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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  • Regarding the dress question, I don’t know if it’s straight-up NBD if you wear the dress you bought for your wedding to someone else.

    I have stronger feelings about these things than most, and I realize that. Not everyone gets hung up on the meaning of something, or even attributes that meaning in the first place, but I do and maybe he does, too. Maybe not.

    If I were about to marry a man who almost married someone else three years ago, and he wanted to wear the same suit to this wedding that he bought for that wedding, I would say no. No. Effing. Way. That would hurt me, big time. I would think about it several times on that day, I would remember it later.

    Again- I realize not everyone is like this.

    So the question is, would that hurt your fiance? If so, if maybe, if even a little bit, don’t do it. Don’t. If you don’t say anything, get another dress, and never know whether it would have hurt him or not, no harm done. If you continue with this dress and find out later (or, worse, on that day) that it did hurt him, even a little bit, even made him think for a second, you’ve got that clouding (even a little bit) your wedding day.

    I suppose my main point here is: be circumspect about this.

    • Jess

      I think it would be very different if she had gone through with the first marriage and worn the same dress again later. I think that is what would have really given the dress meaning, not the intent but lack of follow-through. Were there pictures of the dress being worn at a first marriage to another person? Nope. I think it also counts for a lot that the bride held onto these items, after the break-up, in the first place.

      I actually did something along the lines of what the bride is wondering; granted, not a wedding, but it was prom. I bought a dress for our school winter ball when I thought I’d be going with one guy. We wound up not going at all and shortly thereafter breaking up. Come next spring, I had a new boyfriend (now my fiance, fun fact), senior prom tickets, and a fabulous dress I hadn’t worn yet. So I wore it. Even though at the time I bought it, I was planning to wear it to another big formal dance with someone else. My guy didn’t mind at all.

      I’ll also acknowledge that I’m probably emotionally colder than most when it comes to these things, probably the exact opposite of Laura! We don’t know what end of the spectrum the bride’s fiance lies on, but hopefully the bride does.

      Edit to add: If this was about something that is intrinsically symbolic, like an engagement or wedding ring, then I would agree with Laura. But the dress isn’t really about the commitment; it’s more about feeling amazing when you’re making the commitment. The bride says that it does that for her, so I say rock the dress!

      • KB

        “If this was about something that is intrinsically symbolic, like an engagement or wedding ring, then I would agree with Laura. But the dress isn’t really about the commitment; it’s more about feeling amazing when you’re making the commitment.”

        I agree. My fiance brought up the possibility of reusing his first wedding band (possibly as a joke, but who knows), and I shut that down with an “Oh, heeeell no…” If he wanted to wear whatever else, peace be upon you my dear, but I draw the line at the ring. So I guess it’s to each his/her own. But I second the advice that, if you don’t want to tell him, there’s an issue there. You don’t need to make a huge deal about it – in fact, if you do, he’ll REACT as if it’s a huge deal. I think some people may associate certain items of clothing with a moment or a person – but for me, the dress really is All About Me and Just Me, the one choice where I don’t feel the need to get his input. But you do need to tell him for another reason – eleven billion people will ask you “Your dress is so pretty, where did you get it??” and you don’t want to be stuck in THAT situation before you’ve had the discussion with your partner…

        • Laura

          Agreed- it may not be a big deal, or hold any meaning whatsoever.

          What I wanted to point out was that I am here, raising my hand, saying, here is a person who would care a lot about that.

          So there are people alive who care a lot about that. And for those people, it is a big deal.

          Find out if he is one of them before wearing it.

          (Which is basically saying, talk to him about it.)

          • Laura

            Not to belabor the point, but I just asked my fiance about this because he is a guy who doesn’t attach meaning to [almost] anything, especially a literal “thing.” Also, he was actually married before.

            His response: “If we were in this situation, I would prefer you get a new dress. Not because it would really bother me, but more because there’s a risk that it might- even if I say I’m ok with it before the event, I imagine there’s a chance I would feel differently on the date of the event. I get loving a dress, but it’s just a thing, and it’s not worth taking a risk over hurting a person for a thing.”

            Emotions are funny and not always rational.

          • meg

            Because of this I asked David if he would care, and he was like, “Probably not at all. I mean, I guess it would depend a little on the circumstances of the ex, or whatever, but I don’t think I’d really give a shit.”

            So yeah, talk! But also, if you’re asking, it means YOU haven’t imbued the dress with meaning (at least not yet). And a hot dress is a hot dress.

          • I know for my fiance it would be a big deal. (We actually discussed this because my sister did exactly this…bought a dress for a wedding that never happened and then wore it for one that did.) Which is just to say that things are different for everyone and it seems like being sensitive to your fiance’s needs should be the biggest deal.

            And the advice that if it’s something that you feel you need to hide you shouldn’t be? THAT is the most spot on advice EVAR.

          • bears fan

            Talking it out is a good idea. There’s no way to tell where your fiance falls on the spectrum unless you bring it up. My guy probably wouldn’t even notice if I wore the dress repeatedly to brunch. Men are different regarding these things.

          • Anon for this one

            I concur with the talking. My significant other almost married someone else several years ago, but the fiancee died before the wedding took place. Dealing with that, and the repercussions of that, have been the most difficult things I’ve ever experienced in a relationship (and someday I’ll write a post or five on that) and part of dealing with it was me coming to grips with the fact that they’d planned a wedding, and if and when he and I do the same, some things are likely to get reused. It will be a different wedding, because it will be our wedding, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t want to discuss reuses that might be hurtful to me. You can’t always predict an emotional reaction. Definitely talk.

    • Alexandra

      I dunno, Laura, while I understand that the question would hurt you, I really don’t like the advice of “Don’t even talk about it.” It sort of implies that your partner should be a mind reader, knowing your thoughts on the matter before you even express them, just because he should know better. And well… that idea worries me. Because I’m not a mind reader. My partner is very much not a mind reader. If you can’t sit down and have a reasonable conversation of “Does this bother you if I do this?” without it being almost as bad as if you’d actually done the action, it seems to just be setting up for a relationship of secrets, where opinions aren’t shared, bad habits are ignored until there’s a massive fight over picking up socks and there’s a lot of “No, I’m fine.” when you aren’t actually fine.

      Although like you said, feelings aren’t always rational, and I know I’ve had days where I’m upset just for the reminder that my partner can’t read my mind (Or more recently, because I can’t read his), but I still feel that communicating is better than not communicating.

      Also, in this specific case, if I took your advice to not even bring it up, I’d probably always be a little bitter about not being able to discuss it. I’m a terrible secret keeper, and when I try to keep them, they always end up dragged out in the end, or I get bitter that I can’t just say my opinion and discuss it.

      • Laura

        That’s not really what I meant. Thing is, it just really muddles things to discuss this issue UNLESS this dress is the dress to end all dresses, like the best dress ever made, like no other dress will ever be good enough. Maybe it is? I don’t know. But don’t get all tangled up in this unless it is.

        I mean, I assume it’s not a secret that she almost married someone else (I hope!). That would be egregious. The ‘secret’ here, as I understand it, is “hey I really loved that dress.” Is anyone really going to get that bitter about not being able to tell someone this? Is it going to cause an irreparable rift in their relationship? Nah. Could the wearing of a previous wedding dress make someone bitter or cause a [minor] rift? Yup. Probably not, hopefully not, but sure, it could.

