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The Do's and Don'ts of Tanning for Brides: Wedding Wednesday

All couples want to look amazing on their wedding day. Some will start new exercising routines, other's will eat a little better, and some will hire makeup and hair vendors for their wedding. Some bride's (although this blog post is geared towards brides it will also hold true for those grooms who tan) will consider tanning before their wedding. We all know the dangers of tanning and the risk of skin cancer and the tanning lotions and creams have chemicals that probably aren't the best for your body.

I am a huge supporter of not tanning before your wedding. You really aren't going to look as white as you think you will look! Since you will have on your white dress, your skin will actually look more tan than normal. Plus, not tanning will make your skin tone look natural and fresh. In the long run you will be happier with your wedding portraits if you stay true to the real you. Excessive tanning, dieting, or extreme measures is not necessary!

With those caveats aside, here are the do's and don'ts if you do choose to tan on your wedding day.

Self Tanner

Using self tanner for your wedding is a pretty big don't. Unless you are an avid user of self tanners I would steer clear of them. Self tanner is harder to apply even and ends up making you look more orange than the other tanning methods. Looking blotchy or orange is NOT what you want to happen for your wedding day! Self tanners are also known to rub off on your clothing. If you do choose to use self tanner, make sure you exfoliate beforehand and keep your skin well moisturized. Test out the self tanner that you choose well before your wedding to make sure it will not cause an allergic reaction and so you know how it reacts to your skin.

Spray Tans

Spray tans such as a Mystic Tan or the other variety that you get at a tanning salon is a better option than using self tanner. They are applied a lot more evenly and do not look as orange. If you are unfamiliar with using spray tans then you will want to do some research so you know how to stand in the machine to achieve the best results. Just like self tanners, get a test spray tan well in advance of your wedding to make sure it will not cause an allergic reaction. Spray tans are also known to cause some spotting when they fade. Getting one done well before your wedding will help you figure out the ideal time to get one for your wedding so you will not spot. Depending on your skin, spray tans can rub off on your clothing so you will want to wear a white shirt after your spray tan test to see if it is going to come off on your wedding dress.

Tanning Beds

Again, tanning beds are linked to skin cancer so please use these sparingly if you choose to do so. My recommendation is to talk to the tanning specialist at your tanning salon to see which beds they recommend and the length of time you should use them for. Always wear your eye protection and don't stay in for longer than needed. You will not want to be burnt! If your skin starts to feel hot, go ahead and get out. Since tanning beds are more like laying out in the sun, you will achieve a more natural tan and there will not be a risk of anything rubbing off on your white dress.

Tanning in the Sun

Again, tanning in the sun is linked to skin cancer as well so please keep this in mind. To lessen your risk, use sunscreen. You will still achieve a tan by using sunscreen and you will help shield your skin from the harmful UVA and UVB rays. Tanning in the sun will provide the most natural looking tan and there will be no risk of anything rubbing off on your white dress.

Don't Forget About Tan Lines!!!!!

Regardless of which tanning method or lack of tanning that you choose, keep your tan lines in mind. Wearing a strapless dress and having a tan line from your bathing suit top will not be pretty. Invest in a bathing suit that follows the same cut of your wedding dress to lessen this risk. Also, keep tan lines in mind for more than just swimwear. If you are going out to the park, an outdoor festival or concert, or doing any other outdoor activity you can still develop tan lines. Instead of that tank top you may want to put on a strapless top.


Wedding Wednesday (formerly Monday Wedding Madness) is a blog series that occurs every Wednesday and answers the questions you have about wedding photography. Have a question you would like to have answered or something that you wish you would have known before your wedding or are you a wedding professional who would like to contribute? Send your questions to



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