Beard, or no beard for my wedding?
April 23, 2008 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Beard, or no beard for my wedding?

I’m getting married in less than two weeks. I’m having trouble deciding whether or not to shave my beard for the ceremony. It matters less for the actual day and more for the pictures, I guess. I’m undecided and my fiancée is terrified to answer and make a regretful choice.

Anyone disappointed in his or her spouse’s decision in regards to facial hair on the big day?

Photographers, any issues with beards? I’m wearing a black suit with a white shirt, if it matters.
posted by studentbaker to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (71 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, are you usually bearded ? I shaved for my wedding but I switch it up every few months.
posted by iamabot at 9:58 AM on April 23, 2008

I'd say go with whatever you're comfortable with. Nobody wants to be feeling unnecessarily awkward on their wedding day.
posted by youcancallmeal at 10:01 AM on April 23, 2008

Go with whichever one is more your normal style. Have you had a beard for a long time?

If you really can't decide, maybe put on a white shirt and black jacket, take some pictures, and see if either way looks significantly better to you.
posted by boomchicka at 10:04 AM on April 23, 2008

Best answer: No beard. You're young and in love and it's your wedding day. Don't hide your face behind a beard. When you're old and wrinkly, your grandkids will look at the pictures in awe that someone as old as their old Pop Pop could ever look so young.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:04 AM on April 23, 2008 [12 favorites]

You guys need to communicate. You want to know what she thinks and want to be sure that she isn't "disappointed." She is "terrified to answer."

Try a structured sit-down regarding what she wants re: beard. Consult with photographer if necessary.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:05 AM on April 23, 2008

You could try both: some pictures with the beard, then--after a quick shave--some without. You could also throw in some mad muttonchops or a fu manchu if you have the time. Imagine the future awesomeness of having three different looks in your wedding photos.
posted by arco at 10:06 AM on April 23, 2008 [11 favorites]

posted by Faint of Butt at 10:15 AM on April 23, 2008

When were you last clean-shaven? I've got a beard that hasn't come completely off for about fifteen years. I would not be shaving it, not because I cherish it so, but just because it's part of who I am. Shaving would be like bleaching myself blond just for my wedding: bizarre.

I say if you're a beardie, get wed in a beard. Then, when you look at the pictures you'll see yourself looking back. In the distant future, when you're old and wrinkly and styles have changed so that we're all chemically depilated (the better to fit into our oxygen masks), the kids will point in wonder that Pop Pop was such a remarkable looking swain, sporting the beard back when the earth wasn't yet dead.
posted by mumkin at 10:15 AM on April 23, 2008 [3 favorites]

Dude, we need pix now to tell you. All of this is rank speculation.

(Oh, and my dad got married with a beard and looks amazingly young, just to give an opposing opinion to TPS).
posted by klangklangston at 10:16 AM on April 23, 2008

How do you want to appear in your wedding photos, which will haunt you for the rest of your days? That is the only consideration I can think of. Obviously you will want to be neatly groomed either way. I have seen plenty of guys get married with beards, though, and so far as I am aware beardedness s not a particular issue for a photographer.

(Your spouse-to-be's preference might be an issue, but if she has a preference for clean-shaven faces, presumably you'd already know that.)
posted by kindall at 10:17 AM on April 23, 2008

I regret not shaving my beard for my wedding day. Go with a classic look.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:17 AM on April 23, 2008

As a woman, I would think she'd prefer to kiss you on your wedding day sans tickles, itching or poking, but may love the way you look with it. My husband had a goatee at our wedding and to be honest I was glad he kept it because he was kind of ugly without it. Also, food stuck in your beard at the reception = hilarious pictures.

But really, if you shave it at the last minute and have had it a long time, your face will be a bit lighter there, just where the hair grew. So ultimately, you being comfortable is probably the most important thing. If you shave it, do it the week before so your face is an even color.

