Buckle up, buckaroos, cause we’ve got another round of bridal dilemmas, thanks to the lovely folks using Reddit in order to crowdsource opinions on their private lives. This is the sh*t I live for. Last round, we had a crazy bridezilla ask the subscribers of r/amitheasshole if she was being a jerk for demanding her friend help her redo her $30k wedding because she ruined her special day by being pregnant. (Spoiler: the bride was, most definitely, the asshole.) This go-around, we have a dilemma of bridesmaid etiquette. The central issue here comes down to what is and isn’t appropriate for a bride to ask of her bridesmaids on her wedding day, specifically, when it comes to their appearance. In the case of this particular Reddit rabbit hole, the bride in question wants her friend to cover up her tattoo—but not for the reason you might think. This begs the question: is it ever okay to ask your bridesmaid to alter her appearance for your big day? The answer, unlike our last Reddit dilemma, isn’t so cut and dry. So we asked Alyssa Longobucco, Senior Style + Planning Editor at The Knot, to weigh in on what is and isn’t appropriate when it comes to bride and bridesmaid etiquette. Let’s get into this beautiful mess of a tale, and Longobucco’s much-needed guidance.
The thread starts out fairly tame.
“I’m getting married this year, and my fiance and I are super excited. I got all the big ticket items paid for and ready to go, and all my girls have their dresses and will look phenomenal in them. Everything was going great until my one bridesmaid posted a picture of her newest tattoo … and now I am slightly mortified that it could end up in my wedding photos. Now all my bridesmaids have multiple tattoos. I have nothing against theirs, or any tattoos for that matter. And honestly if I wasn’t a chickensh*t, I’d have a few myself (but needles freak me out so it’s a hard no for me). So why am I thinking of singling out one bridesmaid for her one tattoo? Well. It looks like a giant..veiny..penis. My mother saw it, immediately called me and asked WTF it was, my MOH texted me asking why she got a d*ck tattooed and a few other bridesmaids contacted me asking what the hell was going on.”
Wow, wow, wow. I almost spit out my wine. I’m glad that the OP here points out that her bridesmaids all look great in their dresses and they all have multiple tattoos. It shows that she isn’t simply being a prude about her maids rocking some ink, which, in turn, makes her next points more valid. It also lends some credence considering that she, her mother, her MOH, and a few other bridesmaids all mentioned the phallic tattoo in question. So, it must be pretty bad for multiple people to have noticed it and pointed it out independently.
So, is it ever chill to ask a bridesmaid to cover up a tattoo or change her appearance in a certain way? Longobucco says, “Loving your friends is about loving all of them—from the personality quirks that drive you crazy, to the tattoo they rock with pride that may not be quite your style. There is no ‘right’ way to do a wedding—so why should there be a right way to look in order to be included in a close friends wedding party? This is a big nope for us!”
Ok, like, totally agreed, but what about PENIS tattoos. What then??
The Tattoo In Question
The OP goes on to explain about the real reason behind said tattoo: “The idea that she was going for was adorable, especially because it signifies her kid’s birthday. But it’s not what it looks like at all. It looks like the side profile of a headless penis. And it’s lightly outlined in pink and blues, so it looks like veins. And the trunk is detailed so it looks wrinkly and overall just a poor execution on what would have been a fantastic tattoo. Now if it didn’t resemble male genitals I wouldn’t care. But it’s a big piece and in a highly visible spot that will be in almost every single photo. I just don’t want a big penis in my final wedding photos. So Reddit, would I be the asshole if I asked her to cover it up? And how could I tell her I want it covered because her tribute tattoo to her little beautiful baby looks like a d*ck?”
I want you all to know that I scoured the internet trying to find a photo of this monstrosity and f*cking succeeded, so
give me a raise brace yourselves. I won’t include the photo here in this article, but you can check it out at this link. (I recommend not doing so if you are at work, in public, or another location where you don’t want people to think you are looking at porn.)
What, in the name of Jesus tap-dancing Christ, happened here? If I was given this tattoo, I’d sue. First of all, the only things that were pink on the OG sketch were the ears; why did the “artist” decide to make the whole damn thing pink?! Also, the bride says it’s in a prominent place, so I’d imagine the maids are wearing sleeveless dresses and this is on the maid’s upper arm. Class, class, class.
So, does the bride have a leg to stand on in terms of asking the maid to cover it up? Ethically, no, according to Lonbobucco. “Honestly, there is no real tactful way and we can’t reiterate this enough—just don’t go there,” she warns. “The most ‘control’ you have around anyone else’s personal presentation on your wedding day comes from asking them to wear a specific style or color of outfit or maybe doing their hair a certain way. But even that is pushing it—it’s unfair to ask someone you care about to spend money they can’t afford or look a certain way that they don’t feel themselves. If you keep running up against the thought that your friends’ appearance isn’t meeting your perceived wedding expectations, you should probably consider forgoing a wedding party all together and allow your friends or family to celebrate you the way they see fit.” The Knot pro also feels like asking a maid to cover a tattoo is sort of in the same vein (sorry, pun not intended) as asking her to dye her hair or get a spray tan. You’re asking them to be in your wedding, so accept them for who they are.
