My mom doesn’t think I’m going to look “bridal” enough

I had my hair and make-up trial this past weekend. It was really fun. I’m not super “into” most of the wedding stuff, but I am SUPER INTO making myself look fucking amazing.

“Basically,” I told my make-up artist and hair stylist, “I want my face to look like I just stepped out of Rivendell and I want my hair to look like Jessa Duggar’s.”

The end result was lovely. I don’t want to dox myself, otherwise I’d post the pictures.

Say what you will about her family's ... uh ... values. But her hair game is FLAWLESS.
Say what you will about her family’s … uh … values. But girl’s hair game is FLAWLESS.

The make-up: Long, dreamy artificial lashes, PERFECT skin, bright coral-pink lipstick.

The hair: Long, loose, wavy hippy mermaid hair unadorned except for a clip with three white blossoms.

The look was whimsical and pretty and ME. With my dress (a fairy-tale confection from BHLDN, natch), I’m going to look like I belong in some Duggar-high-fantasy-elf fanfic.

My mom? Hates it.

I told her months ago I wasn’t doing a formal up-do, and she thought I was joking. When I came home from the trial, though, it was clear that there would be no up-do. No tiara. No flower crown. No veil.

For the record, my mother-in-law told me she pictures a “dramatic” updo and *ahem* “jewels,” so I’m just going to let her be surprised on the day of.

My bridesmaids LOVED the look (there’s a REASON I chose them). Meanwhile, the one female relative I showed my look to said, “Well, that’s non-traditional, for sure…”

Later that night, my mom announced,”I think it’ll be fine as long as you wear a lot of jewelry.”

This is awkward because I’ve already decided on some simple blossom-and-tree-branch ear-climbing earrings. From Anthropologie, a store described as “I don’t really GET it…” by 8 out of 10 Midwestern rural moms.

There seems to be a very specific “bridal” formula, at least where I’m from: White dress with full skirt + up-do + some combination of a tiara/wreath/veil + VERY sparkly jewelry + dramatic make-up.

My mom is therefore worried I won’t look “special” enough. She spent the rest of the weekend in panic mode, digging out sparkly broaches, thick coils of pearls, and jangly bracelets from her bursting jewelry box. In an effort to make me look “special,” her plan seems to be throwing every “special” thing she can find at me, in hopes that something (something!) will stick.

As for me, I don’t want to look special. Or bridal. I want to look BEAUTIFUL (as I perceive it). After all, hundreds of photos will be taken of me.

And it seems I’m not alone. I read a lot of bridal blogs and have looked at countless images on wedding photographers’ websites. The trend seems to be veering away from the “official” bridal costume. I’m seeing flattering dresses in cuts other than “ballroom” and in colors other than white. I’m seeing cool headpieces, toned-down veils and lovely pictures of brides wearing nothing at all on their heads. I’m seeing hairstyles beyond “up-do” and “chignon” (which, admittedly, are and always will be absolutely gorgeous). I’m seeing brides in awesome jewelry that I’d still wear outside the “big day.”

In fact, Anthro built an entire business model out of this cultural shift in the form of its bridal line, BHLDN, which is counting on brides running screaming from more traditional bridal salons (and, perhaps, their mothers). It seems to me that brides are moving away from looks that will remind Mom of her own wedding day and toward looks that make them feel GORGEOUS and in line with their own personal taste and fashion sense, which may very well match the “bridal” look.  The point is that there are CHOICES. And I like it.

I’m thinking maybe the autonomous-bride trend hasn’t yet reached the small town I grew up in, where wearing my hair “undone,” and wearing a dress in a cut that flatters me is considered rebellious, or “different,” in Midwestern-nice vernacular.

But I’m going to rock the elven-chic look.

Did your mom — or anyone else — express concern about your wedding look?


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