I have a friend who's had a beard for about 5 years now. He shaved it for his current girlfriend (she's been seeing him for almost 3 years now and had never seen his face "naked"). When he did it, I was reminded he had a weak chin. So, you know what look is best for you, and we, internet strangers, probably do not.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:18 AM on April 23, 2008

arco has it. Make it something fun. And don't tell your guests what you're up to. It'll be really funny because some of them may notice and say something, and others will look at their pictures later and go, "wait a minute! He had a beard in the ceremony, and..."
posted by iamkimiam at 10:19 AM on April 23, 2008

How has your fiancée treated the beard during the time you've been together? Is it something she's hot for, or something she puts up with? Women vary wildly on this point, apparently. I fall into the "facial hair is awesome" category but my fiancé is cleanshaven and if he suddenly grew a beard before the wedding I'd be weirded out.

I think it's more important that YOU be comfortable, though. What feels more like yourself? Presumably you wouldn't change from boxers to briefs (or vice versa) on the special day because it'd distract you the whole time. You don't want to be thinking about your facial hair or lack thereof on your wedding day.
posted by desjardins at 10:20 AM on April 23, 2008

OK, duh. I see that you blogged about this, with beard and no-beard pictures, at the url in your profile, which certainly makes assessment easier. So, you have recently been beardless, and it's not a monster-awesome Gimli beard that you're proposing to chop.

Still, I'm gonna say beard. I have a bias, obviously, but I think it makes your face look more interesting.
posted by mumkin at 10:23 AM on April 23, 2008

I like the beard (if you make sure it's neatly trimmed). My father did not shave his beard (when he got married in *ahem* 1979), and it has a classic retro look that I really dig.

But then again, I love beards and am very sad when MuddDude shaves his wee little mustache and goatee.
posted by muddgirl at 10:27 AM on April 23, 2008

Beard. Absolutely beard.

You're getting the wedding haircut, I assume? Either as part of it, or before it, go to a barbershop - preferably one maintained by a sole elderly man. He will give you the best shaving/beard trim you've ever had in your life, and you'll look exceedingly dapper.

And oh man, now that I look at the pictures on your blog, I'm even more resolute in my support for the beard.
posted by god hates math at 10:33 AM on April 23, 2008

No. No no no.

Unless you have a face shape that really needs a beard to define it, you're just setting yourself up to look back at your pictures and say "really? what was I thinking?"
posted by Leon-arto at 10:37 AM on April 23, 2008

Like many people, you look about 10 years younger without the beard... you can decide for yourself what that means for your pics.

From a practical point of view, beard smoochies might mess up your lady's makeup.
posted by missmagenta at 10:41 AM on April 23, 2008

Based on the pics in your blog, I vote for no beard.
posted by Meagan at 10:42 AM on April 23, 2008

Hmmm, after seeing the pictures on your blog, I vote no beard. I think you look fine either way, but the beard pictures look more mountain man like. I think I'd only say keep the beard if it was super-unusual for you to be without one.
posted by MsMolly at 10:42 AM on April 23, 2008

I think you look younger and slimmer without the beard.
posted by meringue at 10:44 AM on April 23, 2008

No beard! Beards always sort of date a formal photo, and I think it's better to be as classic as possible, otherwise old photos can look pretty ridiculous. The 1970's is a great example of a decade that produced some seriously awful wedding photos, lol. And men are sort of trendily hairy again the last decade or so, just like they were in the 70's... Also, you are a very cute guy, why cover it up on this particular day?!
posted by zarah at 10:47 AM on April 23, 2008

A friend's father is a lifelong mustache guy.

If asked about it, he'll say, "The last time I was clean-shaven was my wedding day!"

You could say that too, might be fun.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:49 AM on April 23, 2008

I like the beard, myself. Then again, I'm biased. (Tons 'o family beards, + boyfriend with constant facial hair).
posted by at 10:49 AM on April 23, 2008

my fiancée is terrified to answer and make a regretful choice

Considering the larger choice she's making that day, a beard is small potatoes.