Hmmmm. In all other circumstances, I would agree. But for some reason, this one feels different.
After reading through the comments on the original thread, it sounds like the bride is going to work with her photographer to finesse the pictures so the tattoo isn’t front and center. She says that for the final photos—the ones that are going to be printed out and put in an actual album and given out to friends and family—the photog will pose her in a certain way so as to obscure the tattoo, and do some editing for those images. Thank god for Photoshop! But the bride-to-be specifies that the tattoo will not be covered up in every single photo, because she understands the meaning of the tattoo and appreciates the thought that went into it.
Is this a viable solution? Honestly, I think so—that is, until the bridesmaid sees the pictures hanging in the bride’s house and realizes her tattoo is totally gone. Then, there will probably be an awkward conversation or two. But, given the situation, this seems like a good compromise.
All in all, when it comes to asking your bridesmaids to change their appearance, Longobucco advises against it. Instead, she recommends putting things into perspective. “There are a lot of things you’re going to need to let go of expectations around on when it comes to planning your wedding,” she says. “Any wedding professional will tell you, there’s rarely an event that goes 100% perfect throughout the day. So focus on the parts of your day that you can control, like surrounding yourself with loving and calming energy, hiring the right team of professionals to execute your vision, and showing up ready to celebrate you and your spouses’ relationship. One thing that doesn’t fall under that umbrella of control? Anyone else’s appearance—or even their behavior, for that matter. Loving your friends and family means accepting all of them, perceived ‘warts’ and all. You’d want that for yourself, right? So why not give your loved ones the gift of that same kindness?”
Agreed, for the most part—I think you can try to control your friends and family’s behavior in the sense of like, making sure nobody gets so wasted that they embarrass you and/or themselves at your wedding. But the rest I agree with. To be honest, I’m just glad I am not the bride here.
Reddit is the gift that keeps on giving. On a recent AITA subreddit (if you aren’t familiar, that stands for Am I The Asshole), a former bride sounded off about a bridesmaid who she feels went overboard in upstaging her at her wedding and, thus, ruined her big, special, perfect day. As a former bride and current day-to-day bitch, let me just say: every bride wants to be the absolute 100% center of attention on her wedding day, whether you’re an actual brat or just act like one during your wedding planning process. Everyone should be complimenting you. Everyone should be telling you how skinny you look. Everyone should be telling the groom how lucky he is and to not mess this up. Everyone should be dancing and raving about the food and crying because they’re just so f*cking happy to be there. You feel me? So I understand why a bride might feel upset if all eyes were not on her the entire duration of her wedding day… but even I think this Reddit bride took things more than a little too far. Because our Reddit bride was not the center of attention on her wedding day, she feels like her bridesmaid literally owes her a do-over. That in itself is pretty f*cking crazy considering the bride admits her wedding cost $30,000, but her reasons why she feels justified in asking for this re-do are, shall we say, completely f*cking unhinged. Let’s take a closer look.
The Reddit post begins, “My now husband and I got married 1.5 months ago. We had 6 people on each side of the bridal party. This wedding took 3 full years to plan and prepare for. When I got engaged, most of the bridesmaids were very single, including Anna, the ‘star’ of this story. Two of them were in long-term relationships. I wanted to just give the two partnered bridesmaids plus-ones. Anna seemed offended by this, because my wedding was then years off, and she was actually dating her now husband at the time (though it was casual).”
Alright, this seems within the realm of normal so far. You usually draw the line for a plus-one at serious partners or spouses—especially if you’re a bride on a budget. Then again, this bride puts in the subject of her post that her wedding cost $30,000, which is not super extravagant, but also not a budget affair. However, if it did take her three years to plan, it’s safe to say they were keeping an eye on cost. I guess if you’re broke and mom and/or dad aren’t helping and you’re drowning in student loans, that makes sense. But still, three years is a little bit long to plan a wedding, and there are people who would bristle at not giving members of the bridal party a plus-one, even if they’re not in a serious relationship at the time of your engagement.
Mom Knows Best
The Reddit bride continues, “I eventually got pushed by my mother to give all of them plus-ones. Anna actually continued to date that guy, and married him four months before my wedding at two months pregnant. She brought her new husband as her plus one (who I never met prior) and convinced one of the other bridesmaids to take her friend as hers (when she KNEW we didn’t like him).”
Oh, moms—always peer pressuring us. So, Anna marries the guy she was casually dating, and, considering it took three years to plan this wedding, that is actually very normal! Plenty of people get engaged and even married within three years of meeting each other. Three years is a long time! And it’s actually kind of weird that she never even met her friend’s husband in the entire three years it took to plan her wedding. The only thing I will say is that it’s kind of sh*tty to get a friend invited to a wedding whom you know the bride and groom don’t like. But, given the way this Reddit bride has framed her entire post, I’m calling into question that Anna knew the bride didn’t like the friend. This detail will become important later, for reasons you probably don’t expect, so just keep it in the back of your mind.