        I feel like this is turning into a more complicated issue than it is. I see two real options: wear it and talk to him about it or don’t wear it and don’t talk to him about it. I recommend the latter because I see it as more circumspect and I just don’t really think a dress is that worth it.

        Maybe he doesn’t care at all? I don’t know the answers to these questions. I am just asking them.

        • Alexandra

          Eh, I’d get bitter and possibly feel a bit of a rift if I wanted to discuss something with my fiance and felt that I just couldn’t. Again, not reasonable, but I’d end up thinking about it, and resent that I couldn’t talk to him about it, because it’d hurt him, and then resent the fact that it would hurt him, and that somehow my feelings weren’t as important as his feelings on the topic, and resent that I even wanted to wear that dress in the first place, even though they were really good reasons and… And then like, 6 weeks later I’d break one night while crying in bed and he’d stare at me like “Why the heck didn’t you say this sooner?” Confession: I had a lot of pre-engaged moments that went exactly like this, with my reason for not talking about wanting to be married earlier being “Because it would be pressuring him.”

          I mean, she might not care about the dress nearly that much. But she took the time to write into APW about, which means it’s probably something that’s been weighing on her.

        • Edelweiss

          I just think there’s a third option which is in line with Liz’s advice “talk to him and then decide if you’ll wear it”. Some of the hardest conversations I’ve had are when I think someone might find meaning in something I don’t find meaning in and it impedes what I want to do. Figuring out how to have that conversation in a caring and loving way is great pre-marital practice!

  • PA

    I can definitely see both sides on this one. On the one hand, the bride (hopefully) buys a dress that reflects her, as a person, and is thus a wonderful fit no matter who the groom is. On the other hand, while it’s not quite a monogrammed table runner, I can see why one prospective spouse would balk at using wedding items that had been purchased for a wedding to someone else. (Using heirlooms would obviously be different.)

    Whichever the case, however, Liz has good advice – talk to your fiance about this! If you explain that you feel that the dress reflects you, not your past relationship, it’s possible your fiance won’t mind in the least. You never know! However, if you’re worried that he won’t like it, that just injects guilt and (likely) hurt into the wedding day proceedings.

    Regarding the beard, I agree that getting the fiance a gift card to a swanky local barber shop would be an excellent way to go! Like a hairdresser, a barber will likely have tips for making sure the beard looks groomed and not just scruffy. And perhaps an old-fashioned shaving brush and a cake of shaving soap would make a good wedding present?

    • RJ

      I too would make a distinction between rings, and a dress, and also think about how to allocate the wedding dress budget. That’s because I’m practical, and also stingy.

      I agree it’s worth talking to him and seeing what he thinks – maybe the dress budget could be spent on something else meaningful to you both (e.g. if reusing the dress means you get to fly Grandma in)

      And maybe you could tweak the dress a little – add some hidden embroidery in the lining which is a quote you both enjoy, so it’s really a dress for your wedding to him, not for a previous wedding.

  • streamnerd

    I am very pro-beard. My husband has always had a beard since I have known him and probably always will so there was no question he would have his beard at our wedding. He did a clean shave of his neck and a good trim of the beard and mustache and he looked great.
    For example:!i=1989639596&k=j2TN4Md&lb=1&s=L

    I think beards are hot and bearded men are awesome. Did you know that the study of beards is called pogonology?

    If he did decide he didn’t want his beard anymore, I think I would definitely go for the positive reinforcement mentioning how great I think he looks with it.

    • steph

      My hubby has always rocked the facial hair as well :) <3 He trimmed and neatened it for our wedding day, but if he had shaved it off it would have been as weird as if I went from my normal style to a pixie cut.

      Though I understand the bride's concern a bit too. Hubby's best friend (and our Best Man) decided to give himself a blue mohawk 2 months before our wedding. He enjoys doing random colors and styles for fun. Normally I'm pretty laid back about appearance, but I definitely had a bit of a freak out about this (it grew in fine by our wedding day though). It wasn't anything against the color blue or against mohawks. It was more the idea that it wasn't really "him" and wasn't the image of "him" that I wanted in our wedding photos forever. If his best friend always wore a blue mohawk, then by all means, rock one on our wedding day. But I preferred no fad hairstyles that didn't really reflect who we were. I feeling like I"m rambling and I hope this made a little bit of sense. Or maybe that was just my moment of Bride Crazy…
      Ironically, MY best friend and MOH's hairstyle has changed so much in the past 3 years since our wedding, but her style for our wedding (long braids in a partial updo) was an accurate reflection of who she was at that time.

      • Alexandra

        You know, years ago when I was getting pictures taken for graduating University, I was considering what haircut I wanted in them. And I’d come to the conclusion that I didn’t want my “normal” short haircut, because in the end I only look like that for a month before I settle back into a longer style. And I wanted to look like how’d I looked in University for my pictures. But at the same time, this reasoning let me say that I could do whatever I wanted for my wedding pictures… Because those pictures would represent something still coming up, not something I’d finished (like University).

        I think my courageous spirit dwindled slightly since then, but for my wedding, I’m going to grow out my hair (because somewhere deep down, I always think I’m a long-haired girl, even when my hair barely reaches my shoulders) and dye it a dark purple colour (Because I always fantasize about it being red, but I think red would clash if I get a blue dress).

        At any rate, my fiance will have a beard, because he always has a beard. I have no idea how he’ll trim it though, and neither does he. He’s forever changing his beard, and all I care is that it’s not something silly, like the tri-hawk he once shaved into his head.

    • Ashley B.

      I agree that bearded men are hot. While I’m all “live and let live” and “we all find different things sexy” etc etc etc, when people tell me they think beards are weird… well, I’m like, you CLEARLY haven’t run your hands through my husband’s amazing, comforting, beautiful beard AND YOU NEVER WILL BECAUSE HIS BEARD IS ALL MINE NOW!*

      He trimmed for our wedding (courthouse, so comparably not a big deal) and looked amazing: This was actually the shortest his beard has been in a long, long time… We negotiated length because I actually wanted it long and luscious.

      In short, I am pro-beard.

      * Note: I have been known to pimp out his beard to ladies who miss having a beard to touch from time to time, often after a few beers.

      • I would absolutely take that offer. Only regret about marrying baby-faced A – no facial hair. Maybe when he’s older? I should go into pogonology and find out, but I don’t want my hopes dashed.

    • I also have a bearded soon to be husband, and I can’t imagine him WITHOUT the facial hair on our wedding day. It wouldn’t be him.

      If it’s a beard that is kept closely trimmed, I’d just recommend a touch up the morning of. Shave the neck and any strays, and take the clippers to touch up the length. If your dude has a longer beard though, definitely suggest that he consult a barber. They’re not unreasonably expensive and if you explain that you’re happy for him to have the beard if it makes him happy but you’d like it to be the best-looking, most rocking beard it’s capable of being he should be on board.

  • My husband had a beard for our wedding (you can see us here:

    It seemed like people were asking about it our entire engagement – Is he going to shave? Are you going to make him shave? Etc. I think it’s a little harder to adjust to the idea if his beard is a new thing (in fact, while I would have been fine either way, I was ultimately happy with him keeping the beard because that’s what I’m used to).

    The key for him was to trim the beard short about 2 weeks before. We tested out the trimming timing a few times in the months before the wedding so he knew exactly how short to go and then how long to let it grow in a little more. We were both really happy with how it looked the day of. To be honest, we also timed his pre-wedding haircut this way. Who says men can just show up on the wedding day without any other prep? :)

    • Liz

      That’s so weird that people ASKED if he was going to shave! I wonder if it’s akin to assuming all girls are going to grow out short hair.