Go with what you're comfortable with. If ya'll look back in 10 years and think "huh, maybe you should have gone without the beard", then you guys are doing pretty good.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:49 AM on April 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Beard. It looks fine. (Unless your honey confesses she hates it, of course.)
posted by languagehat at 10:50 AM on April 23, 2008

I vote beard, makes you look a bit older, and I tend to like some scruff. Of course, we are talking well-groomed scruff for the wedding, but I still vote beard.
posted by Bibliogeek at 10:50 AM on April 23, 2008

I've looked at your pictures. You look nice both when you're shaven (you have a chin!) and when you're bearded. With the beard you look a little more rustic, and without you look younger.

Why is your fiancée terrified? There's documentary evidence that you look nice shaven, so what consequences does she fear? Does she LOVE your beard, or just put up with it? She may prefer the clean-shaven look, but not enough to make you do somethign either of you could regret. Do you really want to keep your beard, but family members are pressuring you to shave?

But if you are going to shave, make the decision soon. As Unicorn on the cob says, two tone faces can be distracting.
posted by maudlin at 10:53 AM on April 23, 2008

One can never have enough beard.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:55 AM on April 23, 2008

I'd say no beard, but you could try having it professionally trimmed/shaped to see how that looks. It just looks like you don't want to bother shaving (which I can understand), but currently it wouldn't "go" with a tuxedo or suit. You look like a Unix programmer, which is cool, but not very formal.
posted by amtho at 10:56 AM on April 23, 2008

Also, if you're in Atlanta (my former home), won't you be a bit warm? Especially with a suit _and_ a beard? Even if the wedding's indoors?
posted by amtho at 10:57 AM on April 23, 2008

Saw the blog. I also vote for no beard.
posted by mingshan at 11:08 AM on April 23, 2008

Saw the blog, and I think you look fine either way. Ask your fianceé what she wants and do that.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 11:17 AM on April 23, 2008

Response by poster: Wow, there are so many compelling arguments both ways. To answer some questions, I’ve had my beard for six months. I’ve known my fiancée for three years. She loves the beard, but also likes me sans beard. Maybe she’s not terrified of making the decision, she’s been thinking about it for days, since I first asked her, but she’s had to make a billion other decisions this past year regarding the planning and I feel like she’s burned out. I probably shouldn't have brought it up to her in the first place. I thought I would point her to this thread to get some guidance.

If I do keep the beard, I will get it professionally groomed. I didn’t even think about that. Thanks.

I do really like arco’s idea, but I do think I’d have a two toned face.

Either way, I’ll be sure to post the resolution in this thread. Thanks all.
posted by studentbaker at 11:18 AM on April 23, 2008

Beards always sort of date a formal photo, and I think it's better to be as classic as possible, otherwise old photos can look pretty ridiculous.

Formal photos always look dated five years after they were taken. That is the entire point of a formal photograph.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:20 AM on April 23, 2008

Best answer: I vote no beard. My dad had a beard on my parents wedding day, and it looks very dated when you look at the pictures. My husband shaved his beard for our wedding. I figure you need to look young and cute in the pictures, so your kids can look back in awe of how their old dad was so young once. The beard adds years on you.
posted by chiababe at 11:24 AM on April 23, 2008

I vote beard. But that might be because I was bearded for my wedding.

Also, up until about 6 months ago (we've been married 1.5 years), my wife had never seen me sans facial hair. When I did shave (I got bored, and she was still at work), she was terrified upon seeing my shaven face.

She told me later that it took her 3 days to recognize my face as that of her husband's again.

So if your fiance's never seen you shaven, that's something to keep in mind.
posted by agress at 11:31 AM on April 23, 2008

No beard. I saw the pictures.

I feel like your beard hides your face, and looks rugged now, but 30 years from now, you're going to be like, wtf was I thinking.

I think the key to a good wedding photograph is to look as timeless as possible- the fewer the wtf's you do, the better. No fancy hairstyle, no big hair, no ears pierced, etc.

