Hair color judgments: when you’re invited to a wedding, but your hair color isn’t welcome?

Guest post by Catie Osborn
hair color by Roxie Jane Hunt alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Hair color by Roxie Jane Hunt

Have you ever walked into a room and immediately felt judged? I attended my very dear friends' wedding rehearsal (I'll be performing an original poetry performance piece blessing their marriage) and it was very clear, from the moment I set foot in the ceremony space, that there were a number of people displeased with my particular choice in hair dye jobs.

Sidelong glances, whispers, a bridesmaid who literally refused to talk to me and a groomsman who insisted on treating me like I was going to carry off the silverware at any moment — I had no idea what to do.

Afterward I was informed that my blue hair — the blue hair that I've had for about five years now — is not welcome by the People Paying For The Wedding. It became clear I was dealing with hair color judgments.

My friend apologized profusely. But I get it. I do. I understand that not everyone in the world is going to be excited about a blue-haired hooligan waltzing through the doors on their daughter's wedding day. I accept that, and I respect my friend's parents' right to judge me based on my decisions in hair color. I know that I make a choice every day that I wake up and put a little more blue dye on my hair (and hands). I make the choice to be a little different and to stand out a little from the crowd. My hair color is a way for me to express my individuality.

I have been extraordinarily lucky in my life. I've been able to perform my poetry for past and current presidents, ambassadors from foreign nations, for royalty, for sometimes actual cash money and spoken to thousands of students across the county, on national and international stages — and not a single one of them ever found an issue with my hair. In fact, most of them complimented me on it.

But, at a rehearsal for one of my best friend's most important moments, it was obvious that the People Paying For The Wedding were NOT excited about my hair and were Very Opposed to me “ruining the wedding” with my blatant disregard for common decency.

It fascinates me that my hair became the subject of so much concern — really, I just kind of feel important knowing that I have the power to Ruin The Entire Wedding with my ridiculous hair. How dare I, really? Who am I to come in and be myself when there are relatives (who I don't know and will never see again) to impress?

But is it their right to insist that I cover it up? They are the ones paying, after all, so, technically, I suppose they do “own the rights” to the day, but my friends — the ones getting married, who I am there to support and celebrate — have never seen it as a problem. They love me for who I am, not for my hair color.

Dealing with hair color judgements

This has gotten me thinking. Here I am, being more than a little miffed about this whole experience, but what would I do if someone showed up wearing, oh, I don't know, a skin-tight glitter leotard and bright green hair? Okay, that'd be awesome, but you know what I mean.

I know that I could easily be in the same situation as my friend. I know, already that my mom is in the same Disapproving Boat about some of the more offbeat ideas I have for my wedding, and I know that in the future, I might catch a lot of flak for choosing to wed with blue hair, or pink hair, or in tennis shoes and jeans or… well, who knows, really?

So I did something that I swore I would never, ever, ever ever ever do.

I offered to dye my hair.

I figured well, it's only hair, and it's only for a day — if this is going to help allay some of the drama and allow the day to run more smoothly, why not?

But it got me thinking… How do you determine the line of what is “appropriate” and what is “not welcome” at your wedding, especially when you're not the one paying for it? Who should get the final call when there is a huge financial disparity between the couple being wed and the people paying?

Oh, and if you're wondering, I bought a wig the next morning. I figured there was no sense in wasting a good dye job. Because, seriously, my hair looks so good right now.

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Comments on Hair color judgments: when you’re invited to a wedding, but your hair color isn’t welcome?

  1. A reminder BEFORE we start discussing this post: while I recognize that the first thing we all want to do is slam the family members who had concerns about the author’s hair, I think there are way more interesting issues to be discussed:

    1. Who gets control over wedding decisions?

    2. What have you learned about compromising with family?

    3. How have you handled it when a compromise could not be reached? Any copy ‘n’ paste “I love you but this is the end of this discussion” templates you can share?

    4. How do you talk to your family about money and control over wedding issues?

    Any family-slamming comments that do not fit within our comment policy will be edited and/or removed (even if I personally agree with the sentiments).

  2. All I can say is – wow. Displeased is one thing, but refusing to even talk to someone because of their choice of hair colour?

    Like it’s been said on Offbeat Bride many a time, when people are helping you cover costs of a wedding, it’s important to make note whether that means they want to have say in it, or are they just doing it because they want to.
    I know I wouldn’t want my family or friends, telling other guests what’s right and what’s not unless it’s us who told them so in the first place. Money or not.

    I suppose it is important to establish what’s okay to wear and not, when you’re sending out invitations to people. Or even warning some of your friends to maybe tone it down for the day, because of their strict family members etc.

    It’s lovely that you decided to change your colour for the day, just to smooth things out for your friends. Thumbs up for that. I know I wouldn’t have done it (very proud, former owner of long, hot pink hair).

    • One way that we’re approaching it is to make it as well known as possible that we are NOT playing the typical wedding day. My fiance’s parents are small town Catholics and they’re helping us pay for the wedding. From day one I’ve talked with her a great deal about the details for the wedding, but more than that I’ve made a point to explain the motivations behind these decisions and how we feel like those things are important to us. I think that it’s helped prepare more conservative members of our families for a different kind of wedding day.

      On a practical note I’ve also created a pinterest board entitled “Wedding: What To Wear” that we’ve posted to our wedding website. It’s full of pins that show the more out of the box kind of outfits/hair that we knew our friends would be likely to wear (and that fir with the vibe of our big day). Again, just another subtle message to our conservatives family letting them know “This is going to be different”

      • ooh, I like this day a lot. We want a gothic vicorian theme. And while I understand most people don’t have the clothes for that, most people also don’t know what it is. I can put up sample examples people can take ideas from.

  3. I applaud you for your mature and level-headed response to everything. While I may not agree with the People Paying, I think that you are doing a service to your friends by not rocking the boat and recognizing that the day is not about you. Your friends are lucky to have someone like you… and I’m sure you will look fabulous in that wig!

  4. Blue Hair Superpower – able to ruin an entire wedding just by attending with blue hair! crazy!
    are your friends who are getting married aware of this? it seems to me they might be quite shocked if you show up without your beautiful blue hair – especially because I am sure they love you as you are! it’s a very generous gesture on your part to offer a change to keep the peace, but I know if I were your friends, I would want to speak to my family about treating you so poorly.
    as for pleasing those who are paying, it seems those who are accepting their money have a level of obligation but those outside of that arrangement do not.
    I hope the wedding is wonderful for you and your friends! maybe you can get everyone to don blue wigs at the reception!

    • This. If the bride and groom have decided that the financier’s contributions have bought the right of aesthetic overrule, then that is an arrangement that extends to them, no one else. Applied to anyone else, it is simply an attempt to dictate the choices of your guests. And that’s always rude.

  5. I was so heartbroken when you offered to dye it! I was like NOOOOO! Don’t you know that wigs exist and can look like normal hair nowadays? And then I saw that you DID know about the awesome hair-saving powers of wigs, and I felt much better. Hooray for wigs!

    • lol I was thinking the same thing when you said you would dye it. Blue is such a hard color to master. T_T

    • I thought the same thing. One of my coworkers has blue hair, and wears a wig to work on a daily basis to meet the dress code. 😛

    • I love wigs! Sometimes, I like to just dress up one and wear it, be it my perky strawberry red wig or my long straight purple one just to feel fancy. And I cosplay pretty regularly too, so I have a nice collection to play with. Once I wore the red one and got a ton of complements on my new hair color, I’m pretty sure people were a little confused the next day when all I had was my simple brown hair.

  6. Right? Shopping for matching dressed is one of the great pleasures of blue hair ownership!!

    • ….So I’m a weirdo that accidentally deletes their own comment by mistake, I’m going to assume that was to me and try to type the original comment in the response! huzzah!