      • And also weird that they asked -her- about -his- beard! Imagine that the other way round: ‘So dude, are you going to make her grow out her short hair?’.

        • Liz


          • His own mom was like, You’re going to shave it off RIGHT?? And he was just like, no Mom. And then she looked at me and I just changed the subject haha.

        • Ashley B.

          Yes! Exactly! My hair is usually much shorter than my husbands. He has long hair and a beard, I keep my hair at about one inch. I say, whatever, hair < love.

      • His mom and sisters kept encouraging me to make him shave for the wedding. They don’t like his facial hair. Part of why he keeps it is to annoy them (that whole sibling thing). As his wife, I back him on that. So whenever they bring it up (still comes up now), I reply that I like him with it.

    • We did something similar. My husband got a pre-wedding haircut a few weeks out. On the morning before, he popped in to the salon to get his neck trimmed and perfectly neat. He always keeps his chin beard neat, so he just made sure to be extra careful with that right before the wedding.

    • Ash

      Yes- I always thought girls growing out their hair is a bit strange. Don’t you want to just look like you?? I also noticed many people dye their hair blonder… as if “brides” are supposed to have long blonde hair..? hmmm…

      Also…Rachelle- your husband is ridiculously good looking.

      • Jashshea

        And my one naturally blond friend always says that brunettes look better in wedding dresses. So you can’t win.

      • Alexandra

        I’m growing out my hair, but that’s because I always get it cut into a short cut, and yet when I try to picture myself, my hair is always like, a foot longer than it is in reality. I haven’t even had hair that long since grade 5, but for some reason, my mental image of my hair has no basis in reality. I figure I may as well let it grow and see if I even like that style still. I can always cut it later.

    • Jax

      I get the “are you going to make him shave” thing all the time too! So silly–I’m not in control of his facial hair. And I like it anyway. He’s a few years younger than me and it really shows when he’s clean shaven. I am planning on booking him an appointment at a place in town that specializes in men’s hair and beards before the wedding though–I don’t want to risk him shaving off half of his beard by accident (it’s happened before.)

      • Kathryn

        Ha – My husband was terrified he was accidently going to shave it off for our wedding!

      • My husband is now happy to know that he’s not the only one who’s accidentally shaved off part of their beard (didn’t happen for the wedding, but it’s happened before and happened again just recently).

    • Class of 1980

      How refreshing to hear about how MEN prep for their wedding day for a change.

      • meg

        Indeed. I’m tired of men being treated like dress up dolls for weddings. Also, can I just note that when the men have all been dressed up by the bride YOU CAN TELL?

        • Jess

          My husband was totally enthusiastic about prepping for the wedding. He ran his tux style by me, and the colors for his vest and stuff, but the decisions were all him. I might have chosen different things, but I love knowing that his outfit reflected him, not me.

          On the topic of beards: he normally has a pretty trim beard (not much length, clean edges) and I totally discouraged him from shaving for the wedding, because it’s his normal look and I like it! Plus he looks like a total baby-face without it, But he does go to a barber regularly and get his hair and beard trimmed, so it was reliably neat.

          • My husband took our paint chip wedding colors with him to pick out his tux. And even though I went with him to pick it up, I didn’t see it till he saw me in my dress. Why should I know what he’s going to look like if he doesn’t know what I’m going to look like.

        • Forrest tried to make me pick out his suit. I told him I’d take veto power but that he had to choose it. I was very happy that the salesman backed me in this telling Forrest that HE had to feel great in the suit and would ask HIM very direct questions whenever he’d try to appeal to me.

    • Damn it, Rachelle. Every time I go back to read your graduate post I get all weepy. /tangent

    • AnotherCourtney

      While my husband didn’t have a beard before or during our wedding, two of our groomsmen did. Oddly enough, my husband was the one who stressed out about what their beards would look like! He settled it by spending the morning of the wedding at a barber shop with his guys, getting all trimmed up (and, oddly enough, chatting up the chief of police who happened to be there so we had no worries about partying late that night). So there’s an example of a whole group of guys actually getting ready for a wedding! (They looked great!)

      Also, one of my biggest pet peeves is when people ask me why I let/make my husband do things. Like he clears all his actions through me before doing them. Gah!

    • Snow Gray

      The whole are you going to MAKE him shave, or alternately are you going to “Let” him have a beard is a very weird thing. It’s interesting to see what people assume about how much brides are controlling their partner’s appearance on the big day. has more bearded pictures that Fearing the Beard can look at for inspiration and to see how awesome some of these men look with their beards :D There’s also a great post in that tag about ‘letting’ your partner have a beard.

    • Raechel

      I am personally grateful your hubs kept the beard … This shot from your wedding ( is HANDS DOWN my favorite on this entire website. :)

    • Ms Fran

      EVERY time we see my husband’s family his dad asks when he’s going to shave his beard off. He has been bearded on and off for all the time I’ve known him and was on our wedding day – with a little cleaning up/trimming beforehand. I don’t think beards necessarily look scruffy.

    • Teffer

      When Gentleman and I announced that we were engaged, his aunt’s first response was to ask, “So, are you going to cut your hair for the wedding, Gentleman?”

      I was pretty astonished. Gentleman has worn his (gorgeous, thick, chestnutty hair) to his waist for 15 years. Why the heck would he cut it for our wedding? Especially when it was the first thing that caught my eye???

  • Diane

    Fearing the Beard- If your concern is that your beloved will look scruffy in pictures I would like to refer you to my engagement pictures here:

    I love my husband’s beard and actually encouraged him to keep it for the wedding. But he ultimately decided he’d keep it for the engagement pictures and then shave for our June wedding because he gets too hot with facial hair in the summer. I think it’s kind of nice that we have great pictures of him both with and sans beard. (wedding photos here if you want to compare: )

    Just get him a beard trimmer now so he can learn how to maintain a neatly trimmed beard and still look clean cut for your upcoming photos.

    • Ellie

      This is what my fiance and I are doing/did! When I met my fiance, he did not have a beard, and the beard has never been my favorite look on him. It doesn’t look bad by any means, it just isn’t my fave. We’d been together for six years (so almost the whole time I’d known him he was beardless) and a few months before he proposed, he started growing a beard. He works in an industry where it is beneficial to look a little older and the beard was a good way for him to look older (and keep warm outside all winter!). People kept asking me if he was going to shave it for the wedding, but I steadfastedly made that his decision. We got our engagement pictures done last December and he had a full beard in them ( He totally looked awesome (duh!) but decided to shave his beard off this past May because of the heat. I kind of love that we’ll have engagement pictures with him bearded and wedding pictures without the beard.

  • kcaudad

    Between my Fiance and I, we decided that I get to pick what I wear and how my hair looks, etc. And, he doesn’t want to tell me how to look on our wedding day. Therefore, I haven’t had much of a say in his look, except for the color of the suit. Just like he wouldn’t tell me how I must wear my hair for the wedding, I wouldn’t feel comfortable telling him how his beard/facial hair must look. Plus, he looks hot with facial hair! (And, he kind of looks like a young kid without any!)

  • Amanda L.

    “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.”

    I think you could have stopped there. If he has regularly been wearing this beard/facial hair, and wants to keep it for the wedding, I think the only question she should ask is ‘Do you think you’ll be glad you made that decision when you look back at these pictures in 20 years?’ If the answer is yes, then there’s her answer. I’m not sure why she thinks clean-shaven is the wedding ‘ideal.’ Plenty of guys have facial hair.

