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What do you do when your bridesmaid has a tattoo?

August 25, 2010

I’m going to take the risk of being known as “the Modern Manners girl that hates weddings” (I don’t hate them!) and answer back to “Other People’s Advice” on this issue, because despite just having reminded people that there is no nice way to remove a bridesmaid, this one is just too good to leave sitting there.

A bride wrote into Dear Abby. Dear Abby responded. Erica got heated.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 36-year-old woman who has a 25-year-old friend I love like a little sister. Because of that connection, I felt compelled to ask her to be a bridesmaid in my wedding.

After she agreed, I overheard her mention that she would be getting a large tattoo on her arm. Because she knows how I feel about visible tattoos, I asked her if she’d wait six months until after the wedding. She and the matron of honor are scheduled to wear strapless, knee-length gowns.

She proceeded with the tattoo and now has half an arm of full-color design. I don’t want her to ruin my wedding or the photographs. I would feel guilty if I had to force a jacket or sweater on her or my matron of honor, especially if the day is unseasonably hot. What should I do?

DEAR NO INK: If your “little sister” cared as much about your feelings as you seem to about hers, she would have postponed getting the tattoo as you requested. Too bad she didn’t.

However, weddings are more than the procession and the picture album. They are about loving friends and family and the joining of two people who intend to build a life together. If you’re worried about the pictures, pose “Sis” so her “canvas” can’t be seen by the camera.

Oh Dear Abby and AwfulBride, you guys are such jerks. You are also seriously missing the point. There are so many things wrong with this picture.

  1. Why does your age matter, AwfulBride? Are you trying to get on Abby’s good side with your advanced age? Show what a young neophyte this 25 year old woman is?
  2. You were “compelled”? As if you are doing this woman a favor?
  3. You want her to wait six months to do something to her own body, because of your one Special Princess Day?
  4. Ruin your wedding? Seriously!? How is this going to ruin your wedding? Is this going to interrupt the vows? Take the food off of Grandma’s plate? Invalidate the marriage license? This is one serious sleeve!
  5. Ruin your pictures? A photograph of your beloved “little sister” with a piece of art on her arm that she feels important is a ruined picture? Why wouldn’t you want a picture of the people that love you, just as they are – not as you wish they are?
  6. You would have to force a jacket or sweater on them? Or what? The tattoo will slap the officiant and kidnap the flower girl?

And dear, Dear Abby. What do I say about our beloved Dear Abby? She semi-redeemed herself with the reminder that the wedding is more than just about a procession and a photo album, but loses serious points for her obnoxious “quotation marks” and feeding into this AwfulBride’s idea that if someone doesn’t bow to their insane demands, they really don’t care.

Bridal Party Photograph Newsflash

Your friends and loved ones are not props or accessories for Your Special Day. They are real people, who while they presumably love you, have other things to do, other priorities and other desires. They may gain weight, get pregnant, have a disfiguring accident, or get some sort of body adornment that you don’t like. If you chose them because they would look good in pictures, please remove them from your entourage, hire models and get yourself the number of a really good therapist.

People are who they are. The photographs are there to remind you of the joy you had on that day, with the real people you love. Not the idealized versions you wish you had. Accept and love them for who they are. And is anyone else really curious about the bridesmaid-in-question’s tattoo? I hope it’s awesome.

Photo Credit: My beautiful newlywed friend Becca and her awesome ink. Jeremy Lawson Photography.

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12 Comments
  1. August 25, 2010 10:50 am

    I’m not sure what it is about weddings that can turn essentially normal women into intolerant monsters with a focus only on meaningless garbage.

    It almost happened to me too. Back when I was a bride-to-be, I can recall having a near anxiety attack on whether the place cards should be white or ivory. After all the table cloths were white and ivory striped. Then I smacked myself across the face and flipped a coin.
    When people’s feelings are connected to these completely irrelevant details, it’s a recipe for interpersonal disaster.

    I hate to be the finger pointer, but the wedding industry might have something to do with this focus on the “wedding image”. Register for any wedding planning website and be prepared for daily emails about whitening your teeth, toning your arms, or chemical peels. It can be overwhelming to say the least.

    Oh. And my Matron of Honor had multiple tattoos. They looked amazing peeking out the back of her dress.

  2. August 25, 2010 10:54 am

    As I plan my wedding…I can not agree with you more on this. “Problems” like this are small potatoes. I watch shows like Bridezillas and wonder…how do these chicks have FRIENDS, let alone a future husband?!?!?!

    • August 25, 2010 1:37 pm

      I always find myself screaming at the screen – “Don’t marry this woman! What are you doing? This is NOT GOOD.”

  3. August 25, 2010 12:24 pm

    You should have your own reality show as the wedding planner who bitchslaps the bride into BEING A DECENT HUMAN BEING.

    • August 25, 2010 12:26 pm

      I must make this happen. As soon as possible.

      • August 25, 2010 1:50 pm

        I agree wholeheartedly. 🙂

      • judah permalink
        August 26, 2010 7:01 pm

        Slide Pond Productions presents Erica’s “Smack My Bitch Up”

  4. August 25, 2010 2:06 pm

    Amen! This post made me so happy! What is it about weddings that makes people so gosh darn unreasonable?!

    • August 25, 2010 2:17 pm

      I think it’s a little bit like what Alice says. Some of it is the industry, some of it is our parents and some of it is just … how often do you have a day entirely devoted to you, and manage a thousand dollar affair? Not often. Some of it goes to your head.

  5. August 25, 2010 5:21 pm

    I love you for this post. You cracked me up. When I get married you are SO in charge.

  6. August 27, 2010 2:06 pm

    On the opposite end, I am in a wedding next year and I have a fairly visible tattoo across my back. Normally I wouldn’t care but for this wedding I really don’t want it showing to anybody especially since it is a very Catholic wedding with a full mass. I’m not sure how to tell the bride though. She hasn’t picked the dresses yet and I don’t want to come off as overbearing by trying to dictate what the bridesmaids dresses look like.

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