On my wedding day I will not be wearing an ounce of make-up. Why?…
Once upon a time I was fifteen years old and started dating a boy who would become my first and longest relationship. This boy was very critical of my appearance. And, being young and naive, I became convinced that he was this way because he cared about me, and wanted me to look my best.
I changed the way I dressed. I started dying my hair and having it cut different ways. I started wearing some make-up when we'd go out. At first it felt strange, and I didn't really like it. Then I just got used to it and wanted to avoid hearing that I was “sloppy” or “plain,” or any of the other well-chosen insults he used to control my appearance.
When we broke up I was twenty-three years old, and I realized that I had lost a lot of myself to the relationship. I sort of didn't know who I was anymore.
One thing I had left of my pre-relationship self was my involvement in theater. When I was invited to hear one of my theater acquaintances bands play at a local bar I went, alone. I threw my hair up, put on some comfortable pants and flip flops, didn't even wash my face, and that's the night my relationship with my fiancé began.
The first time my fiancé ever saw me in make-up was when he came to see me in a show — five months after we started hanging out. He said I looked “weird” with it on. I have never, in the three and a half years we've been together, felt any pressure to look a certain way or to be anything other than what I am. I have also not put make-up on unless I'm in a show. There's no reason to. He loves me for exactly who I am and exactly what I look like.
Originally, I was going to wear make-up for my wedding. I was going to do it myself and it was going to be minimal eye make-up and perhaps some lip gloss. But then I thought, why? Why am I going to do this? Is it because I want to? Or is it because it's been drilled into my head by society that a bride should look like the “best version of herself,” and make-up is the way to achieve that?
Why should I try to look any different than I do on a day to day basis?
Based on how many people have asked “where are you getting your make-up done?” without ever pausing to consider the possibility that I won't have it done professionally, it's clear that choosing to have no wedding make-up goes against what many people think a “normal” bride should do.
Well-meaning friends and family have cautioned me against this decision for reasons ranging from looking washed out in photos to the more stereotypical “but you're a bride, you should be made up!”
To them I say this:
On our wedding day, I want to look like myself. I want to keep the streak of gray that's appeared in my hair over the past year. I don't want to cover up the little moles on my face. When I walk down the aisle towards my fiancé on that day, I want him to see me the way I naturally am, and the way I was always meant to look.