    PS – Those two lines above were me to a T when it came to picking my wedding day hair. DH likes my hair swooping across my forehead. I envisioned hours of pushing my hair out of my face, and lots of pictures with a few hairs out of place that would drive me NUTS. In the end, pulling the top of my hair back from my face was the best decision I ever made.

  • Megan2

    Beards are hot. Mine won’t be shaving a goatee off, because he always has it, & I would never want to make that decision for him.

    My co-worker had a straight shave at the barber for his own wedding & said it was excellent. Mr plans to see a barber & try one out also. Neither one tried it before, so it was/is be fun to have some groom pampering going on. So much is focused on the ladies.

    Otherwise, he uses a tiny comb to keep the hairs in line & tiny scissors to trim off any really unruly strays. He also uses Head & Shoulders for dry sky, to keep any flakes away. Conditions it with regular hair conditioner, & it is really very soft when it gets some length. The growing out period is always stiff & scratchy, but past that, it’s just like head hair. He’s also very particular about the neck, it looks so much better when the neck is cleaned up.

    • I think if my husband did this much upkeep when he grew his facial hair I wouldn’t hate it so much. However, any hair around the mouth makes people harder to lipread which isn’t ideal for a Deaf couple. (And it scratches really bad when he wants to kiss me!).

  • Jashshea

    FB – I’m certainly not advocating for your bearded man to be anything but himself, but I’d like to offer up an image that might change his or your mind:

    My parents’ wedding pictures from 1972. Mutton Chops. On my father and all his groomsmen.

    Personally, I think their pictures are fantastic, but if they were going for a timeless aesthetic it was a huge fail.

    • Liz

      Hahaha, but, Jashshea, I LOVE the stuff that makes wedding photos look dated! You’re never going to look at that photo and wonder when it was taken. ;)

      • Jashshea

        Oh, totally. At first I was all, MY wedding will be timeless! Then a family friend posted a picture of my parents at their wedding (I hadn’t seen the pictures in years) and it’s just plain amazing.

        And timeless is such a impossible thing to aim for. I mean, really? My dress is going to go out of style.

        • Class of 1980

          My mom’s 1957 wedding dress is a big part of why her wedding pictures are AMAZING.

          Lace and a full tulle skirt in ballerina length. Thank God she wasn’t timeless. ;)

        • meg

          Yeah. Your wedding photos are never going to be timeless, but that’s a great thing, really. I mean, I don’t want my wedding to look like it happened RIGHT NOW. Every year that passes is a year I’m proud we were married. So imagine when those pictures look “so 20 years ago.” Swoon. Also, you mostly want them to be a time capsule that takes you back to how you felt, I think.

          But you DO want to feel like you felt your best, I think. I’d be bummed if I looked back and I was wearing a dress or a hairstyle that I hated, but I felt pressured into. And I’m sure they same thing goes for guys. (How many times have you seen a groom that looks like a monkey shoved into a suit, mostly because of the sad look on his face whenever he looks down at his outfit? I mean, it’s cute because it’s adorably sort of sad, but you know what I’m talking about.)

    • My dad had an awesome Burt Reynolds mustache in my parents’ wedding photos. Win.

    • Grey tuxes with ruffled shirts, bell bottoms, and my dad had a fro. It’s incredible. I love those photos.

      • Jashshea

        Dad & groomsmen’s tuxes were some sort of beige with black piping. My dad wears glasses and he had those giant Mrs Kotter type glasses on that cover nearly his whole face. My mom had this unbelievable mane of black hair and a dress with sleeves to her wrists. So 70s, so amazing. I hope my potential kids love our pictures as much as I love my parents’.

    • My dad has the white tuxedo jacket with a ruffled shirt. My mom has a long sleeved lace dress. It is an awesome, awesome picture.

    • David’s dad was wearing a baby blue tux with a ruffled shirt. It delights me every single time I look at the pictures. 1980!

  • Kess

    I’ve told my SO he cannot have facial hair until he can actually grow a beard. ;) (I’ve refused the ‘neck beard’!)

    My dad has a beard and I don’t know him without one (he actually grew it during the christmas right before I was born – couldn’t go anywhere with an 8 month pregnant wife so he just didn’t shave). Looking at old photos of him, he looks like a teenager! Not just because he was younger, but because his beard really made him look older. When he tidies the beard up, he can look really sharp, it’s just a matter of making sure the neck is nicely shaped and the hair is all trimmed.

    • My dad had a beard starting in like 1978. When he lost it due to chemo it was so weird – I could hardly look at this stranger across the dinner table. He just didn’t look like himself AT ALL.

  • KB

    Re: The beard – I second the yay for the advice of being supportive of what he wants to look like on his day. Just wanted to say that it also works the other way – I think my fiance looks handsome in his glasses, which he wears about half the time normally. But he’s vetoed that look for our wedding because he feels he looks better without them. The one thing I have been “strongly suggesting” is that he not get his hair cut less than two weeks before the wedding. His barber tends to vacillate between “just a trim” and shaving his entire head bald for no apparent reason. While it would be a hilarious story for years to come, I don’t think either of us want that outcome…

  • Audrey

    Hey FB!

    My husband wouldn’t go beardless, nor would I want him to. At times it gets a bit out of control, but he does trim it up nicely, as he did for our wedding. Here are some pictures!

    If you have some time until the big day, I’d encourage him to do a trial trimming to see what he likes/does not like so he knows just what to do to ensure you are BOTH happy with his face. :-)

  • Katie H

    Regarding the beard, I don’t believe in changing yourself JUST for the wedding. I think “the impending wedding” dhould have ZERO effect on decisions such as weight, hair color, hair length, facial hair, etc. You and your FHshould look however you would look if it were just any other normal day, just a little more put together. My FH goes back and forth between having a bear and being clean shaven. Honestly I think he looks way hotter and more like ‘him’ with a beard. But if he decided to shave it off a week before the wedding I wouldn’t throw a fit, its his decision. I think you should let him decide if he wants to keep it or not. Just maybe ask that he cleans up his neck a littel if thats the road he chooses to take.

    As for the dress, just talk to your FH and be 100% honest about the situation. If he has a problem with you wearing the dress then respect his feelings and get a new dress, no matter how much you love the one you already have.

  • Lizzie

    It never even occurred to me to ask my husband to shave for our wedding. Granted that the only time I had ever seen him clean-shaven was when he shaved his entire head and face (including eyebrows) for a dance performance, so the beard was certainly the norm, but even so — that would have been like him asking me not to wear my glasses. He took it upon himself to see that it was neatly trimmed and such, but that wasn’t a terribly exotic ritual or one that he really needed to practice. Perhaps our standards are lower than most — he did get a hilariously bad haircut a week before our wedding when he happened into a barbershop during some sort of local street festival and most of the staff seemed to be high. He planned to get a corrective cut before the wedding, but then he ran out of time and we figured his hair was curly and no one would really notice how uneven it was anyway. In any case, I think we both looked fantastic regardless of beards or glasses or ridiculous haircuts:

  • Kathryn

    My husband has had a beard pretty much continuously for the last 3 years and I love it. When planning for our wedding, I was amazed how many people asked if I was going to make him shave it off for the big day. First – I hated the idea that I would “make” him do anything. And second – I loved the beard and so did he – so it didn’t go. And I love our pictures!! The one piece of advice I would give is to not have him trim it the day of the wedding. I always find the first day he trims his beard it looks a little funny – or just different than how I usually see him. Obviously this is personal preference – but I think he looks better a few days to a week after a trim/haircut. If he is going to keep the beard, have your husband try out some different trims – either doing it himself or going to a barber and see what you both like.