      Basically, I JUST went to a wedding a month ago, blue hair and all. The week before, I saw the bride and groom and (because my hair was fading something fierce) made an offhand comment about dyeing my hair before the wedding. The bride’s response was “You aren’t going to dye it brown or something are you? That would be weird.” My answer was “I bought a dress that specifically wasn’t going to clash with my hair, are you kidding?!”
      BONUS: The bride’s father made a comment that my hair was TARDIS blue, so…good times!

  7. This something my fiancee and I have talked about in the past. At his brother’s wedding the soon-to-be-bride wanted my fiancee to get an eyebrow waxing. At first I was like “Oh your part of the groom’s party, so you should if they ask”

    But the more we talked about it, the more I realized it IS silly to demand things of your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Sure they should buy the right dress or suit, but uh.. how silly is to say to your bridesmaids “I need you all to cut your hair?”

    I don’t think the Bride OR MOTB have any say about changing appearances existing before being asked to be part of the wedding. I think the Wedding Media has made us believe that the bride is so important, and this is the mother-fing-day so everyone must bow to you. Your bridesmaids are adults. They don’t have to do anything for you. They don’t need to plan a party, they don’t NEED to buy a dress, and they don’t NEED wax their eyebrows.

    But that is just me XD

    • I agree. It’s one thing to make the argument that The People Paying have the right to make certain decisions (I disagree, I still think it should be all up to the couple), but asking someone to change their personal appearance that was existing when they were asked to be in the party is crossing a line. If you don’t like their appearance, don’t ask them to be in the party. If you don’t like the couple’s choice of wedding party, either don’t offer to pay or just grow up and suck it up.

      Since my fiance and I are paying for our own wedding, and because most of our family is awesome anyway, we haven’t run into this problem. We DID have a problem with his father throwing a temper tantrum at who we aren’t inviting and holding the $2K “gift” he gave us over our heads. My fiance held his ground on our choice of invitees, went to the bank, took out $2k, put it in an envelope, and shoved it in his father’s hands. Rock on! That’s how we would deal with it. (Though I’m sure easier said than done in many situations.)

    • A friend of mine was in a wedding where the bride was quite insistent that he shave his beard and cut his hair. He did shave his hair, the morning of the wedding, into a tonsure (monk-style). Do I approve of this response? No (or maybe yes). Moral of my little story: Be careful what you ask for.

    • I do think that with something like waxing or manicures/pedicures or haircuts it’s worth figuring out the motivation. I’ve been asked twice to get a pedicure for being in a wedding party, and pedicures just don’t work for my feet. One of the brides said, a little uncomfortably, “well the shoes are open-toed, can you just make sure your feet look.. more well-groomed than usual, and could you use the polish that everyone else will have on?” The other one said “no prob – is there a different salon treatment you enjoy that you’d like to get instead?”

      Point being, I think even if you are planning on assenting, if it’s not totally clear, it’s worth making your position known. With the hair, some brides who’d made a similar request might say “oh, I had no idea it would be so difficult/expensive/compromising of your identity to dye it and then dye it back – just keep it how it is and i’ll try to calm down the paying people.”

  8. My Maid of Honor had green, blue, and pink hair. I had to have her at my wedding so I changed my wedding colors to match her hair. Weird and sneaky.

    • I was a bridesmaid for a relatively traditional friend back in 2001, when I had fruit-loop colored dreadlocks. Like you, my friend actually built the color scheme around my weird-ass hair! I mean, I made it easy by having a lot of colors to pick from, but she totally picked out the bridesmaid dresses to coordinate.

    • Not quite the same, but my Maid of Honour dyes her hair in bright colours frequently and is dying her hair blue to match our colours! I think it’s going to look awesome.

      • My “man of honor” has dreads and is adding in red ones to match our colors 🙂 I thought it was so nice of him

  9. I had a sorta-similar thing happen with my tattoo. I had agreed to be a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my elementary school friends. I hadn’t seen her in a few years and possibly she hadn’t actually seen the tattoo before and when I showed up at the wedding shower wearing a fairly low-cut top apparently some of her relatives commented on it. Later, afraid it would be a distraction on the wedding day, she asked me to have it covered it up. I said I’d think about it. Well I thought about it, decided I was really offended and that that would be a bad idea, and when the makeup artist (who had apparently been asked to cover it up) went to start putting makeup on it I refused. I said that if my little tattoo was really enough to distract everyone from the beautiful bride I didn’t think *I* was the one doing something wrong. I guess the bride and her mom decided it wasn’t worth arguing with me and they dropped it. I did let the makeup artist cover up a hickey on my shoulder (oops! Should have told the boy to be careful the night before I was in a wedding!) and by the time we got to the venue that makeup was half worn off so I am really glad I didn’t let her cover the tattoo!! It would have been a lot more distracting to have a blotchy half-covered tattoo and makeup smeared on the edge of my dark colored dress.

    BTW, this my tattoo, which is not even some big or offensive thing:
    (ignore the one on my face – that one’s fake/temporary but the one on my chest is quite real)

    • I was asked to cover up a super tiny tattoo of a sun on my shoulder and the makeup ended up wearing off. I saw a photo of me from the back and noticed that it had been Photoshopped out in addition to my body being Photoshopped to look thinner. Brides and photogs have every right to do this, of course, but it still made me feel kind of crappy.

      • Somehow I find the idea of a photographer photoshopping a bridesmaid to look thinner as downright creepy and extremely disrespectful. If you had specifically asked for that it would make sense, but without that request it seems immensely inappropriate.

          • No, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a directive of the bride, thankfully. So it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

      • Icky icky icky! What’s wrong with remembering a certain day they way it really was? Why bother changing things?

      • I had a bride tell me last year that her sister felt like she looked fat in the wedding photos, so could I please make her look thinner? Um. I don’t do that :/

    • Fun story, at the same wedding this happened at, one of the bridesmaids went from having a horrible skin condition on one shoulder to a beautiful tattoo sometime between the wedding and the reception. We bonded over it– I’m glad I wasn’t singled out for being “distracting”.

    • In planning our wedding one of our potential bridesmaids has two tattoos, one on each shoulder that if my mother saw them she would probably get pretty upset (to explain briefly, we have an alternative relationship with her and her husband, and she had her husband’s name, and my fiance’s name tattooed on each shoulder. Her husband was pretty upset with her for doing it, but that is neither here nor there). So I am looking into those infinity dresses and she’ll just have to wear hers with sleeves. I KNOW she’ll understand, and will just have to be careful about what else she wears. She’s already “strange” enough in my mother’s eyes for all the ear piercings that she has, and I don’t want to cause my mother more stress over the tats on her shoulders (not to mention the guests could probably put two and two together as well). It will be easily fixable, and the most graceful way to handle it, and I know we’ll all have a good time anyway.
      Sometimes you gotta get creative to keep things balanced!

    • My sister was going to be my MoH and she has 5 tattoos. My mom fussed a little over it but in the end I told her that she could pick whatever style dress she liked and if she felt more comfortable showing her tattoos or covering them up, that was her decision. Besides, picking out a style bridesmaid dress just to cover up ALL her tattoos would have been weird.

  10. Its kindof strange to think that people are still so conservative but i guess it still happens.

    As far as compromise with family and the politics of who pays gets the last word i totally get it. Which is half the reason my husband and i decided to elope in Ireland 🙂 i guess instead of the confrontations with family we avoided most of them… lol

  11. You hit a key point on the head ‘your dye job looks good’. It takes time to get there!

    I find a lot of brides are making wedding party members- on their husband’s sides!- remove gauges, piercings, shave off beards, trim long hair, even cover up tattoos!

    I don’t get it! You’re making life changing decisions for them they have to honor to support a life time/close friend? It takes years to grow hair and beards.

    We are told not to bash brides or families, but then, how do you tell them not to bash YOU?

