Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Guest Post: Beautiful without Makeup

Photo by Emily Ebeling

By Melissa Brander

Oh wedding industry, how I came to loathe thee. I think the worst part is the ways that it manifested in my friends.

When I began to plan my December 2010 wedding, two of the things that I knew immediately about what I wanted to wear were that I didn't want to wear make-up and that I didn't want to wear high heels. I thought I had pretty reasonable reasons for this too. I didn't want to wear make-up because I didn't wear it every day and I wanted to be real for my wedding. I didn't want to wear high heels because I don't wear high heels that often and I knew that wearing them all day would make my feet hurt. I wanted to be comfortable.

I ended up telling this to one of my friends, who asked about it, and another one of my friends who was walking by who stopped to say hi. Let's call them A and L. L was adamant that I had to wear make-up and high heels for my wedding. I argued with them for about half an hour, saying things like it was my wedding and I wanted to look like myself and that my husband prefers me without make-up (which they didn't believe). I ended up walking away from that conversation when A asked me, "Well what's the point of getting married if you don't want to be a flawless, perfect, airbrushed bride?" The sad thing is, A was completely serious. I responded back, "Because I love him!"

I think this was when it hit me how much the wedding industry has infiltrated ordinary people, that they think this is the purpose for a wedding. I couldn't believe it, especially since L was in a women's studies class with me where we talked about these issues on a regular basis.

I think the way I coped was to stop sharing details. I didn't want to tell people if I was only going to get criticized. I didn't let them change my mind and when we got married, you better believe that I dressed exactly how I wanted to, make-up free and in flats (well, boots part of the time by virtue of having a winter wedding in Wisconsin). That's why I'm proud to share that picture up there with you. I know that I look beautiful and I know that I felt comfortable too. Do it your way. I want you to feel comfortable. It's your wedding.


Melissa is an almost-graduated college student double majoring in Writing and Political Science. She has a part-time job in a library. When she's not working or studying, she enjoys playing Mario Kart against her husband and blogging at www.womeneverywhere.wordpress.com.

Nick is eventually going to go back to school for software engineering, but is a stay at home husband right now. He spends his extra time watching lacrosse and playing video games.

Being from Canada, Nick met Melissa when he came back to stay over Thanksgiving holidays with one of her best friends from high school who was his roommate. They struck up a long distance relationship which ended when they got married on December 28th, 2010.


A huge thank you to Melissa for sharing her story with 2000 Dollar Wedding kindred spirits! If you have an idea for a guest post you would like to write, please send me an e-mail!

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Amanda said...

I love this post! I agree so so so much. Why would you want to be something totally NOT you, on your wedding day? I just don't get it. I wore flip flops and brushed my hair on my wedding day. I wanted to look like myself, like the person my husband loves, not a puffed up, made up, unrealistic version of me.

Roxanne said...

Yes! My sister also insisted that I wear high heels to my wedding, and mostly, it's just impractical. I almost never wear heels and no I'm supposed to wear them on a day where I will be standing for like 7 hours straight? Not happening.

Thanks for sharing!

Gina said...

This is one of the best wedding posts I've read. You DO look beautiful! You look happy because you're marrying the man you love! And that's what it's all REALLY about. I know we don't need (or want!) most of the things the wedding industry had trained us to desire... But sometimes friends and relatives have a way of guilting us to conform... So this was a great reminder to stay strong and be ourselves!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to you for sticking up for what you believe in! Beauty is only skin deep! You do look beautiful in your photo! :)

I think so many women get so caught up in trying to look their absolute best on their wedding day. Looking your best, doesn't mean you're going to look perfect. There is no such thing as being perfect!

I'm someone who has never really had her makeup done by a professional. When I get married next year, I want to get my makeup done because I feel like I want to treat myself to something. I never pamper myself with things like getting my nails done, going to the spa, etc. because I can't afford it. On my special day, I want to treat myself. When I do treat myself, I will remember to stay true to who I am. That is what is the most important thing! :)

Tying The Knott said...

I found your blog from another site talking about it and just wanted to agree with the other people who commented and to say that you look great in your picture, very beautiful. =)

Christine Franklin

Yolo said...

AMEN! lol. I never wear makeup and am tired of people telling me I "should" "need to for your wedding" or "have to." I am so glad you stuck to your guns.

Anonymous said...

May I offer an alternate view? I understand the intention not to wear make-up for one's wedding because the bride doesn't wear make-up every day; however, one's wedding is not an everyday event. This day is supposed to be a (hopefully) once in a lifetime experience, a ritual, a rare occasion. It's perfectly possible to be comfortable on one's wedding day while also showing the people who are sharing it with the bride and groom that the bride considers her wedding a special event. How she dresses herself should show this specialness. Bridal appearance is not so much about looking flawless, perfect, and airbrushed (because we know that no one looks like a four-hour fussed over magazine model in real life, even models) but about embracing the specialness of the day. A bride's appearance - beyond the white dress and bouquet - is one of the highlights of a wedding. Grooming the eyebrows, enhancing the complexion with a light dusting of powder, a light coat of mascara after a crimp of the lashes, or brightening up the lips with some stay-put color reflect that a bride took some extra time on her special day to put her best face forward. All this can be done and still look and feel natural and comfortable, and not freak out the groom. I'm going to wear glittery low open-toe heels (I rarely wear heels) to show off my pedicure and to feel elegant and out-of-the-ordinary, and some glam extra lashes (I never wear false eyelashes) to enhance my eyes. I will still feel like "me" but better, and it will show my guests that I want to look and play the part of bride for a few fun and amazing hours. (P.S. We - all of us commenting here - are the wedding industry. We're posting on a wedding blog, buying wedding gowns, bouquets, veils, and shoes, renting venues, hiring caterers, renting hotels...)

Anne said...

As much as I liked the article, I have a hard time hearing feminist arguments from a very conservative pro-life and religious blogger with an extremely radical stance on women's reproductive rights.

Obviously, I support women everywhere who love their bodies and try to promote authenticity but I just wanted to point that out.

Anonymous said...

@Anne - I think that is very mean and judgmental for you to say. I would have to respectfully disagree with you.

P.S. - Melissa, you look beautiful!

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