  • My fiance doesn’t have a beard but he tends to shave about once every 5 days. So he’s always scruffy. To me (and I think to him when he looks in the mirror and at pictures) he doesn’t look like him when he’s clean shaven. Sooooo we’ve decided that he’ll have a couple of days scruff at the wedding. Because it works (for both of us–he asked if I minded before we decided on this plan).

    • Liz

      Beth, my husband was scruffy, too! By my request!

    • meg

      Yay scruffy. That’s how David ended up with more of a beard. He went scruffy after the wedding, I liked it, he kept doing it, and then he got sort of lazy. Apparently a really short beard is just easier to maintain.

  • Jessica

    Must weigh in on the beard question as it recently happened to me! My husband started growing a beard in April because he started working at a job with a much less serious dress code and felt like he could now grow some facial hair without appearing unkempt at work. He got SO many compliments on his beard, it really got to his head. But the problem is that I’ve been with him for 5 years and have never known him with a beard. I love him with beard and without beard but I couldn’t imagine having the beard in our wedding photos in July. So I told him he could keep the beard for the engagements photos, but asked (nicely) that he shave for our wedding. I told him I met him without a beard and fell in love with him without a beard and wanted to see his whole face on the day we said our vows to one another. He agreed and shaved for our wedding and I couldn’t be happier with the photos. So glad I asked him to shave. :)

  • Class of 1980

    I’m baffled at the idea of facial hair being unkempt. Facial hair has been standard for more of history than it hasn’t. As long as it’s kept nicely trimmed, then the groom is going to look good.

    Also, some men don’t feel like themselves without facial hair. I know one man who feels terrible without a mustache because he doesn’t think he looks right without it.

    As far as the dress, I think the groom is really the only person who can answer. How one views the dress is personal and there is no right or wrong. The bride wouldn’t be violating any established etiquette, so it comes down to his feelings.

  • To DDM: when my (now) husband and I first started dating, he confessed to me that his initial attraction was my red hair, a he had a thing for redheads. He’s a writer, and he even showed me this piece he wrote about a chance encounter with a redhead years and years before we met, etc.

    Here’s the thing: I am not a natural redhead. My mother was a redhead when she was younger, my uncle and 2 of my cousin’s are carrot top redheads (uncle, even still at 64!), one of those cousins in particular whom teachers in grade school were convinced we were siblings because we looked so much alike. I had both the complexion and the temperament of a ginger. So, I started dying my hair at 16 and never looked back. It has been every shade on the red spectrum since, but always red. (Now I look even MORE like my cousin!)

    I have never, ever been dishonest about this. I joke that I was fixing an error in my DNA caused by my absentee father (I jokingly blame him for all unexplained traits). But when C said this to me on our first date, I felt awkward confessing the truth. So I didn’t.

    For three months. By then, we were pretty serious. It came out the night of my grad school graduation. We were all drinking and someone mentioned my “fake red hair” loudly.

    C didn’t give a crap that I dyed my hair. He DID care that I felt like I had to lie about it. We had our first fight. I spent the next morning crying in the shower. We had a BIG discussion about honesty and how even something stupid can lead to that.

    So, yes. Tell your fiancé. I think it is stupid if it bothers him. (it’s not like you USED that dress. Or you are recycling engagement rings or something), but if it comes out, it will be way worse

    • kyley

      This is very wise advice. The little things have ways of turning into very big things when we bury them.

  • oh, meredith

    To DDM –

    I too was engaged previously (three years, in fact!) and am now engaged to the right man. I have a dress from engagement #1, and it’s lovely. Most of my friends said, “You can’t wear a dress you were going to wear to marry someone else,” and my mom said, “Just don’t tell your fiance that you bought it for your first engagement.” I felt a little weird about wearing it, and I felt that it would be dishonest to omit the circumstances of the dress’ purchase. So, I talked it over with my FH.

    He wasn’t crazy about the idea, but then I tried it on for him and he LOVED it. He had no problem with me wearing it, once he saw me in it. I don’t know if that would be an option for you and your FH. Bottom line – while The Dress may be a practical matter for some, or a personal matter for others, it is often emotionally weighted. It sound like the possibility exists that your SO would feel weird about it if he found out – and odds are good that eventually, he will find out. For that reason, I strongly advocate discussing it with him. While to you, the dress means “Beautiful! Special!”, it may mean something else entirely to him – and you won’t know that until you talk it through.

    IMO, the best way to have the conversation would be to say, “I have a wedding dress that I absolutely love,” and then describe the way you feel in the dress and why you love it. Then say, “I bought it when I was engaged before, which is why I wanted to talk about it with you.” You will (most likely) have to heavily emphasize how the dress doesn’t have any emotional ties to the previous relationship. And then see where the conversation goes.

    Incidentally, I ended up buying another dress – but mostly because I didn’t ever love the first one. (I bought the first one more for practical reasons than for love.) And since that summed up the huge differences between my first engagement and my current one, I decided a new dress was in order. One purchased with the primary intent of making my fiance’s jaw drop on our day.

    Best of luck to you!

  • katieprue

    My husband usually has a goatee, but he did the no-shave November thing the year before our June wedding, and it stuck all the way up until the morning of our wedding day! I thought about beard vs. no beard, and asked him what he was going to do, because at that point I’d become so used to his fuzzy face I couldn’t even guess what he would end up doing. He went with my recommendation: get engagement photos with the beard (not every will do those, but it worked for us) and if he loves the photos of himself with a beard? Keep it for the wedding. Hates it? Shave it. It actually looked really nice in the photos, even being fairly unkempt (at home trimming down, nothing fancy). The day of the wedding, our good friend took him to the barbershop for a haircut, and I think he decided on a whim to go back to the goatee. I almost passed out when I first saw him. Freshly trimmed goatee? In a suit? Woo. *fans self* Gorgeous. Man. Where was I going with this? Oh. Right. So he just decided to not really decide. We didn’t really plot out his facial hair leading up to the wedding, you know? He ended up with a goatee again, and everyone was happy. The end. :)

    But to add, even if your fiance’s beard does end up looking bushy and unkempt in the photos, will you really care? I hope that’s not what you would take away from your wedding photos. I know there is this desire to have everything be picture perfect, but it ended up being about so much more than that for me (and I’m usually very self/body-conscious). Even though my dress *gasp* was not perfect, and I totally could have found something more flattering, I look at the photos and I still am just overwhelmed with emotions. Good ones. It’s the smiles, the looks, the kisses that are captured–that is what I cherish about our wedding photos. Trust–you’ll think your husband looks hot, beard or not. It’s ultimately his decision.

    • steph

      So with you on this. Hubby alternates between goatee and full beard. I love both but that first look of him after he has JUST trimmed back to the goatee…..YUMMY!!! :)

    • Yay for the hot goatee! David offered to shave it off, and I was like, no way! Because that’s what he looks like. It was totally the right call.

      A few years later he shaved it to grow a full Movember beard and he looked SO WEIRD! And YOUNG! And not RIGHT AT ALL. I’m really glad it wasn’t like that at wedding.