    • blehhhhhhh! I actually think naked stretched ears are weirder looking with nothing in them! I always figured a plain solid vs a tunnel [the see through ones] makes a big difference as far as ‘class’

  12. If you choose to alter (ha!) your appearance for the wedding, I wouldn’t suggest dieing it (especially if you’re just planning on returning it to the blue right after anyway.) It would be so bad for the health of your hair. You should invest in a decent wig. There are many affordable options online. You can style any non human ones with a clothing steamer and rollers. Just put your hair up in pin curls and pop the wig on. I had a friend with extreme hair who did this for various jobs/interviews and it worked like a charm.

  13. So with the wig on, did those previously ignoring then speak to you? If so, how did the conversation transpire? Or did your friend make a difference when talking to her family?

    For everyone else who looks “non-traditional”, do you ever feel the responsibility of being an ambassador for our community to those who may never meet another punk like you again? For instance, the author is clearly intelligent, accomplished, and articulate, yet many of the more conservative persuasion might assume she has all the opposite traits. These conversations could be a great mental-seed-planting opportunity to dispel ignorance.

    Yet that responsibility can be so tiresome. Just like people without facial piercings and tattoos, I have bad days and get cranky, or have low blood sugar and get snippy.

    I commend you for your “high-road” conduct and would love to hear if this was a learning experience for the family.

    • Yes! I always loved having retail jobs and being representative of the alternative community. It was really good for my mood disorder- Fake it til you make it- and I loved hearing later about how customers were thrilled with the “punk girl” who was “so nice, and more helpful” than they expected.

      I consider it part of my mission in life to get people to stop being so judgmental. Especially if they fancy themselves moral because of their religious beliefs.

      • it’s exactly this sentiment of wanting to dash people’s judgements about stuff that had me always wanting to yell “i do a whole lot of recreational drugs!!!” at pick-up time when i was a nature camp counselor in college. As in, your kids love me, I’m smart, responsible, articulate, an honor student, and an all around good person….and i use drugs for fun….BLAM! JUDGEMENT! it discounts all the awesome stuff for some people….welp those people can suck it. unfortunately never had the guts to do it though.

      • My fiance is a pretty goth guy, and he loves holding doors open for old people to prove to them he’s not as scary and mean and he looks lol

    • Hey, thanks!
      Yeah, actually, I’m kind of “That kid” in my office. I have blue hair all the time, hold down a decent (government even) job and am pretty damn respectable. (When I feel like it).

      It was actually kind of an interesting experience– I was ignored pretty much the entire time, and when I said something, I got either blown off or that super-fake “oh heyyyyyy” type of thing.

      I can’t say it was a learning experience for the family, but I do know it was a learning experience for me.

      What I learned about myself is that I can make the “grown up” choice. No, I was not happy– I was hot, the wig itched, I felt ugly and it made my face look fat, but I wore it with pride as a badge of honor–I know who I am a little more now, and while I might not always make the best choices or make the right decision, I did in this case, and I am proud of that.

      When I look back on this ridiculous situation and laugh, I will laugh because I shared a beautiful weekend with some of my dearest friends– women who I want to stand up with me when I get married, women who I want to represent the love I have for my life and my friends and my community, and women who I will insist come as they are, be it green, pink, purple or brown– because, well, they’ve done the same for me, and I love them for it.

      • You should invite this same bride to stand up for you, but only if she dyes her hair blue. And her family can attend too, but only if they do the same. Otherwise, they just wouldn’t fit in. 😛

      • I volunteered to do this for my best friend’s wedding, too. Her family is supah-Texas-conservative, but they are also very, very gracious, so we sat, talked about my pink hair, and they ended up being cool with it, especially since I was dressed up very nicely, and I styled my hair conservatively.

        That said, if they had asked me to cover my hair, I would have worn a wig, no fuss. I understand that my funky hair is my *choice*, and sometimes, it’s better to be the bigger person, you know?

        You’re awesome, lady.

  14. I had blue hair for more than five years. I also owned a wig for situations where I didn’t want to put up with people’s ridiculous ideas about what kind of person that made me. It was super helpful whan I was buying a car, going to funerals, etc. Even if it is a cheap (less than $100) no one will be so rude as to ask why you wear it.

    As for who makes wedding decisions, that gets so complex that my husband and I decided to elope. I am not at all hospitable to people telling me how to live, and the wedding was no exception.

    • I’ve had colored hair for about 8 years now, and ever time someone negatively asks me why I dyed my hair, I just give them this quizzical look and ask them what they’re talking about.
      “Why is your hair blue?”
      “My hair is blue?!?!?”

      • HA! That’s great.

        You should follow it up with “Oh this? This is aqua. Please. I would never dye my hair blue!”

  15. This is such a great post! I am in the same boat. My sister is on track to be married this summer. She is a-ok with my hair being purple, but my parents–who are paying for a LARGE chunk of the wedding–are very opposed. My mom brings up photos as the main argument–years from now, do we want photos to reflect purple hair?

    On the one hand, I understand. I would much rather acquiesce to my mom (who has offered to pay for the dye job) than create needless drama. And hey, maybe ten years from now I’ll regret my hair and those wedding photos will make me–and more importantly, my sister–sad.

    But on the other hand…I think the people spending time at a wedding focusing more on someone’s hair color than the couple have more of a problem than I do. My hair isn’t a rebellious phase, it’s just my way of expressing myself, and I don’t think that’s any different than wearing a crazy outfit to someone’s wedding.

    So I guess my take is to just try to present the facts logically, and leave it up to the bride and groom. Ultimately, in my personal situation and hopefully everyone’s, they are the one with the most power, if not the most money. When spending time at a loved one’s wedding or looking at old photos, if you’re more focused on the way one person looks, especially if they’re not part of the couple, I think you should readjust your focus. Those photos and memories reflect a certain time in everybody’s lives. Why try to cover it up and pretend it was any different? Leave it up to the bride and groom, and hope they understand. If the rest of the guests can’t, that’s their problem. As long as it’s not making people cry for the wrong reasons, colored hair or an “out-there” outfit aren’t going to hurt anyone.

  16. Here’s my take on this.
    If you are paying for your kids wedding, that makes you the host of the party. Your job as host is to make everyone feel welcome and at ease. Judging someone and making them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome because of their choice of clothing, hair color, accessories, tattoos, piercings, etc, does not fall in line with being a good host and YOU are the one with terrible manners, not the other way around.

    • Related to this:

      Money is power, and if you accept money from your family for your wedding, then you have to accept that they have every right to chime in about wedding planning. Whoever pays for the wedding is acting as a producer, and therefore has a say in how their money is spent. Ideally, their say goes something like this: “Whatever you want, dear.” But with many families — especially more conservative ones — that’s just not gonna happen. That’s why many offbeat couples finance their own weddings.

      Read more: Momzilla and wedding budgeting

      • Seriously, I quote this article to my brides on a regular basis. It’s so sensible.

    • “Your job as host is to make everyone feel welcome and at ease.”

      I want to hit “THIS!” like eleventy!11!!! times!!11!

      • I would like this comment, but it’s already up to eleven and I feel like it should probably stop there.

  17. It’s a shame that the bride had to ask her friend to wear a wig, but what I think can be learned from this article is something that my darling having a mohawk has already taught me: it’s okay sometimes to acquiesce to other peoples requests…

    See, my mother is a babyboomer so a mohawk to her is awful, and she has said exactly that to Clay’s face. She looks at it as though it’s a creature from mars growing out of his skull shouting obscene things at her. We’ve had the fights about it her and I and in the end it just isn’t worth it. So a lot of times when we’re at my parents house he doesn’t bother putting his hair up. It’s not that he isn’t taking a stand for himself or that he’s sacrificing himself by doing those or anything. We just know it’s not worth it.

