The One With The Faux Glow

To tan or not to tan—that is the age-old pre-wedding question.

I’m pale. I used to tan easily when I was a kid, and my hair would turn white-blonde. As I grew older, I started turning more red than golden brown, and my hair stayed the same shade. Thinking back, it may have had more to do with the fact that I had obligations, studying and work in the summers instead of tag, swimming and day camp.

For our wedding, I assumed for years I would be tan. I burn easily, even with SPF 60, so actual sun tanning is out. Same goes for the tanning beds—not really my thing. That leaves spray tanning.

You probably know what’s coming next”¦

I don’t want to pull a Ross.

I’ve had one spray tan in my life. It was right after Cam and I first started dating and I wanted to look extra good at a wedding we were going to. Suffice it to say, I looked ridiculous. I took a picture on my phone while the bronzer was drying (which is now long gone or I swear I’d show it to you), and laughed out loud at it for months.

Fast forward three years and I started thinking about getting another spray tan. Of course, I wanted to try it out before the big day, and started looking into appointments in town for my bridal shower/bachelorette weekend. As I was reading Yelp reviews of spray tanning salons in town, I realized something:

I’m pale. I’ve been pale as long as Cam has known me. I’ll probably be pale forever. Why would I want to be a weird shade of tan and possibly orange on my wedding day?

I quit my search. I’ll be my normal, pale self on my wedding day. Although pale doesn’t look as good in white as tan does, I want to look like me.

How do you all weigh in on the great spray tan debate, hive?


Mrs. Camera

Charlotte, NC/Charleston, SC
Wedding Date:
September 2013
A Highland Fairy Tale: We Watch Me Cry/Laugh Down the Aisle
DIY: Etched Wine Glasses

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  1. orchard Member
    orchard 72 posts, Worker bee @ 7:07 am

    I think you made the right choice! You will look beautiful and radiant no matter what and the last thing you need to worry about is what could go wrong (and their are lots of possibilities!) with a spray tan. :)

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    Amanda, Guest @ 7:11 am

    I’m also pale, and my husband loves me that way! He gets upset when I get too tan (which by most standards is NOT TAN). So it was an easy decision for me! Most of all I think we should look like ourselves on our wedding day…so if that’s pale, rock it!

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    39bride, Guest @ 7:16 am

    Yay for pale brides! The best thing is that if you wear a white dress, the contrast with the pinkness in your skin will give you a beautiful, healthy glow (as I can tell you from experience).

  4. gloves Member
    gloves 190 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:17 am

    I definitely agree that everyone looks best when they are happy with what they look like. That being said- I for sure was spray tanned the morning before my wedding! You’re right, it looks ridiculous on me when the bronzer is still working its magic, but after I shower off the bronzer, the leftover fake bake evens out my skin tone, so my face, neck and chest are the same color, and gives me such a nice glow…I love it!

  5. mswallaby Member
    mswallaby 2070 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:20 am

    I went pale to our wedding too and surprisingly I don’t look like a ghost in all of our photos – the pro make-up and the ivory color of my dress helped a lot! Anyways, it always weirds me out a little bit to see friends’ wedding photos on Facebook where they are 10 SHADES DARKER than they are in real life… Not natural at all. You’re def making the right choice!
    P.S. So sad you didn’t share the spray tan photo 😉

  6. Member
    kristen182 465 posts, Helper bee @ 7:20 am

    YES. YES YES YES. Good for you!!! That line about how Cam has always known you as pale hit it on the mark.

    Don’t try to be someone you’re not!

    My FI is the same – and he loves my fair skin and all, and would actually be turned off if I went for a spray tan.

    PS, I think I look great in white, so I disagree with that comment 😉

  7. rucksack Member
    rucksack 518 posts, Busy bee @ 7:21 am

    I’ve just been using Jergens Daily Glow lately (the med-dark even though I’m kind of pale) and everyone has been commenting on how great my tan is and can’t believe it’s fake. It’s just tan enough that I don’t look overdone and still look like me.

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    js, Guest @ 7:25 am

    Tan, tan, tan! For so many reasons-the ceremony was on the beach, in Florida, my tan fat looks better than pale fat ;-), my teeth seemed whiter, I looked healthier, my dress looked better- overall, I felt better tan. You do you! As long as your happy, that’s all that counts. Also, not that it matters but loreal sublime sunless tanning spray is super easy to use and like $10, for anyone who wants to give it a shot for cheap, per-wedding.

  9. bluewhale Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 8:01 am

    Pale is awesome! I went pale and loved it! I always say that I want to look like a porcelain doll. Doesn’t that sound much more awesome than “pale”? :)

  10. sword Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:37 am

    I wrote about this exact topic! I love that there are more and more fair/pale brides out there, let’s bring this back IN!

