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Thursday, January 8, 2015

BEST OF {Not SO} Single Girl: Saying "I Do" to Tattoos

 **This post was originally published on 8/7/12, but remains extremely relevant**

Choose those Bridesmaids carefully. 

You get their good, bad, ugly...and their tattoos...

I have to preface this blog with the fact that I do not hate tattoos. I even have one. I could care less what you want to put on your body in your own free time. However, tattoos in weddings are an entirely different story. 

I did some preliminary research on this topic, talked with my Brides, read some wedding message boards and blogs as well. Almost all of them have the complete opposite opinion as I do. They think that when you choose your bridesmaid, you can't tell them what to do because they're doing you a service by being in your wedding. You can't tell them how to wear their hair, to get a spray tan or to cover up their huge tattoos because they're your friend and you should love them as is.

Alas, I disagree. You are the bride. You get one wedding to make perfect. You have to pay the exorbitant photographer fees and even more ridiculous prices for professional photos. Those photos should come out with the happy couple as the center of attention, just like your wedding day should focus on the two of you. 

Let's have a look at this photo:

What's the first thing that catches your eye here? Mine is..."What the frick is that ugly blue blob on that bridesmaid's arm?". Overall, its a fun picture. Pretty girls, beautiful bride, colorful flowers. Unfortunately, that tattoo doesn't really fit with anything else in the picture. Its not colorful, fun, classy, whatever. It just doesn't work. Clearly this could've bee solved by swapping her position with another bridesmaid, but that only works for so many photos. That tattoo is going to be front and center your entire wedding, Ladies.

Now, I'm not saying tattoos NEVER work in a wedding. Here's a couple examples where its clearly a theme within the wedding, and turns out looking very, very cool.

Errrrrrbody got tattoos. Big, visible ones, at at. And that's alright. It works with the colors and the clear atmosphere of these weddings. It doesn't look trashy. It still wouldn't be my pick for a wedding, but hey, my wedding plans aren't for everyone either. I think whether a bride says "I do" to tattoos in her wedding truly depends on whether she has large, visible tattoos as well.

Like in this photo, the bride has a half sleeve on her arm. Seemingly none of her bridesmaids have any blatantly visible tattoos at all; however, they are all wearing a small, heart shaped temporary tattoo on their forearms which pulls together the bridal party into one cohesive team to match the bride's style. I really like this idea.

Now the hard part...When you tell your bridesmaid to cover up.

 This can be tricky, I suspect. Tattoos are a very personal thing for most people and they wear them very proudly. Most tattoos are meant to be seen. However, like I said before, this is your day as a bride and you should have what you want (within reason). I've come up with two easy steps to make sure your bridesmaid knows her tattoos are a no-go on your day in the least uncomfortable way.

Step 1: Talk to her right away.

Don't let this go for long. Be honest and real with your bridesmaid. Most likely, she'll understand your dilemma. Whether its because of family opinions, religious choices or just because you don't want tattoos in your forever memories, if she is your good friend, she'll respect your wishes. Obviously you don't expect her to get them surgically removed, but brain storm some ideas she would feel comfortable with. Maybe that's a small jackets over her bridesmaid dress, or maybe its covering them with make up. There are tons of choices. Its best to just be open and real about the expectations you have for your bridesmaids.

Step 2: Make "Bridal Emergency Baskets" for all your Bridesmaids, complete with Tattoo Cover Up in your Tattooed Beauty's basket.

Bridal Baskets for the bridesmaids are a super popular way to surprise your bridesmaids with a little treat to show your appreciate for being in the wedding. One quick search on Pinterest and you'll find dozens of options for how to create these cuties. Some of my favorite items to include are: a personal bottle of champagne, sparkly flip flops for dancing all night, a few cute cookies or sweets, a personalized hanger for their dress,  nail polish to wear the day of, a personalized tumbler, a personalized thigh flask and some lip glosses/make up to match their dresses.

 This is the perfect place to slip in Tattoo Cover Up. There are heaps of products on the market now to help people cover tattoos for a period of time. Many of these products are water proof and come in about 6-8 skin tones, so you can find your perfect match. By putting this product in her bridal basket, you are taking the financial burden of finding and purchasing the product off of her, without singling her out in front of the bridal party. Its a nice gesture, as long as you have already talked to her about covering them up. Let's not go the passive aggressive route, because it will likely enrage someone. Being in a bridal party should strengthen friendships, not break them.