    When it comes to the wedding, well, we’re lucky enough to be paying for it ourselves but either way the mohawk would be up. I think what is important to remember is to pick and choose your battles. If The People Paying are going to be rude enough to make the bride make a friend change her hair, it’s probably not time to throw down the gauntlet. Now if the bride asked you to do that and there wasn’t outside pressure, I would throw a gauntlet because if she’s your friend, she should accept you fully. This is all easier said than done of course, but I think the merit of picking and choosing your battles stands…

  18. When my parents had an issue with my bridesmaid’s dress, I told them if they had a problem with it even though I did not, then they would have to pay for a new dress since she couldn’t afford to. Problem solved! I think if they didn’t want you to have the color hair you spent money on, they should pay for whatever “fix” you both agree is appropriate (be it dye job, wig, or hat). I don’t approve of people forcing others into a box, but since they are paying for you to eat and party I think it’s only polite to come to an agreement. (Also, I LOVE blue hair!)

  19. It’s difficult navigating people’s expectations of what a wedding “should” look like. Even though it’s Bride+Groom’s wedding, other people have opinions of what that wedding should look like. And, that’s thrown me through a loop in my own wedding planning. I didn’t know who should get a say, and who I should ignore, especially when MONEY was involved.

    Money is a complication. Sometimes money is a gift, sometimes money is a power trip and everything in between. If I had to deal with this again in the future, I think I would do a better job of clearly defining what money meant to me and find out concretely what it means to the giver. All though, I can imagine those definitions getting changed or lied about. I guess the best I could do would be to tell people what *I* thought the money meant and stuck by it. A clearly thought out and fully expressed boundary could save a lot of trouble.

    I could probably live to be a thousand and still not know how to exactly handle this kind of thing.

    I have learned that people need to feel heard and validated. I try my best to say “Yes, I see your point and here’s how. But, this is how I feel and this is how I expect my idea will turn out. Here are some pictures of how well it worked for someone else”. This doesn’t always work immediately, but it does encourage civil conversation which is FAR less stressful than guessing what someone wants.

    I have also learned that no one wants to hear “Your concern is not a real concern”. That person believes it’s a concern and they totally think their way of thinking is normal! I’d try to say things like “yes, her hair is blue, but I think it wont detract from the beauty of the day.” Some might say this is a wussy way to deal with it, but it’s a good place to start before putting your foot down.

    In the end, after all the screaming and uncomfortable conversations are over, the couple needs to decide who they will listen to or not. They need to decide if money means power or not. It’s tricky. It sucks. It may save a lot of trouble later.

  20. Hugs that you had to be in that uncomfortable situation at the rehearsal :/ How did mingling at the wedding go????

    I personally am of the view…if parents contribute funds towards anything wedding/car/house etc it needs to be made clear what level of input they will have towards decisions. In our case with our wedding and my in laws, we are paying ourselves with no allowances for family to contribute. When MIL offered $$$, we said thank you for the $$$$ but this entails NO INPUT at all, if you cannot handle this we will not accept the $$$.

    • Mingling was fun– about halfway through the reception I said “fuck it” and ditched the wig…and just like always, I got a ton of complements on my hair :).

  21. This is actually something I’ve been wondering about myself.

    I have a sister. I love her dearly. However, I do not love her wardrobe. Everything she wears is EXTREMELY low-cut. Factor in sizeable bazoongas in a heavy-duty push-up bra, crazy eyelash extensions, sky-high stilettos, orange tan, garish makeup…you get the idea.

    I feel horrible even talking about this. My sister is my best friend. She’s a brilliant woman. But her clothes are inappropriate. Like…Vegas-level inappropriate. She dresses like a cocktail waitress at a very seedy cocktail bar. My guy’s parents are conservative Jews and would definitely not be down for that look. And frankly, I’M not down for it either. I don’t want my wedding photos to be full of my baby sister’s T&A.

    How do I broach the subject without hurting her feelings? She’s terribly insecure and our relationship has been rocky in the past. I wish I could just suck it up, but I can’t. :-/

    • Are you making her a bridesmaid? That’s a pretty simple way of getting her into a tasteful dress. You could also pay for a hairdresser and makeup artist. Let her keep the Snooki tan and eyelash extensions–even the shoes, if she wants–as a compromise.

    • I wanted to drop in suggest that if she’s going to be in your wedding party you can just pick a dress style that you find appropriate and have her and everybody else in the party buy that too. If she complains just explain to her that you want to respect your man’s families conservative beliefs, but maybe allow her to add some of her “personal flair” to it with shoes and make-up: that way she still feels comfortable but because of her dress nothing inappropriate will fall out.

      If she isn’t going to be in the wedding party, maybe just try something like “hey sis, I know you want to look your best and that dress is a little too casual for the wedding, maybe you should try something else?”

      Hope this helpful!

    • I would say here that you have a rock-solid case for setting clear fashion rules for EVERYONE, including your sister, if part of the wedding coterie will be religious conservatives. Just put something to that tune on the wedding website and explain to the whole family, again not singling out your sister, that they especially have to set a good example.

      • Thank you for making this point. While this is an “offbeat” site, and I guess we all have slightly different ideas of what constitutes “offbeat,” it is so important to realize that just as we expect people to to honor our feelings/appearance/personality, we need to extend that appreciation to others. Even if their idea about those things is different. People who wear certain styles of dress (even if it navy blue and covers most of their bodies), who cover their heads because they are men or because they are women, still need to be respected for that. They aren’t necessarily boring, tied down by tradition, or otherwise not-cool-enough-for-us.

    • If she isn’t in your wedding party and doesn’t get the hint – you could just happen to give her a nice shawl that day that just happens to be big enough to cover up her top half.

  22. I absolutely understand what the author was going through! I am a wedding planner and wedding florist; when I started my businesses I had bright red hair with hot pink streaks through it. While all the Bride’s I booked loved it and thought it was wonderful that I could feel comfortable expressing myself, being a little alternative, and making it very easy to spot me the day of the wedding, the wedding venues/vendors were not so accepting. I literally had people watching me as if I was going to swipe something, it was upsetting to say the least. Especially being based in San Diego, known for being a little more relaxed and alternative. So to keep going in the industry I had to die my hair a more “acceptable” color and conform to the “professional” image these wedding venues seemed so despatate to uphold. Needless to say, 7 years later I had enough and just this week sneaked some hot pink peek-a-boos back into my hair, and EVERYONE has complimented me on it! I know it’s a tricky situation, and of course not everyone is going to approve but to sacarafice your expression just to please everyone never feels good. I think I would have recommended getting a wig for the day, no sense ruining your hair permantly, as that’s a great way to please (almost) everyone and kind of fun for the author to change up her hair style. It is always a fine line when other people are paying for your wedding, they do get a say, but ultimately its YOUR wedding and if you want your close friend to rock her blue hair in all your photos I think stick to your guns and say “it is what it is”…. Though that could be this SoCal girl talking 😉

    • Right?!?!
      I actually work as a wedding planner part time, and I’ve had people complain about my hair (mostly parents, never brides). My response is always this:
      “Okay, pretend I have brown hair, I’m wearing this dress, and it’s an emergency where you need to find me, pronto. Describe me to the person next to you in 3 seconds. Go”.
      “Um, well, she’s like this tall, brown hair, black dress, she’s got like…”
      “Okay, now describe me like I am right now”.
      “Blue hair”.
      “Well, that was more efficient, wasn’t it?”

      • THIS.

        At many of the weddings I coordinate, all anyone has to do is say, “Where’s the pink-hair?” and BOOM, I’m found.

    • I am a wedding planner too and had pink hair for 20 years (from 16 to 36). I went back to my natural black recently but only because I got sick of the constant dying, bathroom bleaching and pink ears and hands. However, not once have I had a negative comment from a client or client´s relative or guest. The worst I have been called is “Rita Hayworth in pink” and I consider that a compliment. I would never, never, never have dyed my hair or worn a wig, not for business and certainly not for friends. I don´t think the grown up or right thing is to cover up whatever is “offending” and bow to other people´s insecurities and prejudices. As long as you smell good, are washed and fully clothed and don´t annoy other people nobody -NOBODY – has the right to interfere with your personal style choices. At my own wedding I´d much prefer weirdly outfitted guests to the sharpely suited and clean shaven ones who have to be removed by 10pm for being completely pissed nuisances.