  • My husband has always been long haired and beared when I’ve known him, so I’m naturally biased towards saying let him rock it. But on a broader level, I don’t see it as really being all that different from wearing your hair differently, or having a hair color during your wedding that might not be the color you have forever. People change, and styles change, and the people we (broadly) are when we get married may not be the people we are forever (in fact, I hope they aren’t). I think for me personally, looking back at my wedding photos of my long-haired self (I now rock a pixie cut instead of hip-length hair that was a huge staple of my Look for years), I see Us as we were in 2010. So if he has a beard and he likes having the beard and it looks okay and there aren’t, like, marmosets living in it or anything, then that’s Him for 2012. And that’s the person you’re marrying right now. He might not have the beard forever, it might be a passing thing, but then, so are the looks ladies cultivate.

    Marry each other as the individuals you are right now and I guess what I’m saying is, don’t be afraid to not have photos that are indiscriminate about the times of your lives that you married. (Wow, awkward wording alert.) Be neat and trim and be the people you are.

    *By neat and trim I do not mean be neat and skinny, I just mean keep the beard neatly trimmed and Upkept.

  • Two things:

    1) OMG what is that dress in the picture??? I’m *dying* over it.


    2) This probably will not help you make your decision at all, FB, but for what it’s worth: My fiance trimmed his beard a few days before our engagement pictures and accidentally put the clippers at a really low setting, so his beard is so short in the pictures that it almost looks like stubble. In retrospect, he probably could’ve just shaved it off to avoid the stubbly look, but he’s had the beard for so long now that it’s just part of who he is and I think it would’ve been really weird to see him without it in pictures. (Side note: He shaved it off once a few years ago, the day before he got his passport picture taken…. and we both agree that he looks like a completely different person in it, to the point where he regrets that he will be stuck with that picture until 2018, ha.) Anyway: My advice is to discuss whether he plans to maintain the chin-suit for the long term; if so, maybe he should keep the facial hair for the wedding so clean-shaven wedding photos won’t feel so incongruous.

    My fiance’s beard will be present and accounted for on our wedding day in December, and I’m so glad!! Like Meg, I also think my fella is about 843x hotter with the scruff. :)

  • Anne

    I just have to chime in to say that my husband has had facial hair (mostly in the form of a goatee) ever since we met, so the idea that he would shave for our wedding never even occurred to me — it would have been like marrying a stranger! But I recognize that if it’s a new thing for your fiancé, it can take some getting used to. As for trimming, facial hair usually has a “best” length for each style/guy. Usually, trimming a week or two in advance with a small touch up to trim stray hairs will prevent any appearance of messiness. So if he wants to keep the beard, go for it! Men can definitely look plenty hot on their wedding days with facial hair.

  • I skimmed the comments so hopefully no one has posted this yet. For those who love both bearded men and infographics:

  • Carrie

    I’m with the people who say facial hair can and does look great. My husband isn’t a facial hair guy (mainly because he doesn’t have a ton of facial hair — if he doesn’t shave for a week, it looks like he just forgot to shave that morning). So he’s usually clean-shaven. But my dad, usually a clean-shaven guy, experimented with a beard for a while. It looked good on him. And he’s not a big burly lumberjack type or anything — he’s a software engineer.

    Sure, it could look scruffy and unkempt if it hadn’t been trimmed in a while, but so can head hair. And just like head hair, all you need to do is head to the barber and get a trim, and you’ll look neat and tidy again.

    I think if he likes his beard and wants to keep it, then it’s genuinely who he is and what he looks like. It wouldn’t make sense for him to shave it off just for the wedding if he’d plan to just grow it back afterwards. And yes, he can still look neat, tidy, and put-together with a beard — just get it trimmed.

  • Laura

    My grandmother started making my mom’s wedding dress when she was engaged to my dad. When the wedding was called off, my grandmother obviously stopped working on it, but saved everything. Five years later, my mom and now step-father were engaged and my grandmother finished the original dress but with a different bodice pattern.

    I realize these were just the same materials and not the whole dress, but no one ever thought of that dress as tainted or in any way related to my dad. It was her beautiful dress that her mother lovingly made.

    • meg

      Aw. Perfect story. Also, it’s interesting that we live in a time that this is even a question, when you think about it. Not so long ago, none of us would have had a good dress to waste. If it was a nice dress, we would have just worn it.

      • RJ

        My Mother’s best friend made me and my sisters quilts for our weddings. I know she finished mine about the time my sister got married, over 10 years ago, as I’d been going out with a boyfriend for 4 years, and living with him for 6 months.

        Thing is… she still has that quilt. We broke up, and I’m still single into my 40s.

        One day I hope to get it as a wedding present, and will love it, even if it was made during a previous relationship. (She has actually offered it to me, but that feels like admitting defeat, even though at an emotional level I feel that the happy-ever-after wedding ship has sailed for me, and intellectually I know that having validity as an adult isn’t predicated on having someone else decide to invest their life in you).

  • Joanna

    Hot beard wedding photo slideshow! If he wants to keep his facial fur, it could look really good, I swear:

  • SteffanyF

    My husband has had some form of facial hair since he graduated from high school (where they didn’t allow it. Jesuits, you know). I would never, ever have asked him to shave his beard, both because I totally respected his own “wedding aesthetic” and also because I effing love his beard. I love bearded men in general. Rawr. The only person who ever asked if he was going to shave his beard for the wedding was his grandmother-and she asked me! Hah. Like I had the power to do my bidding or something.
    Likewise, I normally have short-ish hair and I was asked all of once if I were growing it out for the wedding. I actually ending up cutting it into a pixie a little less than a year before so it was super-short when I got married. Myeh. I think we looked lovely-short haired, bearded and all!

    Basically, you can definitely look awesome so matter what kind of look you rock. But yes, getting him a beard trimmer can go a long way to helping the facial hair look clean rather than unkempt. Though I personally think unkempt has its own kind of charm. :)

  • Jo

    With the dress, I think the story of the dress – what it means to you – is what matters. Talking that through with yourself is important, so you’re really clear for yourself on why you bought it. And then, talking it through with your fiancee will help you figure out what the story of the dress is now – what it means to both of you. I have seen that type of conversation lead to some really beautiful things – like if it does symbolize your first attempt at marriage, and he embraces that part of your story, and all that you wished for but couldn’t have with the first dude, then embracing the dress makes sense. As someone said, you’re finally realizing your wishes for a dream marriage. So if that’s the dress intended for your dream marriage, that’s only happening once. And he may be able to get that, in which case it’s going to be really sweet to put that dress on and realize you’re finally at that place you so wanted to be three years ago. And that he accepts your past as well as you now and in the future.

    Or, if you’re not into that, then ditch it. It’s a little complicated, which probably means you should deal with that complicated before walking into it. Don’t want to deal? Don’t wear it.

  • PRO-BEARD! Also, look no further, because I have two examples of grooms who looked hot and had beards.

    One: My own wedding.

    Two: My sister’s wedding.

    As Meg once said, “a wedding is not a photoshoot.” It’s a representation of how you both look, what trends you are into, what hair color you have, on that exact day in that exact moment in time. Embrace it. I think he should wear the beard.

    • meg

      Actually, I think ESB said “a wedding is not a photoshoot” but god knows I’ve repeated it so many times, I get credited for it ;) Wiser words, etc…

  • Karina

    Sorry to bust the anonymity, but I absolutely HAVE TO comment on how overjoyed I am at all the support and advice (AND PICTURES!!!!!!) for my facial hair question. You are all wonderful and I appreciate it!

