Ask Team Practical: Old Dresses and New Beards

In a nutshell—I almost got married three years ago. But I did not. He was the best mistake I have ever made. I have a dress, shoes, veil, and jewelry that I love. Still. Do they remind me of him? No. They remind me of how a bride should feel. Special and beautiful.

Fast forward. I met someone so perfect for me that it’s scary. We will (most likely) get married next year. Can I wear the stuff that I was supposed to wear three years ago to marry someone else? If I can, do I have to tell my partner?

– Dysfunctional in Des Moines

Dear DDM,

Wear whatever you want. The dress makes you feel gorgeous? Then go on, girl.

Being almost-married didn’t ruin the idea of marriage or weddings for you, right? That guy didn’t co-opt the entire wedding day process. So, sure. Wear your old dress, look hot, send us photos.

The only thing about your email that’s making me pause is that you don’t want to tell your partner. Yikes. That sends up red flags for me. There’s a reason you don’t want him to know? He probably doesn’t need to know where you got your dress. But, as all reality TV and stupid romantic comedies have taught us, if you don’t want him to know, he’s probably going to find out. So, you want to hammer that stuff now, and not end up with him finding out on your wedding day when your Aunt Matilda makes some flippant comment. More than that, if you’re worried about him finding out, that probably means he’ll be bothered by you wearing it, which probably means there’s something there to discuss. I’m of the opinion that your partner doesn’t always need to know absolutely everything, but if there’s something you’re afraid he’ll find out, it’s best to face that stuff head on and in the open.


In the larger realm of things, this question may seem like a rather vain or selfish topic in comparison to some of the larger issues talked about recently, but I would love to get thoughts and honest advice on this. Recently in discussing our upcoming engagement and wedding pictures with my fiancé, he commented that he wanted to continue to have a beard and facial hair for both. He had originally just grown it out with some of his friends in preparation for an upcoming event but decided he actually liked having it and wanted to keep it. Not wanting to get all “I want my day to be perfect and capture amazing photos of the ideal and not reality,” I need some advice on how to approach this topic. Are there resources or examples of making facial hair work for men on the wedding day that doesn’t come off as unkempt or burly? I did a few searches online and was amazed at how little I found on the topic. I want to try and find a solve for this as he really has been fabulous in making this “our day,” a union of us coming together as a unit and not just “my day,” and he has had a huge role in planning and helping thus far. So I would love to find a solution that satisfies us both.

Any advice or direction would be a huge help!

Fearing the Beard

Dear FB,

High-five for being on board for whatever he wants to wear and look like! There’s a weird funny line between wanting your partner to like the way you look and just wanting to feel good about yourself, dammit. On our wedding day, while I really wanted my soon-to-be-husband to be straight enamored with the way I looked, how I felt about myself trumped all of that. I’m guessing the same goes for dudes. Good job at fighting the cultural narrative that says guys (both grooms and groomsmen) are just dress-up doll accessories in a wedding.

Continuing that line of thought, I’m sure he still wants to know what you think. I mean, I would. So, if you haven’t yet, you may want to let him know just exactly how hot he looks with a clean-shaven face. Emphasis on the positive, never the negative. I like when my husband clues me in to how I look best. “I like your hair that way,” versus, “Your hair looks awful that way,” of course.

But sometimes I’ll hear his thoughts and just flat out disagree (I mean, who doesn’t disagree with their partner on their own looks sometimes?). Your partner might, too. And depending on when that wedding is, the beard could keep his chin warm! My husband assures me there are very practical reasons for facial hair, though I sometimes remain dubious.

Lucky for you, male grooming is sort of in right now. In my city, small chic barbershops are cropping up all over, specializing in old-fashioned hot towels and mustache trimming. Do a quick Google search, and you may be able to find some in your own area! Because, let’s be honest, there’s a huge difference between a neat beard and looking like Tom Hanks in Castaway.

Also, sidenote, Meg wanted to weigh in on this one. She said, “David was clean shaven for our wedding, and interestingly it was the last time he was. Looking back, I always think both “Aw!” and “He totally doesn’t look like that now.” And not to be all braggy or anything (cough) but I totally think he looks hotter (and a little more mature) with a beard. I mean, adorable. So one, beards are hot, and two, if he’s going to end up with a beard anyway, you probably will end up wanting that reflected in your wedding pictures, years from now. Just no soul patch, ok?”


Team Practical, were you concerned about how your personal histories might impact your wedding day? How do you and your partner support one another in what you wear and how you look?

Photo by Emily Takes Photos.

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!

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