  23. I was really hesitant to accept money from my parents for this reason. I didn’t want my parents feeling like they had the right to call the shots (after all, they’ve already had their wedding). So what I decided was that my parents could pay for a part of the wedding. I gave them my budget for each major item: venue, catering, alcohol, etc and let them choose. They could have as much say over that item as they wanted. It let them contribute and have their power trip when they wanted it, but it clearly set the boundaries over what they had a say over. We did the same for my in-laws. It saved us many headaches, I’m sure.

    • This is a really great idea. It lets them ‘own’ a certain aspect of the wedding without getting in the way of the stuff you really care about!

    • Exactly what I’m doing for my wedding. The parents are paying for the food and rentals, since I don’t really care about those, and they can have all the Uh-pinions they want about it. 🙂

  24. A friend of mine just asked me the other day if her pink hair was going to distract at the wedding. I told her I don’t care if her hair was 80’s sky high and barney purple, I want her there to support me and I’m stoked she’s coming.

  25. I’m pretty sure that Miss Manners would say that a host does not properly tell a guest what to wear or how to groom. And paying for the wedding makes them the hosts. I’m surprised they didn’t show more hospitality.

    Granted nowadays bridesmaids do often get dressed by the bride and are okay with doing so. But I do draw exception at the idea that the wedding party are loaning out their bodies to the bridal couple or their families. The one time I was the bridesmaid, I never felt that I was an ornament, who just happend to be a human. I always felt like a person first, and I really appreciated it.

    • Miss Manners may have changed her stance more recently, but she has a whole bit about how to tell guests what to wear…

  26. I would NEVER change any part of my appearance in this circumstance. They either take me for who I am, or I don’t attend at all. My appearance is part of my identity, and I will not change either of them for anyone else’s delicate sensibilities. The end.

  27. It’s interesting what Ariel said about people who pay being the “producers” of the wedding. I think that’s true insofar as the bride and groom’s choices are concerned.

    But the “wedding producer” hasn’t paid for the guests like a real producer would pay for extras. They didn’t pay for the special clothes and makeup the guests wore or for the guests’ transportation and lodging costs or for the guests’ time.

    What’s fascinating to me is that in this situation the People Who Object are using their position as “financial underwriter” to negotiate what is actually a social contract. They didn’t offer you any money to change your hair color and they didn’t buy you a wig. They are in fact asking a favor of you but they’ve managed to couch it as an obligation.

    It’s hard to imagine any other situation where this kind of logic would work.

    • “They are in fact asking a favor of you but they’ve managed to couch it as an obligation.”


    • Plus at the rehearsal, everything is paid for by then usually… so what are they going to do again?

  28. Less of a big deal, but I’m going to be in a wedding party next summer and the bride has asked me to shave my legs. Even though it will be itchy growing them back, it’s just hair.

    But if she’d asked me to remove my facial piercing or wax my eyebrows or something, that would be another issue.

    • I’m getting married this year and despite the fact that the wedding party is wearing short, sleeveless dresses, I will not be asking my friend to shave her legs or armpits. I personally don’t love it, but she has never shaved and I knew that when I asked her to be in the wedding. I didn’t choose my wedding party to stand up beside me because they are the friends I have that look most like supermodels. I chose them because I want them up there supporting me, regardless of what they look like.

      I don’t think the bride/family has the right to tell the wedding party to change who they are. If there is something you don’t like (tattoos, hair, etc.) you need to decide if that things is important enough to you that you don’t include them in the wedding party. (Though, if it is, I question whether they are important enough to you to stand by your side anyway!)

      • I totally get where your coming from. If/when I get married, I certainly won’t care whether anyone has body hair (or tattoos or anything) but it was important to my sister, so it’s a tiny thing that I can do to put her at ease on the big day. My role as maid of dishonor is to lessen her stress, and not add to it. If she had wanted to dye my hair a different color or have me take out piercings or something- that would be more drastic and I would have talked to her about it. (and probably refused to do it.)

        I definitely fall on the more offbeat side of my family, but I just wanted to add to this whole conversation that sometimes “offbeat” people can make mainstream fashion choices for loving and thoughtful reasons, not just “giving in” to please super traditional families. I don’t feel like I’m selling out- the hair will grow back.

    • I voluntarily shaved my ankles for a friend’s wedding once. She didn’t ask but I thought she might so I went ahead and just did it. It was a long dress so I figured I only needed to shave a little way up and if she complained that I hadn’t shaved the whole way I’d point out that I’d shaved all the parts that would be visible. Armpits though, I won’t do that for anyone – whenever I shave my armpits I get a rash that means I can’t wear deodorant for 3 days. I generally figure folks would rather have me hairy than stinky 🙂

  29. Okay, first off, I don’t want to violate any commenting policies, so let me say straight off that you had every right to respond as you did, and clearly the choice you made was the right one for you in that situation.

    That said, it is not the choice I would have made.

    How were you informed of the unacceptability of your hair color? I’m guessing through the bride. That makes this, first and foremost, her faux pas. She committed a serious breach of etiquette – a host never, ever dictates the choice of a guest. That’s Emily Post 101 stuff.

    Now, perhaps the argument could be that you weren’t precisely a guest – you were a participant in the ceremony, more akin to a bridesmaid. Even in that circumstance, however, aesthetic requirements for wedding participants should be made clear when the party is asked to be part of the ceremony or very shortly thereafter, to allow the guest time to decide whether being part of the ceremony is the right choice for them. ‘At the rehearsal dinner’ doesn’t cut the mustard.

    But of course, we all know that the real complicating factor were the people paying for the wedding. It was, I’m assuming, one or both of the sets of parents. And here is where the bride and groom didn’t just commit a faux pas, they passed up a valuable opportunity to make a positive choice for their future married life.

    Usually, an engagement period is thought of as a staging post for a wedding – a liminal state from which to pick centerpieces and videographers. It’s more than that. An engagement is also an important transition period to teach the entire family – birth family, in-law family, the brand new family you and your fiance are creating – how you’re going to relate to each other in the future. It’s a time to help your parents recognize you as an adult in a way some of them never do until you marry. It’s a way to integrate the voice of a new family member into the dynamic you’ve already grown up in. And it’s a time to gently establish boundaries with your parents – to show them that their wisdom, concern, and money are now treasured and appreciated gifts which will become part, but not all, of you and your future spouse’s decision-making process.

    Needless to say, if the parents of your friends are still committing gross etiquette violations like this so late in the engagement process – and if your friend is still meekly abetting them – then there were messages that were not well communicated about how much of a voice they will still exert in your friend’s married life.

    Here is the letter, email, statement, whatever that I would have given to all of them at once, had I been in your shoes. It’s not un-problematic, etiquette-wise, I realize; the proper response, per Judith Miller, would probably be to ignore such an outrageous request, show up anyway, and have a ready quip, or not show up at all. But what can I say, I’m a confrontational kind of girl. And sometimes twisting a knife is fun. Here goes.

    Dear (Names of everyone),

    I just wanted to thank you so much for inviting me to be part of (blank)’s special day. It meant so much to me to participate in the happiness they will share, and I am grateful for how welcome everyone made me feel.

    It has come to my attention that there are some stylistic expectations for participants in the wedding party of which I was not aware. The last thing I would wish is to detract from the enjoyment everyone will feel during the wedding ceremony.

    However, I do not plan to dye, cover, or alter the color of my hair between now and the wedding. Please let me know if you would prefer that I step down from my ceremony participation and attend solely as a guest.

    Thank you very much for your consideration, and please don’t hesitate to call me if you have any questions.