Here is where things start to unravel. The bride says of Anna, “She was hugely pregnant, and didn’t refrain from showing it off. We’re both fairly young (25) and in my husband’s culture, getting pregnant before late 20s/30s, married or not, is basically a teenage pregnancy and drew ATTENTION. She also has a vibrant personality and has a way of eclipsing everyone around her. Her husband is also very tall and incredibly attractive, which drew a lot of attention.”
Wow. Grab a suitcase, everybody, because we have a lot to unpack. Ok, first of all, if she’s hugely pregnant (by my calculations, about six months along), how can you NOT show it off? Like, it’s very out there, literally. What really seems odd is the whole “practically a teenage pregnancy” thing. Anna is married at this point, lest we forget. She’s in her mid-20’s. What culture says that’s “basically a teenage pregnancy”??? Am I just extremely ignorant of all non-American cultures? Probably, but I still need to know either way. And what’s with the comment about her friend having a “vibrant personality”? Is she mad that her friend seems like a fun, positive person? Also, jazz snaps for the level of petty you need to be to be MAD that your friend’s husband is hot (and tall). Like, would it have been okay if he was hot and not tall, or tall and unattractive?
Apparently, this all was just too much for the wedding guests to handle. “All anyone spoke about of was Anna’s pregnancy and her attractive husband. Even in the line, people were asking about that ‘electric woman’ and of her pregnancy/marriage/life. When they got up to dance, all eyes were on them. Anna’s friend ended up hooking up with my brother, outing him as gay and causing a huge scandal.”
Is it honestly Anna’s fault if she’s the life of the party? I guess bridezilla was hoping she’d tone it down, which I would understand if Anna is the type of friend to purposefully cause a scene every time she goes out to get attention—but we have no indication of that from this post. And like, IDK, it sounds like the guests were more intrigued by Anna and her husband than offended at their presence. The best part of this part of the story is Anna’s friend hooking up with the bride’s brother and “outing” him. That was probably uncomfortable with possible negative consequences for the brother, I’ll give her that. But it feels like all the anger is misdirected at Anna when really the bigger scandal was the hookup. And maybe the real problem is not that Anna’s friend ended up hooking up with the brother, but that there were homophobes at the wedding who were so scandalized by two men making out that it supposedly ruined the day.
It gets more insane, if you can believe it. Reddit bride says, “I ended up leaving midway through the reception in tears, and never attended the next morning’s brunch. Anna and her entourage left early the next morning and also didn’t attend. I can’t even look at the pictures without crying and desperately want a do over. I’m not a bridezilla, but this was beyond the pale. It felt like a celebration of Anna’s marriage. I’m sorry, but I put so much planning, effort, and money into this while someone that got pregnant without a thought and married spur of the moment reaped the benefits. I honestly feel like Anna owes me a wedding and did all of this as revenge for me offending her years ago. Am I wrong?”
What a brat. Just to recap: you complained about Anna making a scene, her friend hooking up with your brother and making a scene, then left your own reception crying, creating MORE of a scene? Isn’t that kind of a slap in the face to all of the other guests who came to see you and have a good time? The same can be said of skipping the next day’s brunch. Anna wasn’t even there! That was your big chance to get some one-on-one time with your guests! You don’t get to complain about Anna ruining your day when you created just as much of an issue by leaving and not even enjoying your own brunch that you also presumably planned and paid for!
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To go so far as to type out that Anna “did all of this as revenge” is so ludicrous I can’t even see straight. Anna dated a guy, got married, got pregnant, then came to your wedding and had a good time…all for spite? Is it cold up there in your ivory tower? To claim she did all this scheming JUST to ruin your day is absurd.
The commenters on the thread were pretty quick to side-eye the Reddit bride, too. “The biggest clue to me was ‘the wedding took a full three years to plan’. … OP is overly obsessed with her own wedding. When you put something on a pedestal that high, it’s always a disappointment.” Preach, commenter on this thread. If it takes you three years to plan your PERFECT day, then you’re so detail-oriented that nothing will ever be perfect.
Overall, most, if not all of the commenters agree that yes, this bride was the asshole. Her main issues with Anna seem to be that she has a hot husband, got married, got pregnant, and is a social butterfly. I don’t want to pile on the Reddit bride by calling her a horrible person or anything like that, though. More than likely, this bridezilla is experiencing a huge downer after the wedding, which is understandable when for three years you lived and breathed planning and budgeting for it and, in a flash, it’s over. Naturally, you’re going to pick it apart and try to find what you could have done better. But where she took it way too far was asking if she is justified in demanding her friend help her throw another wedding. Girl, no! Like, what, you think your bridesmaid is just going to Venmo you thirty thousand dollars because she had the audacity to have fun at your wedding? Yeeeah. Let me know how that goes.
Images: betchesbrides / Instagram (2); Giphy