Thoughts on being a hairy bride

Guest post by danikapanika

hair on wedding day 1

We already broached the question of “should I shave my armpits of my wedding day,” but let's hear about it first hand from a bride who chose not to shave on her wedding day.

On my non-commitment ceremony days I don't shave, but for the most part I also don't cover up the fact that I don't shave. I will happily rock a cute little sun dress accessorized with leg and arm pit hair. Not thinking of leg hair and cute dresses as an either/or choice is one little twist on gender that makes me happy. What can I say, I enjoy contradictions (and I also really hate shaving).

Then people started to ask (and I was wondering this too), if I was going to shave for the big day. “No!” — “Yes!” would race through my mind in quick succession followed by “gharrrr I don't know!” Because hairy brides are so infrequent, my hair suddenly became a political statement. Should I shave so that I wouldn't offend anyone, or should I say “I do,” leg hair and all, because it was more authentically me?

I finally realized that my leg hair was getting caught in the same tug-o-war I think many of us wedding/commitment ceremony planners experience between our own desires and the social expectations of our community. What do we do when our authentic selves takes a sharp left turn from whatever the current “normal” is?

This question occupied the same part of my brain that was chewing on questions about why Adam and I weren't actually getting married. Was my insistence on a commitment ceremony (rather than a legal marriage) just an attention-seeking-political-stunt designed to make everyone uncomfortable (there were a few grumbles in this direction), or was I doing what I knew would make me happiest?

hair on wedding day 2 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)In the end I decided they both had the same answer:

I would do what I wanted, I just wouldn't make it a big deal. If I was calm, everyone else took the cue that just because something was a little different, it didn't mean it was up for discussion.

So when the photos began and we all jumped together, I raised my arms high and let my arm pit hair play in the breeze. It was a perfect day.

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Comments on Thoughts on being a hairy bride

  1. Thanks for your perspective. “If I was calm, everyone else took the cue that just because something was a little different, it didn’t mean it was up for discussion.” What a great calm and rational way to handle this (and, I’m sure, many other hairy situations). I do want to know more about this mitten proposal, though!

    • The mittens were one of my better ideas. My partner is comes by romance more naturally than I do, so I always have to plan carefully. I wanted the proposal to be as romantic as possible. I actually measured his finger for his ring without him realizing by telling him I needed it to make a pair of mittens for him. I organized a weekend get away and suggested we go for a hike up one of the surrounding mountains. When we got to the top I told him I had an early Christmas present for him (it was October). He took unwrapped the mittens and when he put it on he realized there was a ring tied inside. With recognition dawning on his face he turned to me and I asked him if he would love me forever. And he said yes! Then we went back down the mountain, called our friends and family to tell them and got happily drunk. It was wonderful. Two months later he surprised me with a counter proposal. He gave me a jar of buttons, knowing I would want to pour them out to look at them. As I did I saw a red velvet box! So of course I said yes when he asked me if I would love him forever.
      At our commitment ceremony our favours were little red crochet hearts made out of the same yarn as the mittens, with one of the buttons sewn to the middle. It was perfect.

      • Aw! How lovely! I adore the idea of counter-proposals. Your’s is so perfect too because it is so personal. And what a clever way to get his ring size!

  2. I’m also a non-shaver and I wanted to thank you for this awesome post! I’m always torn about whether or not I should shave for more formal events and I try to eventually remind myself that it doesn’t actually matter!

    I can shave and be cool with my “conforming to hair-norms” or I can not shave and be cool with people maybe staring at my pits! And I’ll still be me and proud and happy.

    As they say in Pun-sylvania: Hair today, gone tomorrow.

  3. i love it!!! i plan on not shaving. but i am blonde… so i am not quite as brave. good for her!

  4. in the end…as long as you and your beloved are content in any decision, that’s really all that matters..

  5. Before my wedding (August 2010), I had shaved my legs exactly once in almost ten years- and that was for my sister’s wedding, and she begged me, so I compromised on that. But about a week before my wedding, my mom asked me if I was shaving for the big day. I responded that if I shaved my legs for the wedding, my SO wouldn’t know who he was marrying. She had to cede the point.

  6. Woohoo! I didn’t shave for a number of years. I’ve since started because my wife prefers it… but I still feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I see other women not shaving. Power to you!

  7. i’m totes not shaving for my hitchin, cuz – why would i? it’s been ten years, and plus – shaving makes me stabby. you look gorgeous, by the way.

    • I think the phrase “shaving makes me stabby” just works on so many levels. I love that. 🙂

    • Shaving makes my legs look nice for one day, then I break out in hives from ingrown hair, then re-shaving cuts up the little nubs … so I end up with pimply legs with bloody spots, I do not find that prettier than the alternative. (Epilating/Waxing makes the pimples REALLY bad, I mean EVERY hair grows inwards and needs to be scratched out…) At this point I do still use an electrical razor to trim them to about 1mm in length if I know my legs’ll be seen,but I’ve also gone out without doing so.

  8. i shaved on my i’m-the-chick-in-the-white-dress day coz that’s who i am and that’s what i do… so why should you shave if that’s not who you are and that’s not what you do?? i’ve noted that people who are true to themselves tend to be friggin awesome, and everybody wants to be awesome on their special day!

    • I also LOVE those shoes!! Where did you get them?! I’ve been searching for something like them.

      And thanks for sharing your awesome choice to stick to your guns. 🙂

        • I’ve been anxiously checking in on the comments in the hopes somebody could identify them. I’ve been kind of obsessing about those shoes…

  9. Fight the power. 🙂 I love that you stuck to your guns. I am usually hairy than my FH, who shaved his entire body every day when I met him. (I convinced it was not necessary /every/ day, mostly because razors are expensive haha.)

  10. I asked this question to the tribe and I am so glad that there is a post for the blog now! As a fellow hairy persyn, I know that there will be some stares when people who follow hair norms see my pits and legs. I am so glad to see others struggling with this and deciding to stay true to their non-shaving policies! You look absolutely beautiful.

  11. Hurrah! I had a dilemma a few weeks ago, going to a friend’s wedding; I shave my legs but not my armpits, for aesthetic reasons (I looove hairy armpits) and also cuz I get bitching razorburn. But I also tend to dress up very glamorous old-Hollywood, and I was scared people would be offended. I’d decided not to shave, and the night before I chickened out and did it and immediately wished I hadn’t. 🙁 So you are the best!

    • UGH same here! I hardly ever shave my underarms because it is so painful for about a week and a half afterwards and the ingrown hair is out of this world painful and widespread! I shaved under my arms for my wedding and the itching and pain were NOT worth it.

  12. I haven’t shaved in… um… a long time. And my family still asks me every summer when I’m going to shave my legs! But it would be so unlike me to shave just because it’s my wedding- I mean, it’s my wedding, right? Why suddenly conform on the day that’s supposed to be all about you?

  13. I gotta agree with everyone else here – GO YOU. Why shave on your wedding day if it’s not what you do everyday? [Note: I would say, ‘why shave at all?’ but I realize that some people want to. And they should if they want to. But only if THEY want to, not because someone else says so.]

    Me? I haven’t shaved anything in years and I mean double-digit years. I have no intention of doing it, ever. My younger sister finds this a personal affront for some reason (????) and does everything she can to shame me and convince me that it’s awful and ugly. To which I reply that if she hates hair so much, she can shave her own. Love me, love my body. All of it.

    People only freak because they aren’t used to seeing it. Well then, let’s get them used to it! Cultural beauty norms are only norms because we make them so. I will make my own norm, thankyouverymuch.

    (by the way, I’m a redhead, so having bright red armpit hair makes quite a statement.)

    • Yeah, I’m not exactly one to find my leg hair pretty (though I do sometimes like the way it feels), but I don’t get people who find it DISGUSTING!!!!


  14. Kudos to all who can do it and feel so comfortable in their bodies, for I know I can’t do that.

  15. I defs won’t be shaving! I shaved my legs and pits for my sister’s wedding last summer, not because she asked, but because I thought it would be a fun experiment. I also plucked my eyebrows, straightened my hair and painted my toenails to match the silver stilettos my sister picked out (and believe me, those were the most painful part of the process!). It was fun, just to get some perspective on how the other half lives (the other half of girls, that is), but I won’t be repeating it at my wedding next summer.

  16. Thanks all for the lovely comments! I just wanted to let people know that the shoes were from mohop ( they are super cool because you can use whatever type of ribbon you want. The dress is probably familiar to many and was made by the amazing Chrissy Wai-Ching ( I can’t recommend these fashion artists highly enough.

  17. Well done Danikapanika. You looked beautiful on the day and it was lovely that you had the courage to go through with it. Women like you are symbils of power, beauty and femininity and should be proud of themselves. I’d love a lady friend like you!

  18. My mom has the most beautiful wedding pics and she did not shave. She never ever had! And my dad loves her, her family loves her. It does not change who she is…. I do shave and am equally loved (I hope so 🙂 ) my wedding rocked shaved and I am happy. As happy as my mother is!!! So, what I am trying to say: to each it’s own! We all deserve respect and love. Hairy or not! Who judges you by this is a very shallow person! So let’s rock our hair shaved or not!!!! Majority shaves and that makes the people who decide not to lil bit of heroes (cause we live in judgemental world)!thank you for writing this!

  19. Thank you so much for this! I’ll be wearing the corset wedding dress that I and my mother created for me, and it is short and 100% sleeveless. I haven’t shaved regularly in years, and no one has really fought me on it yet but I was hoping to go unshaved on our wedding day as well. I started to doubt myself, thinking about everyone who may be in attendance that DOESN’T know I’m a dirty hippie and their possible reactions… I came to offbeat for reassurance in my decision and lo, it was here! Thank you thank you ladies!

  20. I’m wearing a long dress and then pants on my wedding day, but my rehearsal dress is very short. I’m a little nervous about how my fiancee’s family will feel because even though I don’t shave often (just for work events since I do networking sales), they don’t see me in short skirts much. I’m sure it’ll be the talk of the event, but I guess they all know I’m a lesbian, so they’ll assume it’s a political thing.

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