    Many thanks,

    My name

  30. I’d say that even if you are paying for the wedding, you don’t entirely “own the rights” to the day – your guests are people and you do not own the rights to their bodies on that day or any day. You can set a dress code – we as a society have decided that is reasonable and acceptable, and clothing can be easily changed so it is not an undue burden – but you can’t dictate appearance in any other regard: facial hair, hair color, hair style. Although changeable, they fall under the same category, in my opinion, as things you can’t: height, weight, skin and eye color. Hair isn’t something you can change drastically daily, so it is not OK to ask someone to change it.

  31. I found this really interesting to read about. I’m in the process of planning my wedding and this post brought up a point I hadn’t considered. I have my natural hair color, but my sister, who is going to be my bridesmaid, doesn’t. In fact, one of the reasons I’m making her dress the color I am (turquoise) is so that she can dye her hair to match, cuz she looks awesome with turquoise hair. My parents are paying for most, but not all, of the wedding, and they love her and her crazy ever-changing hair as much as I do. But my fiance’s family is somewhat more traditional than mine, and have never met her. This is my wedding, and my sister, crazy hair and tattoos and all, is gonna be a part of it. But maybe it would be prudent to give his family a heads up, so they know it’s coming.

    • I’d actually reconsider — if they have a problem you might get them pushing for a change, or develop a bad assumption about your sister, whereas if they show up and she’s there… they can’t hate you, it’s not YOUR hair, and she’ll already be there, lovely and smiling and being polite and sweet (I’m assuming your sister is awesome) and they won’t be able to resist liking her anyway!

  32. I don’t know yet what my mom thinks about my plan to wear victory rolls and a tiara on my wedding day, but she has already expressed the idea of me wearing a corset to be completely insane. As such, she refuses to buy me one, which really isn’t a problem for me considering that I have bought and will continue to buy things for my bridal outfit with my own money. I have decided to compromise with my parents by having them pay for things they are willing to pay for. Even so, I may chip in when we are paying for something that is very expensive but worth every penny.

  33. I think it would be cool if you were the ‘something blue’. I guess I find it odd that it wasn’t until the rehearsal dinner you were made to feel uncomfortable about your hair.

  34. This actually happened to me – but as I was a bridesmaid, I went through with the back-to-brown dye job. My friend (the bride) and her guy didn’t care what colour my hair was, but unfortunately my parents (and to a lesser extent, hers) were pretty much horrified by the idea of me turning up to her big day with my normally-pink hair. To the extent that my dad kept pre-emptively apologising to her family and explaining that I WOULD have it ‘normal’ by the time the wedding happened. So I admitted defeat and had it dyed brown, which I didn’t like, but I figured it’s their day, and I don’t want my head to be the cause of anyone’s stress. I did however pay to have it dyed back to pink days later, which not only cost me a lot of money but means I risked baldness with all that bleaching. I like to think that if/when I get married myself I’ll be bright pink though (or whatever colour I choose to be at the time). 🙂

  35. This kind of reminds me of the time I was a bridesmaid in my mom’s wedding. She hates that I wear glasses. She thinks that I’m exaggerating about how often I need to wear glasses because I like the look. I do like the look (nerd chic FTW!), but I also need the glasses.

    She told me in no uncertain terms that I was NOT wearing my glasses to her wedding. Glasses don’t look nice in pictures, I was told. Like the bride’s family in the story above, the superficial was more important than the people involved.

    Thus, I couldn’t see any distance for my own mother’s wedding ceremony and the important parts of her reception. I have no idea what she looked like coming down the aisle or dancing with my stepfather because I couldn’t see her.

    I wish I had made waves, now that it’s all over. I regret not being able to see my mom get married. My memories of my mother’s wedding consist of the Stay-Puft marshmallow man marrying a giant upside-down Pocky stick.

    But her pictures are beautiful, so that’s what matters, I guess.

    • A good photographer can make glasses look great in pictures! Sometimes you just need to ask a person to turn or tilt their head a tiny bit to avoid an ugly glare. It’s not THAT hard! And there’s lots of great examples here on OBB of brides with glasses that look awesome. (yeah, I know, in your case it’s over and done, but I’m leaving the comment for other readers’ consideration).

  36. I was actually in a similar position. A fairly close friend asked me to be her bridesmaid, I was honoured and agreed.

    Then came the issue of my hair. I have had pretty awesomly bright red hair for the past 15 years, and for entirety of our friendship. The only other colour hair I’ve ever had while knowing her was when I died it bright pink and blue for charity.

    Apparently though, after asking me she realized my hair would clash with the bridesmaid dresses she was thinking of going with, and I might overshadow her in the photos. So I was asked to dye my hair. I suggested a more naturel red, I was advised that actually she’d really rather prefer a dark brown.

    I agreed at the time, and spent a lot of money on brown hair dye (it took four lots to get it even remotely brown), a good couple of weeks feeling like a completely different person (and not in a good way), and then a lot of money on getting the brown out.

    The whole thing made me feel like actually it wasn’t really me she wanted, it was a more toned down less real vesion of me. That I was just to fill a role, and help her organize the wedding (I’m a project manager by trade so quite good at organizing stuff and ended up taking on a lot of the planning).

    We’ve drifted apart since her wedding, and now I’m starting to plan mine I know I won’t be asking her to be one of my bridesmaids.

    Incidentally one of my BMs has
    brown and pink dreads, she asked if I’d make her cover them, I wouldn’t dream of it, there part of what make her ‘her’ and she’s the person I want standing up with me.

    • I think ” I might overshadow her” is the key sentence here…
      I have seen a lot of brides over the years and I always moan how 90% are wearing almost identikit dresses and hairstyles. So many women don´t know what they really like and even if they did, they wouldn´t dare to veer off the beaten path. So how dare you?

  37. I applaude you for being the more mature person, choosing not to stress out your friend and just taking a very easy route and going wigged.

    I don’t know your friend, though, but if I was the bride (while I wouldn’t want to be stressing about it so close to the wedding day) I would be sad, when reviewing my wedeing pictures, not to see your blue hair. If you’ve had it for a long time, I probably associate it with who you are, and it’d be weird for it to be missing. But again, if I was this particular bride, I might just have to suck it up since I didn’t pay for stuff.

    Luckily (eh, wait, maybe not so lucky..) I get to pay for my whole wedding by myself, sooooo, blue hair for anyone that wants it!

  38. Well, I would do only the MOST OBVIOUS THING EVER; dispose of the offending tresses by shaving my head.

    (…There’ve been far too many levelheaded responses, and I felt the need to shake things up… 🙂

    • That was actually how the whole “blue hair” started– I shaved my head, and then when it grew back, I decided it needed to be a little more interesting.

  39. From one funky colored hair girl to another, suuuuucks. But I think you handled it really well. The bride has enough stress on her wedding day that she doesn’t need and angry mom and her bridesmaids not getting along just cause of hair color.

    I got lucky with the two weddings I have been in that the brides were all for me coloring my hair to match their colors. My blue and green was a big hit. I did however ask to make sure my hair color would be welcome, I really am anti causing any sort of stress with anyone on weddings and they both were even surprised I asked.

    And for my wedding in a month I’m going purple! Of course my parental unit of the female sort is less than pleased, but hey! I have let her say no to most of my awesome ideas for my wedding but when it comes to how I look I will not fold. Like you said, hair color is a way to express my individuality.

    So I applaud for how you handled it! And I sympathize with the hair color stress.

  40. When my best friend got married in December of 2010 I had purple hair, so I asked her about a month before the wedding if it would cause any family drama for my hair to be purple at the ceremony, only to find out that the third musketeer to our trio had recently dyed hers salmon pink and that ‘Tana thought we would look marvelous with our colored hair setting off our black bridesmaid dresses.
    The two of us can be seen with another friend here:

  41. I think there’s a major difference between changing your hair colour (or anything else) because your friend gives you trouble about it and changing your hair colour because your friend’s parents are giving HER trouble about it. The former bothers me, for the reasons other people have said – because it feels like your friend’s not accepting you as you are or likes you but only if you do X. In the latter situation, however…are your friend’s parents out of line? Probably. But at the same time, the wedding is (as so many have said!) about the couple, not the guests. So make it easier on the couple, be the bigger person, and give your friends the gift of not causing drama at their wedding (even though you are the “victim”, so to speak, and not the person creating the problem). Know what I mean?

