A Helpful Guide for the Tattooed Bride
By Felicity Newburry

14 October 2015

Tattoo art is one of the many ways we can express ourselves in a tangible and personal way. Whether you sport a dainty wrist tattoo or your ink decorates almost every square inch of your body, your tattoos are special and unique to you. When it comes to the big day, there is often a lot of anxiety amongst brides-to-be about their tattoos. Here at Wellington Weddings, we’ve created a go-to guide with some awesome images of brides who have totally rocked their ink as well as some helpful hints for those wanting to cover it up.

Cover Image by Sarah McEvoy Photography & image above by ​J Wood Berry Photography 

If you want to rock your tattoos:

You got your ink for a reason, right? Whether it has certain significance to you or you just love the design, you’ll want to choose a dress that allows you to flaunt your tattoos proudly on your wedding day! The most flattering designs are the ones that fully exhibit your artwork, rather than hide or cut them off partway. There are styles that suit certain tattoo placements better, so read on for some helpful advice!

1. The Simplistic Sweetheart

If you’re displaying chest tattoos, a sweetheart neckline will be the right cut for you. You’ll want to choose a neckline that is low enough to do your designer ink justice, but not too low that you feel uncomfortable. Sweetheart necklines also double as one of the most flattering cuts for both busty and smaller-chested women alike.

tattooed bride

Dan O'Day Photography

2. A Lovely Low Back

If your back is your own personal masterpiece, then your best dress option is a low-backed gown. There are varying styles of the low-backed dress, so consult with your dressmaker for the best design to show off your tattoos. Often when choosing a dress that reaches below mid-back, it’s a good idea to have a slightly higher neckline to balance it out.

3. Stunning Short Sleeves

Forearm, wrist, and hand tattoos look great when showcased by a short to three-quarter-length sleeve. It is a beautiful design choice to opt for a sleeve that will blend seamlessly into your lower-arm tattoos. Sleeves that can accomplish this are often made of sheer fabric or feature a scalloped edge.

tattooed bride

Mike Allebach Photography

4. Sophisticated and Strapless

The ultimate cut for a bride wanting to show-off her half to full-sleeve tattoo is the elegant strapless dress. With no straps or sleeves obstructing the exhibition of your arms or shoulders, this cut is also ideal for brides with tattoos that make their way up and across the shoulder.

5. Accentuate your Designs

A bold choice would be to choose a dress that draws attention to your tattoos, making them the feature of your outfit. This would involve selecting a dress that covers any un-inked skin and reveals all that is decorated. For example, a high-necked, full backed dress would frame the tattooed arms from the shoulder down.

tattooed bride

Wedding Bee

How to tone down your ink or hide it:

If you’re really set on hiding your artwork for the day, here are some tasteful and stylish cover-up avenues that you can explore. Read on to find the best option for you.

1. Wear a Wrap

Shawl style wraps tend to be quite sheer and are unlikely to completely obscure any large tattoos you may be trying to cover. However, they will tone them down considerably and small tattoos will be unnoticeable. Shawls are also great for weddings held in hot weather because they’re lightweight and easily discarded, so they won’t become burdensome. An alternative to the shawl wrap is to wear a faux fur stole. These will completely obscure any tattoos visible on your arms or back and are perfect for colder weather.

bridal shawl

Advantage Bridal (left) Natalia Misslin 2008 Bridal Collection (right)

2. Bolero Options

A bolero will cover tattoos anywhere on your arm depending on the length of your sleeve and the size of your shoulder tattoos and anything on your back. Bridal trends are seeing boleros made of lace and mesh, however full coverage can be achieved with a structured, silk, or satin bolero.

3. Go for Gloves

For hand, wrist, and forearm cover-ups, gloves are a great option and will also bring a vintage flare to your ensemble. Like most bridal accessories, gloves are typically sheer (made of net or lace) and as such, will make your tattoos less obvious. If you want your tattoos to be completely hidden however, cotton gloves are the best option.

bridal gloves

One Wed

4. Full Coverage

If you’re purposely trying to hide your tattoos but don’t want to make it obvious, a good style of gown is one that fully covers your inked areas. These dresses might feature long sleeves, a high neck, or a full back and are very elegant and trendy.

5. Talk to Your Makeup Artist

Your final option is to turn to your make-up artist. Tattoos can be concealed, creating a look of fresh, un-inked skin, but as anyone who wears makeup knows – it rubs. If you want to hide your tattoos with makeup, this will only work if the tattoos are in a place that will not come into constant contact with your dress. The only practical places to get your ink covered are your chest, neck and at a stretch, your back. However, the choice is yours!

bridal gown