    • meg

      YAY! This is possibly the most pro-groom pro-facial-hair thread I’ve ever seen. It’s kind of making my day.

  • Ana Maria

    My hubby has a long beard and every time we visit his family they proceed to ask me (not him!) when I am going to make him shave; I used to laugh along and say soon, so they would stop bothering us until a cousin stood up for him and said that he looks like an actor and made the whole clan stop bothering him! I’ve realized my mistake and now openly support his facial hair decisions; it is much more important than caring about what people might say or chaning the subject when shaving is brought up : )

  • Both of my brothers have facial hair and were my wedding party. (You can see them here, along with my dad’s weird Amish beard he loves – Honestly, I don’t particularly care for any of their beards and I loathe my little brother’s weird chin patch thing. But, you know, the facial hair is a part of their identity. My dad’s had a beard since my teens, my older brother since 18 and my little brother since 21. Asking them to shave it would mean a sacrifice on their part and giving up a part of themselves. I didn’t think that was fair to them. I have two pictures of them from my wedding framed and in my office and their facial hair is not what I notice.

    • Jashshea

      Distracted from the original point by your pix: OMG, PRETTY!

      That is all.

      • Kelly Prizel is AMAZING! (And one of the first APW sponsors!!!)

        • Another Kate

          YES! We love her!

  • Alyssa

    I have to say… I fell into the trap of brides “dressing the men.” Oh, how I wish my husband had worn his glasses! All the mothers around me convinced me that “the pictures would look better” without glasses which could become dated. *sigh* Of course they would become dated. So would my hair, dress, etc…
    I fell in love with the man in glasses, and he almost never wears contacts now. I’m so glad I came to my senses eventually – he wore them at the reception. Those are my favorite photos from our wedding because we look how we look!
    Love the man, though. He never ever made me feel bad about the whole shebang!

    • kyley

      Aww, I think that’s the whole crazy thing about weddings. So many people are sharing their opinions, and it can be really hard to figure out what *you* want in the midst of all that noise. I’m so glad you have pictures with and without glasses!

      I’m struggling with this question myself. I have contacts, for wearing to the beach & skiing, and every once in a while for a change of pace, but other than those situations I always, always wear my glasses. I’m afraid that if I wear my glasses at my wedding, then I won’t look glamorous or special or pretty enough on that day. And I’m also afraid that if I wear my contacts, I won’t look like myself enough. Your story is helpful to think about.

      • I wear glasses every single day, and contacts for ‘special occasions’ (being a bridesmaid.. and a party, I think, were the only times in the past 2 years?). I decided I wanted to wear contacts for our wedding as I wanted to really see my eyes in the photos, especially during the ceremony. I didn’t want the risk of obscuring my emotion by being behind glasses, if that makes any sense. My glasses are ‘me’ though, so it was a difficult decision. I decided to wear my glasses for the engagement photos, see how they looked and how I felt, and go from there.

        I *love* that I wore them for our engagement photos, as those photos represent the everyday ‘us’, but I still decided to go with contacts for the wedding day and I’m so glad I did. Some of the engagement photos, due to the angles, you just can’t see my eyes properly, and I feel that loses a lot of the emotion.

        I have seen photos of a bride who put her glasses on for the speeches and the rest of the night, so she has a bit of both, and I think that’s a good solution too.

        • kyley

          Oh, this is something I had not thought of! Thanks for sharing your thoughts/experience. It is really helpful!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        I had a strong prescription before I had Lasik after college. Being one of those girls who did daydream about her wedding, I wondered if I’d wear glasses for my wedding. The more photos of myself that I looked at, the more I realized, I squinted whenever I wasn’t wearing my glasses. I’d prefer photos with glasses.

        My fiance still has a strong prescription, but he prefers photos of himself without glasses. We have 2 engagement photos of him in glasses (We were reading.), and I like those just as much as the rest.

      • I bought new glasses for the wedding – mainly because my usual pair has transition lenses and they can photograph strangely. They worked out pretty well for me: Our excellent photographer managed to make sure that we both had eyes behind our glasses in all the photos.

        We wouldn’t have looked at all like ourselves without them.

        • Alyssa

          Gorgeous!! So glad you went with your gut, and your photographer supported you. Seriously, that photo is stunning. :)

  • Rachel Wilkerson

    Part of the reason I’m excited to have a winter wedding is because my fiancé has a beard that time of year! I am SO pro-beard for the big day!

  • My husband grew a mustache and goatee in 2007 for a play he was in (Pirates of Penzance). And then decided he liked it. I had NEVER been a fan of facial hair before, but it really suited him and I think it gives definition to his face and he looks smokin’ with it. He looks great without it too though (which is how I originally met him).

    He kept it for engagement photos but decided on his own to shave it for the wedding in 2009. He actually shaved it a little earlier than he’d planned when he set the clippers too low when he went to trim it. Took me a while to get used to him clean shaven actually. He decided that on his own because he wanted the photos to be, in his words, timeless rather than dated.

    A week after the wedding it started growing it again and the only time he’s shaved it since was when we dressed as Chuck and Sarah last year for Halloween. His mom and sisters think he should get rid of it permanently, which might be part of why he’s keeping it actually. Some things about siblings never change.

    I would’ve been just fine with him doing it either way and let him decide. Facial hair is what he’s doing right now, but he has no idea if it will be a permanent thing. He’s actually spoken recently of getting rid of it all together because of the upkeep required.

    There is a difference between well kept and not though. A wedding is a day for well kept I think. Shame there’s not more out there for guys other than “do what the bride tells you to do” because that’s just wrong.

  • If it helps at all, my husband had a beard for our wedding day, just as he has done for the past few years. He also has long hair.. longer than mine.. that is kept in a ponytail. Both his beard and his hair were incredibly unkempt. He rocked up to the wedding with his hair tied back with a bright blue hairtie that belonged to our 18 month old daughter (while his outfit consisted of a black shirt, black shorts, black vans, with a deep purple tie. the blue sure stood out.).

    All that I see when I look at our photos is that it’s him. That is the man that I see every day. That is the messy facial fuzzyness of a beard that doesn’t really grow in all the places it should, and looks a lot like hair from another region. That is the slightly off center ponytail with random flyaway hairs all around his face. I don’t notice these things in our pictures, because I don’t notice them in our daily life, it is just him. The man that I married. Had he shaved his beard off, or cut his hair short, all I would see what the lack of him. It just wouldn’t be right. I’d see someone trying to be what they felt they should be like and not what they wanted to be like.

    I hate the notion that the groom just has to do as he’s told and then turn up. It’s his day too, and all eyes are on him too. He needs to feel comfortable in his own skin, and I think that is often forgotten about in the whirlwind of bridal preparations. I also got asked if I would *make* him shave or *make* him cut his hair. My husband wore shorts to our wedding. Regular cargo shorts that I dyed black in the machine, as his request, to make him feel more ‘formal’. He wears shorts every single day of his life, as he is uncomfortable in trousers as they make him hot. He wore a short sleeved shirt too, and no jacket. I never imagined him wearing trousers, let alone a suit. He actually asked my permission to wear shorts on our wedding day, and it made me so sad to think that he felt that he felt he needed to. He thought I would say no, because it wasn’t what he was ‘supposed’ to do and that the bride was meant to want things the way they were ‘supposed’ to be. What is that? I want him, the way that he is. Happy.

    • kyley

      Well, this just made me grin from ear to ear!