  42. I asked my friend if she wanted me to tone down my bright blue hair before her wedding in her really conservative church, she told me no way. Honestly her relatives all seemed to absolutely love my hair and since I was her coordinator as my gift to her it made me really easy to find. Plus blue was one of her wedding colors anyway

  43. My parents and in laws are paying for our whole wedding but they have NO say in what we do/who we invite. they understand and are okay with that.

    That being said, I can see how some people might be startled by bright hair, piercings, tatts, whatever…and I’d never want to detract from the bride and groom. that being said, when i had pink hair in high school I wouldn’t dye it a ‘normal’ colour just becuase it offended someone.

    I think people really have to pick their battles! Now if something I wore offended somone at a wedding (like a Granny, or the parents) or would cause weird looks I’d totally change it to please my friends the Bride and Groom.

  44. i totally see why this is frustrating. on the other hand i have one heavily tattooed bridesmaid and one who is lightly tattooed and always has different coloured hair. they both asked me if i would prefer if they cover their tattoos or change their hair colour for my wedding as i am way more “mainstream” looking than they are. of course i said no and that i love them for who they are, purple hair and all, but i think it was very considerate of both of them to offer and save me having to have an awkward conversation if i preferred that they colour their hair or cover up tattoos.

  45. Sads 🙁 I think when the couple looks back on their wedding, they’re not going to remember the color of your hair, but the fact that you were there, supporting and loving them on their Big Day. Sadly, many people forget that this is why we invite people to our weddings in the first place.

  46. One of my besties that I’ve asked to be part of our day is nearly bald. I think its stunning on her.
    She actually had a discussion with me about the possibility of her wearing a wig, my response “Why? I love your head!”
    She loves her buzzed look, she’s stunning in the look, why would I have her change.
    But thats my personal opinion. I have seen a lot of brides have their bridesmaids do everything from grow/dye/cut their hair, cover tattoos, or lose weight. Although I refuse to do that… its a reality for some people. They want a certain look. If I were asked to be in a wedding where I was asked to change something that I felt was me, I would have a frank discussion with the bride… But I’m an old lady now, and I don’t mind bluntly saying “if what you want is a certain look, you can hire a model…If what you want is me, why do you want me to change?”
    Another issue stated is the “who’s paying has final say” I just can’t agree with that. Again, thats just my opinion. If a parent is offering to pay, my view is that its a gift… so why the strings? I don’t see the point in forcing someone into your view of what a wedding is… usually, just from experience, that leads to some deep seated resentment and regret. I just don’t find that fair. One can make suggestions, but if its not YOUR day…. just back away…

  47. Wow. All I can say is, you’re a wonderful, wonderful friend. I know I’d be lucky to have a friend like you! So, having said that, I must say that I’d never ask/imply such a thing to such a good friend. As the bride, I would have been extremely insulted and disgusted in my parent’s lack of faith in my judgement and seriously question why they can’t trust their grown daughter to choose friends! This isn’t a teenage issue. These are all grown adults! It’s quite sad (i mean disheartening) that the funding issue was lorded over the bride in such a petty way! It seems like the wedding was a way to impress other family or parent’s friends. I hope that this bride won’t look back with regret about having such a wedding, which should really be a celebration of the union of two people in love, not a time to judge people based on their appearance, perceived socioeconomic status, or criminal record status apparently! All I can imagine is a stereotypical motherzilla of the bride that tries to get everything just right, which results in exactly NO one cutting loose and having a good time! This bride’s family should be made aware of your international success, and the fact that you’ve composed for them a beautiful, original piece that will be theirs alone. Hopefully that would stick it in their craw! I think if I were the bride, at this point I’d be saying “screw your money. We’ll be married at city hall on Friday, followed by drinks at a local pub with a great band. We’re celebrating our love. If you want to come, please do” life is too short to spend it pleasing other people for no good reason, and if blue hair , of all things, is what causes this family’s noses to get outta joint, something tells me it’s gonna be a boring weddi g anyway. Kudos to you for being the bigger person.

  48. You never know when ‘requests’ like this will end.

    I was a bridesmaid, and at some point during the engagement period of my friend I dyed my hair black. yes, egad, BLACK. So distracting. (not)

    It was kind of black that had a slight blue sheen also which lead people to declare my hair ‘blue’ and requests to dye it back to brown as it would be ‘too distracting’ and apparently black doesn’t go with dark red bridesmaid dresses somehow. I treated this flip out as the ridiculous request it was and refused to re-dye my hair and left it black, because seriously, how could black hair possibly be this huge problem.

  49. Reading the comments made me happy.
    I’m sporting a rather bright pink hair-do at the moment and am the only person in my office with no-natural hair.
    I recently was told by my dance teacher that i needed a natural hair color if i wanted to compete in a dance contest. I dyed it red and felt like i was invisible for the week. My BF commented that the dull red made me less, less spot-able, less vibrant and less me somehow. Glad I’m pink again.
    I think having a friend demand you change a feature of yourself to conform to their ideals is a little rude, I do understand but if your hair is blue (or pink) its part of your identity, asking you to change it is very much like asking you to change who you are.
    The wig idea seams better allowing you to still be you just in disguise, now i need to find a wig maker in south Africa that can help.

  50. I think regardless of who has ZAH POWA here, wearing a wig for a day is a small sacrifice to make to keep your friend’s wedding peaceful. It’s their wedding in the end, and you know they would have to deal with the bemoaning People Paying for the Wedding more than you probably would. Wearing your blue hair for the day wouldn’t make them see how judgmental they are. There is just no winning this battle, so may as well put up the white flag for the day then go on your merry blue haired way.

  51. “Who should get the final call when there is a huge financial disparity between the couple being wed and the people paying?”

    That’s the really intriguing question here.

    • In my eyes, if family offers to pay for something, its a gift. I think there are some limitations they can put.

      Lets say strippers (I don’t know why there would be strippers at a wedding, just roll with it. If the People Paying are opposed to strippers and don’t want their money to go toward it, then they can say no. However, if the couple really wanted strippers that bad, they can use their own money. People Paying can’t say no, because People Paying aren’t paying for the strippers.

      However, in this situation, the People Paying were not paying for the person. They were not paying for her hair, blue or otherwise. I guess you can say they’re paying for her food, so if they wanted to be that douchey they can threaten to not pay for her portions.

      What I’m trying to say here, that (at least in this situation)her hair color had nothing to do with the People Paying, or the bride and groom paying, or anything else, because the *person* was not one to be paid for.

  52. There better have not been any blue haired grannies at that wedding! I am glad you came to a resolution, but my personal belief is that I’d rather you have perfectly coiffed blue hair than a potentially bad wig.

  53. some of my fav answers to folks…is that i drank koolaid…or yea, that response of “whatz wrong with my hair!”… fav comment is definitely…

    “you’re hard to miss!”

  54. At the beginning of last year I was a bridesmaid for my sister in law (maid of honour).I used to have really out-there bright blue hair (and purple, and green, and red, I changed it on a regular basis). I knew that it would make her feel uncomfortable for me to have bright hair, and I knew she would be too polite to ask, so I suggested that I should change my hair for the wedding. I had it bleached the week before the wedding, then as soon as my duty was done I chopped my hair off and dyed it bright blue.

    Unfortunately I then got a job at a non-profit that required me to have normal hair again, but that’s neither here nor there.

