t look like a pretty bride – the way I’m supposed to! And I read this article and I cried even more.. but not in a bad way. This is how I look and no matter what, at the end of the day, I will be married to the love of my life.

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