Friday, May 25, 2012

Unsolicited Advice for Brides-To-Be: Tan Lines

When I started to write this post, I did not know if "tan lines" was spelled as one or two words.  I guessed it was just one word but Google proved me wrong.  I also discovered there is a very thorough Wikipedia entry for tan lines.  I can't decide if it's a joke  entry or not, but I now know more about tan lines than I thought possible.  (And at least someone at Wikipedia has a sense of humor).

Some brides go to great measures to look tanned for their wedding day.  They sunbathe for hours and visit those spray tanning booths.  I know the spray tan booths are safe and won't give me cancer, but I also know that if I went, my experience would be similar to the Friends episode when Ross tried to get a tan

Here's the advice portion of this post: you need to make a decision about your tanning status several months before the wedding.  If you want a nice tan, figure out how to achieve that glow well in advance of the happy day.  Don't visit a spray tan booth for the first time a week before your wedding!

If you are naturally pale, embrace your paleness!  Your groom fell in love with you, paleness and all, and he doesn't expect you to become a different person for your wedding.  (If he does, you need to dump that jerk immediately if not sooner).  But if you are going to be pale on your wedding day, you need to be aware of tan lines and how they will look with your gown.

I myself am a pale vampire.   If I sit in the sun for too long, I turn to ash. I apply sunblock religiously, even on rainy days. When I'm out in the garden, I wear a big absurd sun hat.  For my wedding, I decided to be my usual, pale self. 

My dress was strapless with a low back and floor length skirt.  This meant my legs were on their own.  There could be zebra-stripe tan lines on my thighs, for all I cared.  But my arms, back, shoulders, neck and collarbone region?  I had to keep that zone an even shade of pale.

And thus began a constant war, Courtney vs. the Sun.  For several months, I carried sunblock with me everywhere and reapplied it obsessively.  I avoided the sun and if I was outside, I took long detours just to stay in the shade.  If I wanted to swim outside, I wore a strapless swimsuit.

Be aware of your skin tone and the amount of time you spend in the sun (unless you think a farmer's tan is hot).  But also know that a tan line is not going to ruin your wedding or marriage.  I stopped paying attention to my sun exposure about two days before the wedding and had a faint tan line as I exchanged wedding vows with Nathan.  But you know what?  The wedding was still perfect, tan lines and all.

I got married in July 2011, and now I have lots of opinions about weddings. My baby sister Katherine (aka Spucky) is ten years younger than me. Someday, she will get engaged and I will want to go into crazy big sister mode and inundate her with advice. Instead, I'm writing blog posts so when she gets engaged, she can read (or not read) my advice at her leisure.