  55. My husband and I wanted to pay for our wedding to avoid this kind of situation. We still got a lot of comments like “you must invite X” or “you can’t do that” from more conservative family members, but we would always answer: it’s our wedding, we’re paying for it, we’ll do what we want.
    So I can imagine what it would have been like if we couldn’t answer that. It certainly would have needed some negotiation. All my friends whose parents paid for their weddings had to agree to a lot of stuff they wouldn’t normally had had. So I guess one way to balance it is maybe sitting down with who’s paying, up front, before the preparations begin, and explain which things are really essential for you to feel it’s your wedding, even if it’s not traditional.
    I totally agree with Catie’s decision. A tatoo is complicated, but hair is doable (good going with the wig idea!) and from my point of view one should do what’s possible to not cause any kind of stress on the bride and groom – they’ll be stressed out enough as it is…

  56. That was very big of you to be willing to put on a wig in order to avert any potential issues, but it’s still not fair that who you are and the message you were going to convey with your poetry was diminished in certain people’s eyes due to a superficial detail like hair color. For my wedding, hair color won’t be an issue, but I am preparing for the Battle of the Bridesmaid Dresses with my mom. I love the idea of different hues of purple, and different styles depending on whichever each bridesmaid feels comfortable in. Mom is ‘traditional’ and definitely not a fan of this idea. It just drives me crazy that this is something we’re going to end up arguing about when there are so many more important matters to contend with :/

  57. Last year I was chatting with an acquaintance who was planning a wedding. She mentioned that one of her bridesmaids was being asked to cover up her tattoos for their wedding. I don’t know this particular tattooed girl in question, but I was under the impression she has lots of ink, like half-sleeves or something. The bride’s father is apparently quite religious and traditional and refused to allow someone with so many tattoos “ruin” his daughter’s wedding photos. The bride didn’t seem to care about the tattoos so much as caring about what her father thought – but her attitude in telling the story was very “oh, she is NOT displaying that ink at my wedding.” She listened to her father and explicitly told the friend this was a dealbreaker.

    As a tattooed lady, I was absolutely floored at this. My own ink is nowhere near as heavy as what I think the offending bridesmaid possesses, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. I would be very offended if anyone ever asked me to do something like that. My own wedding party is chock-full of ladies who will have displayed tattoos on their legs, backs and arms – including the bride.

    But the impression I got from this particular bride-to-be was that the bridesmaid actually didn’t really care. Granted I didn’t talk to the gal personally, but the bride told it all so nonchalantly and like it wasn’t a big deal for this bridesmaid with tattoos. The bridesmaid understood that this wasn’t her friend’s request, it was her father’s, and she just figured – fuck it, it’s one day, I’ll get some tattoo makeup. This was not a hill to die on for her.

    My point: I just think there are so many different ways of looking at this kind of situation, and there’s no right one. I guess I just kind of realized, after this girl told me about her tattooed friend, that sometimes this stuff really doesn’t have to be a big deal. I think I’d be really offended if my friend wanted me to cover up my ink for my wedding day, because hey – isn’t being part of someone’s ceremony supposed to be a declaration that you love one another and stupid superficial crap like this shouldn’t matter? But it’s hard to imagine that situation, because I know that none of my friends’ parents would care. Hell, my own mom probably cares more than most of their parents would – but she knows I’m showing my ink on my wedding day and she accepts it. And in fact, at my wedding, we will likely be asking my fiancé’s sister to do a reading, and she happens to have flame-red hair right now.

    If I really did have a friend who I was close with and wanted me to be in her wedding, and her parents (who were paying) flat out refused to let me in unless I covered up my ink, you know what? I’d clench my teeth but I’d probably do it. No matter how much my friend loves me with or without tattoos, that doesn’t mean their parents are going to accept me unconditionally, and some of this stuff is really just not worth the fight in the end, especially if it’s not your own wedding. Pick your battles, right?

  58. I have two cousins who I was very close to. We grew up together, and were close as sisters. (Well, they ARE sisters). Both of them were bridesmaids at my wedding. They both put an extreme amount of pressure on me to cover my tattoos at my own wedding, to wear a sweater over my pretty strapless dress because our great Aunts were horrified by my ink. When the youngest one of them got married, I was not asked to be a bridesmaid because 1) I am 6 feet tall. When I have to buy a formal dress, I have to get a plus size and have it tailored to fit my Amazon ass. Had I been a bridesmaid, they would have had to order dresses from GASP somewhere like David’s Bridal, instead of the fancy designer place downtown that only goes up to a size 10. And 2) I have too many tattoos and it would look just awful in the pictures and ruin the whole wedding.

    So, yeah, too fat and tattooed to be in the wedding. The other one informed me when she was first planning her wedding that I had to promise not to get anymore tattoos because as I was then my half sleeve could be covered by a shawl. I told her that the only reason that I would want to be in her wedding was to support her and help try to make her day better and easier. That I have tattoos and that is part of who I am and not something that I am ashamed of. And that if it was going to be that big a deal, where I was going to have to stress all day about covering myself in order to not ruin her wedding with my damned evil body art, I wasn’t interested in being in her wedding either.

    Honestly, I don’t have a relationship with either of those women anymore because it was reinforced to me over and over that they were judgmental shallow people who did not approve of me or the way I lived my life. Life is too short to be judged by people who are supposed to unconditionally love you.

    That said, if it had been a simple matter of hair color I too would have bought a wig. Supporting your friends and being there for them on their day is important, and you’ll never have to see their rotten parents again.

  59. I had a friend lose a photography job because TPWPFTW couldn’t stand to have a blue haired photog ruin the day. She ended up going black to be able to maintain a “prefessional appearance” Its just sad. Looking through these beautiful unique weddings I am going back to my rainbow theme and screw whoever thinks its “busy” “childish” or just plain “silly”

  60. When I was sixteen I went to a funeral with hair mascara in my hair. I didn’t find out until later that day this was a bad idea. I just wanted to look special to celebrate the life of my stepmother. Instead I embarrassed my family. I was very, very much criticized. Of course I washed it out for later viewings but I thought it was so weird how offended someone could be by someone else’s form of expressing their grief.

  61. I recently found out that I’ve always been excluded from family bridal parties because nobody wanted my hair to “mess up” the photos. Which, while rather hurtful was nice in that I didn’t have to go through all the work of a bridal party… my older sister, however, came up with what I felt was a fair solution. She told me my hair could be whatever color I wanted as long as it matched my dress. Everyone was happy and I got to wear purple and black to a wedding.

  62. I ran into a somewhat similar situation at my own brothers wedding. They weren’t the ones paying for the wedding. It was our mom and the brides parents who were paying. I have a septum ring that my mother HATES and is always trying to get me to push it up or remove it even though I live all the way across the country from her and only see her maybe once a year. At the end of the day I figured what happened at my brothers wedding was up to my brother, not the wallet. So I asked him if he had an issue with it, which he didn’t (it gives him reasons to make fun of me even more) so I left it as it was.

    My mom just had to deal with it seeing as the couple that we were celebrating didn’t even care.

  63. I feel your pain, I really do.

    I have afro textured hair and I was going to be in my aunt’s wedding. I knew her groom did not particularly care for my hair, he had made several underhanded comments about it before. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before, “Looking like a slave” and comparing me to his sister who had long, straight permed hair. Immediately everyone was offering to straighten it, but I didn’t want heat or chemicals on my hair.

    What did I do? I got micro braids. They appear straighter and are more traditional wedding friendly than my actual hair.

    It’s sad that I even had to consider hiding my hair because I really, really like it and I take good care of it. And it’s y’know MY hair, that’s how it grows out of my head. However, it was not my wedding, so I complied. That was not the time to make a statement on the State of Blackness, especially because that’s not why I went natural in the first place. And he wasn’t being mean, he was just responding to what he’s known all his life and had his own vision for what his wedding party should look like based on that. Weddings are already emotionally charged, I didn’t want to add to it by choosing right then to suddenly become militant.

    For my (hypothetical) wedding I plan on rocking whatever hair I have at the moment. Whether it’s a pixie short tiny afro or a big curly one that defies all wedding veils, I’m wearing it no extensions, braids or weaves.

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