Weddings & The Case for Covering Up

A few people I know have balked at the idea of me covering up my tattoos for a wedding. But this is my sister - my one and only - and likely the last time I'll ever do bridesmaid duties for anyone.
Publish date:
February 23, 2012
weddings, tattoos, bridezillas, lace, maidzillas, ugly boleros

Last week I received the most exciting news a big sister could hear: my younger sister and her longtime beau are getting hitched!

While I've always known my sister and future brother-in-law (FBIL) would get married (they've been cohabitating for years now), I was still thrilled beyond thrilled to hear that they're making it official. Although it took a few years for FBIL to propose, their engagement will have to be short. One of my brothers is being deployed in the coming months and there's no way Sis is getting married without him there.

So Sis and I are in full force planning mode. There's been tons of emails, lots of back and forth calls, and loads of planning and plotting. Marriage isn't necessarily my thing, but DIY is, (hello multiple glue gun household), as are pretty dresses. [Sidenote: should I ever decide that marriage IS my thing, I am totally going to be that bitch who spends the budget on a sweet dress and crazy heels. For real.]

During one of our recent calls Sis and I were discussing potential dress styles for the bridesmaids and myself. I noticed that she was quiet on the other end of the line.

"What? Does Mom want me to wear sleeves or something?" I joked. She took a deep breath and began, "I love you so much and I don't care about your neck or your back, it's just that..." "Don't even worry about it." I get it.

My sister has my back, always. She and I are not just BFFs, we're beyond that. She may not be a fan of body mods herself, but she defends mine - and my right to have them - more fiercely than I even do.

I love my sister beyond belief. On her day I want it to be all about her, and FBIL, but really about her. I should just be scenery (really pretty scenery, but scenery). And so I'm going with David Tutera's school of thought, and keeping the tats under wraps.

A few people I know have balked at the idea of me covering up my arms for a wedding. "If they love you enough to ask you to be in the wedding, they should love you as you are," has been a popular cry from fellow tattooed acquaintances. I get where you all are coming from, and in the past, I've opted out of wedding party duties, for such requests. But this is my sister - my one and only - and likely the last time I'll ever do bridesmaid duties for anyone.

Trust me, I've dealt with crazy 'zilla brides before. I got dis-invited from being in a wedding party by friends of friends of one bride because she didn't want to tell me herself that I would "ruin the pictures" (and this was before I was even heavily tattooed).

The above case however has proven to be the exception and not the norm. I've been involved in a shit load of weddings - chalk it up to growing up Irish Catholic with friends from similar backgrounds. I've accepted that I love my friends and if we're major parts of each other's lives, I'm thrilled to participate in their big days - weddings, christenings, etc...

I always ask my pals whether they have a preference about me covering up. I know them but I don't always know their families. There may be, as there was in one case, a conservative aunt and uncle on the groom's side who become so obsessed with a guest's tattoos they badgered the bride and groom about it instead of enjoying their champagne.

While most of my pals (and sweetly, their parents), happily tell me and other guests to "show 'em if you got 'em," I'm always ready, and happy, to oblige my loved ones if they ask (nicely of course) that I keep my art under wraps.

I don't know for sure whether there's any etiquette about wedding party members and their tattoos - but I'll create my own simple piece of advice: make sure that the couple getting married are the focus. That's it. So long as its within reason, do what they ask.

My sister is a total knockout anyway, so I could probably stand on the altar starkers and no one would notice, but I like a little insurance, you know what I mean?

And now on to the real purpose of this piece: how should I cover up? Personally, I'm on the hunt for a badass, one sleeved, Maid of Honor dress that coordinates for the other dresses. Others have suggested boleros a la Etsy, or heavy duty makeup. What say you? And please, if you're a bride, past or present, share your stories about maidzillas, momzillas, wedding day disasters, or any words of advice for yours truly, in the comments below.