You can find these coverage products at most cosmetic stores now; however, my heavily tattooed friend has recommended two products for tattoo coverage of all type (small, large, colored, etc). The first is the Kat Von D Tattoo Concealer which sells for $25 for a small bottle at Sephora. While it comes in 8 skin tones and is oil/paraben free, it is not water proof (just resistant) and comes at a slightly high price point, especially if you have a large surface to cover.

The product that I've heard the best thing about is Tattoo Camo. It retails for $25-$35 for a large portion of the mask and a bottle of remover. It is water proof and comes in 6 skin tones. This is ideal for anyone who is planning ahead, because it has limited retail exposure and will likely need to be ordered online. Apparently, its awesome for larger, darker colored tattoo coverage and will last 2-3 days if needed.

Bottom line: Tattoos can have a place in a wedding, but does it fit your wedding? Its ultimately up to the bride to decide; however, the bride shouldn't be permanently stuck with someone's My Little Pony tattoo from a drunken Cancun vacation.

Opinions? Thoughts? Think I'm a terrible friend? Let me know.



  1. I give this eight thumbs up.

  2. Rachel, you don't even have eight thumbs to give, hon, unless you were born with four hands, then i'm sorry i guess you do then.

    And Nikki, I really have to disagree. First, where have you even taken these pictures of these bridesmaids from? Have you e-mailed them and let them know that you basically think their photos and their tattoos are trashy? I think it's rather uncouth to have called someone's tattoo an ugly blue blobby thing. Tattoos are personal, and so are wedding photos. Personally, I don't think it's polite to trash personal things that hold meaning to people.

    On tattoos are personal, and I think if you want to tell someone that is at your wedding to cover up their tattoo because you want to be the center of attention, and somehow you believe you won't be ALREADY, since you're the freaking bride for crying out loud, then it's a clear sign of insecurity. You could try it out, but why are you even friends with someone who has a tattoo if you don't even understand why they got their tattoo or you're treating them like they're jewish and you're Hitler, aka outcasting them or making him or her uncomfortable?

    As an art enthusiast and someone who has been trained in the arts, the reason the bride didn't really stand out in those first few pictures isn't because of the tattoos, it's because the photographer did a terrible job of making the bride the focal point of those pictures.

    Lastly, my mother passed away. She was my single mother and when I lost her to cancer at the age of sixteen, I had no one to go to except my father. I moved in with him and he was abusive and he wouldn't allow me to grieve for her or show any emotion. After moving out on my own, I had trouble with public speaking, or expressing feelings of sorrow or sadness. I always wanted to get a tattoo for my mother, because she was an artist, and having something physically visible on my body, with her name on me would make me feel closer to her.

    If I was invited to a wedding and my friend told me to cover up my tattoo, I would probably never talk to that friend again, because that shows unfair discrimination, insecurity, and just insensitivity towards a very popular and benign form of cathartic body art.

  3. I'm obviously late to this party but...I agree with you, Nikki. I didn't take it as you saying that every bride should tell their bridesmaids to cover up but giving tips on how to do it, if that's what you want.

    I have quite a few friends and a sister-in-law who were the BRIDE and chose to cover their tattoos even though they loved their tattoos and didn't regret them. They just didn't want that to be in their pictures because it didn't really "go" with the asthetic of the wedding.

    I just got a tattoo about 3 weeks ago. I love it, it's meaningful. But if a friend asked me to cover it up for her wedding, she wouldn't need to give me a reason, I would do it. Sure your tattoo is meaningful to you, but it's not meaningful to the bride, most likely. If you're good friends with someone, you should know that their request for you to cover yourself isn't meant maliciously. Now, if it is meant to be a dig at the fact that you have a tattoo, then yes, why are you friends with this person?

    I guess I really don't see a difference between a bride telling you what dress to wear, what shoes to wear, how to do your hair and make-up or what jewelry to wear and asking you to put a little make-up on your tattoo so it's not the focal point of the picture. Granted, I didn't dictate any of this for my bridesmaids, they chose everything that I just listed but all brides are different and all weddings are different. When you agree to be a bridesmaid you usually already know what kind of a bride your friend/family member is going to be or what kind of wedding you are agreeing to be a part of.

    Crystal, I respect your opinion and it's clear that you wouldn't be the kind of bride to ask a friend to cover up a tattoo nor does it seam like you would be the kind of person who surrounds themselves with people who would ask that of you. But some people choose not to have a friend's half sleeve in their pictures for the rest of their lives, and that's perfectly OK too.

  4. Hey, this is a great post!! I love their tattoos and the ideas are also brilliant to flaunt tattoos on their wedding. My sister also has a tattoo on her shoulder and pretty soon she’s going to tie the knot at some domestic Chicago event space so I would definitely suggest her to use this wonderful idea on her big day!!

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