A Fair Bride

It’s been a while since a bee or two has discussed the pros and cons of rocking your natural skin on the Big Day, and since we’re in the midst of winter weddings, I thought I’d share my thoughts on tanning/not tanning.

It’s been a running joke in my family for years that when I was growing up I was desperate to get a real tan by the end of the summer. I say by the end of the summer, because as all fair-skinned girls know, it doesn’t happen for us with one or two days in the sun. IT’S WORK. IT’S A PART-TIME JOB. And frankly, it’s nearly impossible. The comical part is after working so hard all summer, laying out with friends, hitting the pool, and begging my family for some beach time on the annual camping trip, my tan is all but gone by the time end of September rolls around. I would work so hard for months to see it disappear within a few weeks!

I used to fake and bake as well, but that quickly lost it’s luster due to money and the fear of getting skin cancer. It wasn’t until after college that I finally gave up tanning altogether. Enough was enough, and I decided to give up my goal of being a bronze goddess. And let me tell you, it was pretty freeing. I felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders.

Cut to the “year of the wedding,” and people are asking me if I’m going to get a spray tan (which I have done for other weddings and before a trip to LA), use tanning lotions, or fake and bake before the wedding, to which I reply, “I’m marrying a Scottish man. I won’t be the palest person at my wedding.” Nothing against Scottish people, but I’m sure we can all agree they aren’t the darkest group out there.

When I visited Scotland for the first time it was during a week in June, and everyone told me it was the warmest week they were going to get all summer. It was a heat wave. And it was like 65 degrees. I was wearing jackets and shivering!

Then there’s me, blonde-haired and blue-eyed with the fairest skin of anyone in my family. I’m Swedish and Norwegian from Dad Sword’s side and German and Russian from Mom Sword’s side. I like to joke that Mr. Sword and I are going to have translucent children. Lord help us.



I believe in doing whatever makes you feel amazing on your wedding day. But I don’t need to be tan to feel beautiful. It may have taken me a few decades to get to this point, but I’m OK with my skin color.

And word to the wise, if you want to make a lighter-skinned person happy, call them fair instead of pale. Fair also means beautiful, but pale is a negative term meaning “less than” such as when something pales in comparison to something else. Not as nice.

(all photos personal unless otherwise noted)

Are you a fair-skinned bride who is going au naturale on your wedding day or are you trying for that golden glow? What about other skin types (non Caucasian) people? What pressures do you feel from society in regards to beauty?


Mrs. Sword

Wedding Date:
March 2013

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  1. Member
    macmint83 132 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:49 am

    Scottish bride, getting married outside in Scotland in Early Summer – some people, in fact most people, think i’m mad!
    I would look out of place at our wedding if I had a tan, lotsa red haired fair skinned ones in our families! And then theres all the bare white knees that’ll be on show in the kilts!
    Will there be kilts at your wedding?

  2. Member
    raspberry bride 407 posts, Helper bee @ 12:31 pm

    I have really fair skin and I totally rocked it for the wedding. I also came to the same realization that you did and have embraced my skin tone for a long time now. The most important part is that you feel amazing and like (a more fancy version of) yourself!

  3. Member
    alyssa719 32 posts, Newbee @ 12:39 pm

    I just had this conversation with my fiance last night. I’m English/Irish/German. So like, pasty/translucent. I always have been – I have spent so much time and money trying to get tan and the only benefit I see from it is that maybe it would make my arms look slightly thinner… I just don’t want to be a tall oompa loompa for my wedding! :)

  4. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 12:47 pm

    Your fair skin is beautiful! The only ‘tan’ I had was from being outside over the summer, I actually got sun on our wedding day (and had the tan lines to prove it).

  5. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 1:02 pm

    I’m not a fair-skinned person; I’m actually very thankful that I tan easily and hold a tan pretty well (the Italian heritage totally beat the Irish and Polish for skin color ;) ). That having been said, during the winter months when I’m not outside and not tan, I look sick, especially in pictures – like, ‘did she just get out of the hospital? Her skin is kind of gray. . .’ sick. Eepies. Being that our wedding is at the end of May – before summer :( – I’ll probably look into fake skin color options, at least to get out of the sickly stage.

    All of that having been said, I totally commend your journey to self-acceptance. ;) I think it looks GREAT on you, with your coloring, and you will photograph so freaking well on your wedding day – you’ll look so soft and elegant, very princess-y.

  6. Member
    Miss Circe 2968 posts, Sugar bee @ 1:38 pm

    I’m Filipino but a very fair-skinned Filipino and trust me, I work hard to maintain my porcelain complexion. Always covering up, SPF 75+ sunscreen, the works lol! Embrace your fair skin ladies!

  7. Member
    ChicagoDreamer 509 posts, Busy bee @ 5:14 pm

    I love that you will be so “you” on your big day. I’d find it kind of strange to look at a winter wedding bride and see her too dark. You’ve got the right mindset anyways!

  8. Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:27 pm

    @Glasgowbound: So cool! Mr. Sword was born in Glasgow but raised in Airdrie!

    Seriously, i love all of these comments so much! Glad to know there are others rocking the fair skin!

  9. Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:28 pm

    @macmint83: Yay, welcome to you Scottish bride! Yes, we are having kilts! We designed our own tartan. You can read my old posts to learn more! :)

  10. Member
    ecjohnson 137 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:39 pm

    when my girlfriend got married, her fiance specifically requested that she not tan too much because it would make him look pale! so, i say rock it!!

  11. Member
    saus 41 posts, Newbee @ 8:59 pm

    My FH refuses to marry an ‘oompa loompa’ so no fake tanning for me! I am fair skinned and have decided to rock it at my wedding. I do a lot of cycling, so to ensure I don’t get the tan line from my jersey, FH bought me some sun sleeves to wear. I’d rather be pale all over, than have a tan line!

  12. Member
    Ms_Maple 115 posts, Blushing bee @ 4:05 am

    I am totally rocking the pale look. I even bought an ivory wedding dress because white would wash me out too much!

  13. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:22 am

    I can totally identify with you on the “being tan is a JOB” thing. I used to spend lots of time outside in the summer to get tan, and mine also would fade really quickly. I found this year that I actually held my color longer into the winter (I still have slight tan lines) by NOT tanning. So I’m pretty much translucent, but that’s okay (you can still tell I’m not as pale as I once was). I got pretty freaked out by the prevalence of melanoma in young people and decided it just wasn’t worth aging my skin and possibly getting cancer just to try to fit in with other people.

    I’m embracing my fair, healthy skin in everyday life, and even though I’ll probably be slightly sad not to be tan for our wedding, that’s just not who I am, and I’d rather be me on our wedding day!

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