  • Spicy MacHaggis

    As a guy, I can tell you the beard thing is not nearly as complicated as it seems. Your guy can go to the barbershop and tell the barber to “clean it up.” There. Done.

    • Ash

      solid advice from a guy about beards. word.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    Fellow Giants fans: Don’t fear the beard, but insist he stay off the unnecessary testosterone supplements.

    Dad has had a beard since before he met Mom. Obviously, he has a beard in all their wedding photos (from the 70s – powder blue tuxes and feathered hair and all). I don’t think it detracts anything from the formality or beauty of the day. Obviously, he’ll have one for my wedding. I’m sure he’ll trim it and shave around it, like he always does for anything close to a dress-up occasion.

    My future husband can’t grow facial hair. He also has skin issues that make it hard to shave, and nose hair. I’ve requested he get a professional shave the morning of the wedding.

    Also, I have no problem making long-term plans to look my best ever on my wedding day. The year we were dating was (unrelated to dating) a time when I worked on several health issues that’d been festering for a few years. This year we’re engaged is a time I’ve decided to work on some more cosmetic things. I started using whitening toothpaste. I went on pills for my acne. I’ll concentrate on Pilates in the few weeks before the wedding, to perfect my posture.

    It’s not about vanity. It’s about challenging myself. I could pick an arbitrary date for these visible healthiness goals, but I get the most “bang for my buck,” meaning my efforts, on a day when there’s already a photographer and 100 friends and family to see my efforts.

    And it is about health. This isn’t starving myself to fit into a sleek wedding dress. (When I ordered my dress, I actually told them I intended to gain weight before the wedding, and I have. I was coming off of 4 stressful weeks of skipped meals and no weight training.) In an ideal world, I’d be able to maintain these good habits, but in this real world, I have to prioritize projects. And you can’t stay on antibiotics forever.

    • If he’s planning on the professional shave, you might suggest he try it before the morning of the wedding as I’ve heard those are a bit closer than a normal at home shave and can leave a face raw if you are not used to them.

      • ElisabethJoanne

        He gets them regularly.

  • Lauren

    Beards! My man has a beard and I hate it when he shaves. It’s all about the beards.

  • Lauren

    My fiancé grew a little beard during a month where our schedules were so diametrically opposed that I didn’t see him at all. He decided he liked it and has had it for two years by now. At first, I HATED it because he can only grow a little soul patch thingy (it’s actually fluffier but that’s the best approximation). But then we set a schedule where he shaves around the beard area about once a week, and I trim his beard once a month. It’s actually really fun and it’s helped me understand his love of the beard (and, of course, shaving cream fights!) I’m glad he stuck to his guns and kept it, too. I have grown to think its kind of cute.

  • pixie_moxie

    Speaking as a bride that wore a dress I bought for a wedding that didn’t happen, my dress was all about what felt most authentic to me. I had many debates with myself, many people were offended that I would consider even doing so. The most important conversations I had though were the ones I had with my now husband! We talked it out so many times. What ended up working for me was I altered it slightly to make on original for our wedding. The accessories were original to our wedding as well. Its not right for everyone but you have to do what feels right for you guys.

    My husband debated keeping or shaving his facial hair, he ended up keeping it but went to a barber to get a hot shave and a trim the day before for some pampering and trimming.

  • Spines

    100% yes to the beard! There’s nothing like a man with facial hair!

    Clearly I have a thing for beards, it must come from my Mum, she’s threatened to divorce Dad if ever shaved his beard, haha! I actually encouraged my fiancé to grow his beard in the first place, and I LOVE how he looks with it, as he’s so baby faced without it. I would be truly upset if he shaved it off for our wedding! Of course, I can only be like this because he loves it too, it is his face after all. He made a comment about me being able to do anything I liked with my hair, “as long as it’s not short” and I set him straight pretty quickly that it’s MY hair, so I can do what I want; I’d be pretty hypocritical if I didn’t extend him the same sentiment.

    My challenge is accepting him with a shaved head (not til after the wedding though!) because he’s slightly thinning and wants to know what it will look like shaved…the part I’m most worried about is him potentially having to get rid of the beard if he shaves his head!

  • Emily

    My husband usually rocks the scruffy look, and he looks 15 years old when he’s clean shaven! He went scruffy for the wedding, to my total delight, and the groomsmen took him to get a hot straight razor shave for his neck the day of. A WARNING ABOUT THIS: remind your guy or whoever is taking him to tell the barber that they are about to go to a wedding and that he is the groom. Guys don’t think to play the wedding day card like girls do. The best man ended up with the most experienced shaver in the shop, and got an awesome shave. However, my husband ended up with the total novice, and it ended up as bad as if he had shaved with a Bic! My maid of honor had to go put makeup on his neck before the ceremony to cover the razor burn! (it was no big deal in the end and we laughed about it then and now)

    Guys want to look their best on their wedding day, just like we do. My husband fell in love with this tie I hated, but he wanted to wear it to the wedding. When he asked if I liked it, I failed at hiding my dislike, so he didn’t buy it. I felt so guilty, I went back and bought it for him the next day. And you know what? He looked so handsome from head to toe that day, tie and all.

  • Katie

    I have to comment on the conversation about the dress. I am in a similar situation, I almost got married 3.5 years ago and plan to actually marry the right person for me about a year from now. I don’t know know if I’ll end up wearing the dress that I already have but I can say that based on our planning, this event is sounding a lot like the previous one I had planned. In fact as we have been looking for a ring the biggest obsticle is how much I love the one I already have, we actually talked about using it, although both of us decided that wouldn’t be a great idea.

    This process just making me realize that I was being true to myself all along especially because this time he and actually AGREE

  • Lainey

    I’m super late in the game here, but just in case the OP checks back…I was also in the position of wearing a wedding dress from a previous broken engagement. The dress was still sitting in my mom’s closet when I got engaged to my now-husband. She’d tried to sell it multiple times, but with no luck. When my husband and I initially got engaged, I thought about wearing it, but friends and family tried to dissuade me (my mom said the idea was “creepy”). Given our limited budget and the fact that my taller-than-average height makes buying off-the-rack difficult, I had an extremely hard time finding a new dress. I ended up settling on a gown that was affordable and elegant, but didn’t make me jump for joy. Long story short, a few weeks before our wedding, a seamstress ended up irreconcilably screwing up my new dress. After a panicked shopping day, I drove to my parents’ house and tried on the original wedding dress. It fit like a glove, needed no alterations, and was absolutely perfect. As my mom laced up the back, we both started crying. I am generally not very sentimental, but I am totally convinced that dress was meant to be. My husband was thrilled that I would be wearing a dress I loved (and that wouldn’t cost any more money), and I am so happy about my decision. If it’s what your heart desires, just be upfront with your partner. It’ll only be awkward if you approach it as such. If you’re down with letting him see the dress and how smashing you look in it, that may also assist him in understanding that the dress is just about you, and has nothing to do with your ex. Best of luck!

  • Speaking as a bride that wore a dress I bought for a wedding that didn’t happen, my dress was all about what felt most authentic to me.I have to comment on the conversation about the dress. I am in a similar situation, I almost got married 3.5 years ago and plan to actually marry the right person for me about a year from now.

  • Dysfunctional in Des Moines

    Thank you for all the responses…they have been truly helpful! Especially seeing that I am not alone in this situation. I’m not yet sure what to do…but I know there will a conversation either way. Thank you!! – DDM


    Hi all…DIDM here. I am officially engaged! And….I got a new dress. It’s perfect. Thanks again for all your comments and support. :)