Why This Bride Wore No Makeup on Her Wedding Day Is Refreshingly Relatable


Two weeks ago, I got married at a small farmhouse in upstate New York. There was no glam squad, no wedding planner, and (almost) no pressure. I said my vows in front of 15 close friends and family members, wearing a dress I’d bought on ASOS the week before and makeup I’d done myself in fifteen minutes. It was simple and exactly what I wanted.

But in the months leading up, I’d been overwhelmed by the emotional and financial burden of orchestrating a picture-perfect wedding. After one too many floral arrangement anxiety attacks, I decided I’d had enough and planned a wedding that would make me and my husband happy, regardless of what other people thought. I’m sure I’m not alone here when I say managing wedding day priorities is a real bitch.

That’s why Tasnim Jara’s story about unrealistic expectations often put on brides is so refreshing. On Wednesday, Jara, a Muslim woman and nonprofit organization leader, shared a photo from her wedding on Facebook that promptly went viral. In it, she’s beaming and wearing absolutely no makeup.

In the caption of the photo, which has been shared over 24,000 times so far, Jara reveals that her choice not to wear makeup on her wedding day was at odds with the expectations of her family. “I was troubled by the singular image of a bride that our society has—with tons of makeup, a weighty dress, and mounds of jewelry weighing her down,” she wrote.

Jara goes on to explain that since childhood, she’s learned “from her aunties, peers, and the corporates that a bride is ‘incomplete’ without ornaments; that her and her families’ status depends on how much gold she puts on on the day.” Then she reflects in detail just how deeply ingrained this expectation is, and describes how some of her family members wouldn’t even pose for photos with her because she didn’t look the way they thought a bride ought to look.

“I have hardly attended any wedding where I didn’t overhear people gossiping: ‘Is the bride pretty enough?’ ‘How much gold does she have on?'” Jara said. “Growing up listening to these questions, a bride feels pressured to look for the best makeup artist in town, pays a hefty amount in time, money, and energy, and ends up looking nothing like herself.”

Jara’s account of the backlash she faced gave me all the feels, especially since I remember a few less than favorable responses to my low-key wedding. But what really stood out to me about Jara’s story was the conviction and pride with which she stood up for herself and brides everywhere: “Don’t get me wrong, if a girl wants to use [makeup], [jewelry], and expensive clothes for herself, I am all in for that. But it is a problem when she loses her agency in deciding what she would like to wear on her wedding day. When the society forces her to doll up and look like a different person, it gives a message that the authentic look of a girl isn’t good enough for her own wedding.”

Take a moment to give her a slow clap, then check out Jara’s whole post below.

In my opinion, the whole point of a wedding is not to present a picture of polished happiness, but to celebrate finding the one person who completes you. While Jara and I agree that how you plan your wedding is your choice, the pressure to look perfect and have a perfect wedding can ruin the experience altogether.

I’ve gotten a few photos back from my wedding photographer (one of my best friends volunteered as tribute) and while I don’t look airbrushed or perfect, I do look incandescently happy. My husband looks happy. In her wedding photo, Jara is lit from within with happiness. That’s what a wedding should be all about and it has nothing to do with how much makeup a bride has on.

My glam-squad free wedding day. Photo Credit: Jenna Mackey

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