  11. Member
    ecjohnson 157 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:53 am

    I spray tanned and am so happy that I did. However, as a teacher, a lot of my time during the summer is spent trying to tan and my husband is a carpenter so he is very tan. Plus, I love how it makes me look skinnier-always a win! But, I have a very good friend who has this pale-ish olive skin so some people definitely pull off the no tan look much better!

  12. mswaterfall Member
    Mrs. Waterfall 1403 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:21 am

    hahahaha, Ross is an 8! I love that epi.
    I have the exact same problem, people always think dark when they think Cuban, but I’m white as F, and if I don’t tan gradually, I burn. I’m with you, I was a pale bride, and I think it looks so soft and romantic (looking back, I was practically translucent, but anyways).
    You want to look like your normal self on your wedding day (only better), nobody wants to look back in 20 years and think what was I thinking???

  13. jetsetter Member
    jetsetter 535 posts, Busy bee @ 9:24 am

    As as fellow pale, freckled bride – I support you on this one! Point is, you want Cam to recognize you! He fell in love with pale, he will always love pale. :)

    I will be somewhat NOT pale, but only because our wedding is in October and I live right near the beach! (Being very careful of tanlines!)

  14. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:38 am

    I had the opposite problem. I live on a sunny place and tan easily, so I had to avoid the sun on the months leading up to the wedding to avoid looking too tanned.

  15. Member
    MNbrideSteph 11 posts, Newbee @ 11:21 am

    I’m all about being yourself, but at the same time achieving that bridal “glow.” I like Ms. Rucksack’s idea of using a lotion like Jergens or if you really want some fancy stuff I recommend the sunless tanning stuff by Clinique – no mess no fuss. AND you can use it till you get the color you want and stop, no unnecessary Ross orange-ness! But just be yourself, if Cam loves your skin color now he’ll love it on the day of too!

  16. Member
    seeingdaisies 150 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:01 pm

    I was debating on wether or not to spray tan. I don’t think I will because I can get a nice upper body glow with just a couple of days in the sun and that’s all I’ll need. Nobody is going to be seeing my legs, except my FI, on my wedding day and they were the only reason I was considering a spray tan. I say out with the spray and in with natural beauty!

  17. Member
    fridaythe13bride 291 posts, Helper bee @ 1:22 pm

    I personally think spray tans are gross and unnatural. Glad to hear you’re embracing your paleness! I have very pale-olive skin, but I tan super easily and hate it! I’m actually trying to avoid the sun as much as possible this summer, so I’ll be “pretty in pale” for my Sept wedding.

  18. Member
    fridaythe13bride 291 posts, Helper bee @ 1:23 pm

    @Mrs. Toadstool: Haha I just said the same thing above! ^

  19. Member
    solsticedark 254 posts, Helper bee @ 1:57 pm

    I’ve been one shade above ghost aka pale for my whole life, so I see no reason to start changing it now. So yes I will be rocking my moon tan on my wedding day.

  20. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 3:51 pm

    I didn’t try to get a tan or not get a tan and I’m completely happy with that decision, why stress about your skin color when you have plenty of other things to worry about :)

  21. mspalmtree Member
    Mrs. Palm Tree 1122 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:55 pm

    I was going to say what @Mrs. Sword said – that she wrote about this as well.

    I think that every Bride needs to do whatever will make her feel like the best version of herself – regardless if that means said Bride is pale, orange, or somewhere in between the two. I’m glad you found what works for you. :)

  22. Member
    misssemi 136 posts, Blushing bee @ 4:05 pm

    Nothing new to add but – all of the sidebar ads on this page are now for tans! Oh, and one for Body Shop body butter/exfoliating cream.

  23. Guest Icon Guest
    soontobee, Guest @ 9:26 am

    They have other options than “the box tan.” We plan on getting sprayed by a stylist- it looks great and surprisingly natural! good luck!

  24. Member
    mrsskeletonkey 3459 posts, Sugar bee @ 9:56 am

    I used a self tanner from Bare Escentuals called “Faux Tan” & it worked wonderfully. It’s not orange & all, & even though I’m naturally slightly olive skin toned, I used it on my maid of honor who is basically albino, & it worked awesome on her too!
    The only advice I have about it, is to make sure you exfoliate really well before applying it with the brush, & before your wedding day, make sure your last application is the day before the wedding. My dress got a little stained around the arm pits because I applied it the morning of my wedding.
    The bottle is huge & it comes with a neat little application brush. I got mine for a great deal on QVC. I would never get a spray tan because I’ve seen some really terrible ones on some of my friends lol.

  25. Member
    Mrs. Rubber Stamps 821 posts, Busy bee @ 9:24 am

    That is one of the best Friends episodes!

    I am all about being my natural pale self. I didn’t want to look like someone different on my big day. To each her own though, as long as you are happy with your decision!

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