Hello, wedding folk. Today, I want to tell you that all of your teeth are perfectly fine the way they are. This is a very important message for brides to hear. Because, assuming you're a responsible person with a reasonable concern for dental hygiene, you might well find yourself going to the dentist for a check-up over the course of your wedding planning.
And then you might happen to mention, ever so conversationally, that you're getting married in a few months and yes, you're wicked excited about it.
And at this point, they stamp your forehead with a big BRIDE stamp, and proceed to tell you how essential teeth whitening is to your Special Day.
"You don't want those teeth in your photos!" my dental hygienist told me. She brought out this little row of teeth in various shades of white and yellow and pointed. "You're about here, now." The tooth was off-white, sure, but not horrifyingly so. "We could get you to here." That tooth was...also off-white. "The results vary, of course. And you have to stop drinking red wine and coffee, pretty much forever."
And the price we pay for this version of pretty? At my dentist, it was going to run me at least $600 and no, your health insurance does not care about how white your teeth are in your wedding photos.
Reader, I considered it.
I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I seriously sat in the chair while the dental hygienist scrubbed my teeth clean and calculated whether I could spare $600 to make my teeth whiter. Was this something I was expected to do? Would it be the thing that made all the difference in how I felt on and after my wedding day?
I do drink a lot of coffee and red wine. And so, yes, my teeth could surely be whiter.
"Plus, don't forget, your dress is white," said the dental hygienist. "You don't want your teeth to clash."
I had already decided I would be color-coordinating my wedding day underwear with my shoes. (Yes, that sounds a little lost-the-plot, but that's the kind of thing I do for fun on normal days too.) But — gasp! — it had not even occurred to me to color-coordinate my teeth to my wedding.
Thank. The. Good. Lord. That I decided to go home and think it over before committing to anything. My then-boyfriend/now-husband burst out laughing as soon as I suggested it. Plus his teeth are worse than mine. "You can't whiten your teeth, I have to stand right next to you!" Good point. My best friend wrote an emphatic email, where, I believe, the phrase "lost the plot" was used correctly.
And I realized: Oh, right. Paying $600 to whiten my teeth on my wedding day would be insane.
Now, no judgment if you've already gone ahead and done this. Rock on with your white-teethed self! Everyone's wedding and budget and needs are different and I am not here to tell you what to do. But I do think it's important to be clued in to what your own personal wedding/budget/needs are. And my day in no way required whiter teeth.
But, okay, confession time: The week before the wedding, I dropped $30 on a box of Crest White Strips. They made my gums tingle and I'm not sure my teeth looked all that much whiter, especially since my dress was pretty off-white, not white, to begin with. I fully chalk this purchase up to a healthy dose of pre-wedding stress. But at least I saved $570.
Are you debating teeth whitening for your wedding? Or have you found yourself succumbing to Wedding Day Pressure in some other way? Go ahead, laugh at yourself a little in the comments. We've all been there.
Virginia Sole-Smith is a freelance writer and author of the blog Beauty Schooled. When not obsessing over the color of her teeth and her underwear, she enjoys labeling things, knitting, and bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches.