I'm a 36-year-old woman who has a 25-year-old friend I love like a little sister. Because of that connection, I felt compelled to ask her to be a bridesmaid in my upcoming wedding. After she agreed, I overheard her mention that she would be getting a large tattoo on her arm. Because she knows how I feel about visible tattoos, I asked her if she'd wait six months until after the wedding. She and the matron of honor are scheduled to wear strapless, knee-length gowns.Abby is mostly sympathetic.
She proceeded with the tattoo and now has half an arm of full-color design. I don't want her to ruin my wedding or the photographs. I would feel guilty if I had to force a jacket or sweater on her or my matron of honor, especially if the day is unseasonably hot. What should I do?
If your "little sister" cared as much about your feelings as you seem to about hers, she would have postponed getting the tattoo as you requested. Too bad she didn't.
However, weddings are more than the procession and the picture album. They are about loving friends and family and the joining of two people who intend to build a life together. If you're worried about the pictures, pose "Sis" so her "canvas" can't be seen by the camera.
Lulu: I don't understand how a bridesmaid having a tattoo would ruin the wedding pictures. Wedding pictures are a record of who was there, right? She was there, and she has a tattoo.
Ashley: I was at a wedding recently where several bridesmaids had large green tattoos which did not go well with the purple strapless dresses. It was more a color coordination issue, not a tattoo-specific issue.
Lulu: There will always be color coordination issues. What if one of the bridesmaids has the wrong color hair? Or an unsightly rash? Or their body type is wrong for the dress? You can't dictate that people themselves must go perfectly with the wedding décor. I know the tattoo is optional, but I reject the idea that guests, even wedding party members, have a responsibility to make all their personal appearance choices revolve around the wedding for six months or more. Having a wedding is optional, too. It's a major, life-changing, deeply personal option, but so is getting a tattoo. I don't see why one takes precedence over the other.
Ashley: I mean, I probably wouldn't have gotten the tattoo. If you're close enough to someone that they want you to be in their wedding, presumably you'd do them other favors as well, such as waiting a few months to get a tattoo, even if you think it's an irrational request.
Lulu: That's true. Friends honor friends' irrational requests within reason, but you should also not get bent out of shape about perfect wedding pictures. If the bridesmaid loves the friend, she should do her a favor, but if the friend loves the bridesmaid, she should accept her as she is--which is now a person with a tattoo.
Ashley: That said, I can see several circumstances where the tattoo itself is the problem. If it's a swastika, for example.
Ashley: Especially in a non-coordinating color. Nothing worse than a non-coordinating swastika.
Lulu: How could you get a red swastika when you know my wedding colors are maroon?
Ashley: All of them?
Lulu: Yes. Maroon and pale maroon.
It turns out that after all that discussion, we basically agree with Abby. Huh.