To Tan or Not to Tan on Your Wedding Day?

Updated: Aug 31, 2021

You will want to look your best on your wedding day and so will your bridesmaids. You're going to have allot of photos together, plus you will be standing in front of everyone during the ceremony. So how your skin looks is essential, and this goes for the guys as well!

Photo: Channel4

Many bridal parties discuss getting a tan before the wedding, and if they don't, they should! So picture this, one of your bridesmaids decides to get a really cheap home applied tan. Another doesn't get a tan at all, and another chooses to lay in the sun the day before. I can tell you now your group photos are going to look very colourful in the wrong way. And not to mention the issues with tan lines if you are wearing a strapless dress on the day. Cameras really just love natural skin, lighter tones and little makeup.

Avoid cheap fake tans!

Unless you are going for that Oompa Loompa look from Willy Wonka? If you really want to have a tan done, make sure it's done professionally or use a high-quality streak-free tan. Also, although not popular anymore, never use a shimmer tan lotion. They have a small amount of glitter in them and the camera hates it. Basically, you could look like a Christmas tree in the photos every time the flash goes off. Trust me, I've been there and shot that.

Copyright: Courtesy Everett Collection

Avoid too much sun!

The red sunburnt look is never good in photos, and this goes for the men as well! You're not going to control how red you go compared to others, and you may end up overdoing it. I had a Groom complain he didn't look as good as his Bride in the photos. I asked him, "what do you mean?" I really needed an explanation. He said, "In the pictures, I look like I'm a red lobster, and the Bride looks perfect, together we look awful". I couldn't believe it; he was actually blaming me because he was sunburnt. Not that he had spent the morning playing golf and then lying in the sun by the pool before the ceremony. Also, not to mention that very few Grooms wear foundation or makeup like their Bride will.

Traditionally some Groomsmen plan fishing trips, surfing, cricket, golf etc., before the wedding; it's a great idea and helps with the nerves. But don't get sunburnt before your wedding; it's that simple. I always tell all my couples to avoid the sun days before and especially the morning of the wedding.

Photo: Dianne Cordell


OK, I'm not saying to avoid this, ever. Especially on your wedding day! However, some Grooms and Groomsmen should not drink before the wedding, depending on their skin type. I know what you're thinking. What the hell am I talking about, right?

This mainly affects men; some men have a skin type that goes rosy red even with only one drink. I've found that some men, especially with Scottish ancestry, glow red after a few drinks. If you're aware of any of the Groomsmen and especially the Groom have this condition, than I strongly suggest they don't drink alcohol until after the photos have been taken. Yeah, I know I wouldn't be happy either. But trust me, when the Groom is standing next to his gorgeous Bride, he will not look like he's been out drinking with his mates.

Quick Summary

In summary, avoid cheap fake tans, and avoid too much sun. Check out the Groom to see if his skin is affected by alcohol. Most importantly, you need to discuss tanning with your bridal party weeks before the wedding and make sure everyone is on board.

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Photo: Mark Benny

The Author

Mark Benny is a Newcastle, Hunter Valley and New England region based professional wedding photographer. He has been photographing weddings for over 14 years and has photographed more than 350 weddings.

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