Look at it this way: the safe option is no beard. It can't hurt you. You may think the beard makes you look cooler now, but the negative potential is there in the future.

minimize risk. no beard.
posted by unexpected at 11:34 AM on April 23, 2008

i think you should look like what you look like. if you've had a beard for years, then keep it. if you switch it up, i'd go with whatever your fiancee likes (if you don't care either way).
posted by thinkingwoman at 11:34 AM on April 23, 2008

My vote is do what makes you comfortable, rather than what is more fashionable. Those who are saying basically "beards are hot so you should keep it" or "beards are lame, so shave it" have the wrong idea. Of course you want to look good at your wedding. But that shouldn't come at the expense of being yourself. If the beard is an integral part of your style, then probably keep it. If you actually feel more comfortable with your look without a beard, then shave it. If you really could go either way and feel like yourself, then go with what looks best.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 11:35 AM on April 23, 2008

Saw the blog. I have a beard. I vote no beard for wedding. You look fine without it and, um... cleaner.
posted by rooftop secrets at 11:37 AM on April 23, 2008

And having looked at the pictures, if it comes down to whatever looks best, I vote beard. But like I said, if the beard is a part of the overall you, then keep it.

And I just have to say, no donuts? Oh man. My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures. Your will is strong, man.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 11:39 AM on April 23, 2008

Having seen your pics, I think you look way better with the beard than without. But then, I'm a bearded straight man and not your fiancée. You should really try to get her to express an opinion, and then pretend she was right even when you later decide she was wrong.
posted by nowonmai at 11:50 AM on April 23, 2008

Apropos of nothing but chance, I imagine, it's weird that the pictures on your blog are bearded-loner vs. fun-loving clean-shaven guy laughing with girlfriend. I'm not saying that you guys haven't been yucking it up in the past six months, but there's definitely a bit of bias towards beardlessness, based on photo content.

Also, there seems to be a lot of concern that in 10 years your wedding photos are going to look like something from the 70's. They will not. In 10 years your photos will look like something from 2008, back when guys had short hair and beards, as opposed to being the oh-so fashionable creatures that we'll be in 2018. You can't really hope to future-proof your pictures, and you shouldn't want to. You're getting married in 2008 and beardy is how you roll.
posted by mumkin at 11:55 AM on April 23, 2008

After reviewing your pictures - no beard. You will look better in formal wear without it.
posted by zia at 11:57 AM on April 23, 2008

Shave. Your. Beard.
posted by mkultra at 12:25 PM on April 23, 2008

Beard, beard, a thousand times beard.

But seriously, what do you plan to keep it as? Why would you radically change your look for a wedding?

Forget that "pictures are timeless" stuff. Memories are timeless. What you don't want is to remember that at your wedding, everyone looked at you funny because you shaved your beard. (Or because you suddenly grew one). The pictures, as zia said, will document a period in fashion history. They're meant to be laughed at.
posted by stevis23 at 12:34 PM on April 23, 2008

I saw your photos. (Why didn't you just post them here? It's not against the rules.) You seem like you are NOT someone who needs the beard to give your face its basic definition or to look like the "real you." The beard looks fine, but seems like a more casual variation on the basic you. The no-beard look seems like the neutral, "This is what I look like" version. The beard is fine, but it seems like it's exactly NOT a "wedding" beard -- it's more of an "I didn't feel like shaving for a while" beard. So I would shave the beard.
posted by jejune at 12:51 PM on April 23, 2008

My boyfriend had a beard on-and-off, but mostly on, for the past 2 years of the 4 years we've been together up until a few weeks ago. Every time he shaves it from a fully bearded state, I can hardly look him in the face for a week without being a little startled.
If your beard isn't as long-term as that, though, it probably wouldn't shock people, especially people you've known pre-beard and may have not even seen during your bearded time.

That said, everyone seems split in this thread. Maybe if you *really* can't decide, take the power out of your hands and flip a coin.
posted by fructose at 1:07 PM on April 23, 2008

After looking at the pictures, the options aren't really beard or no beard; they're frat boy vs. hot indie looking guy. I vote beard.
posted by youcancallmeal at 1:09 PM on April 23, 2008

Saw the pictures and I vote no beard.

Anyone else think the word "beard" is starting to look funny after reading through all the answers on this post?
posted by platinum at 1:12 PM on April 23, 2008

My husband had a beard when I met him, and he shaved it off about 6 months before the wedding so we were "safe" if he wanted to grow it back. When he came out of the bathroom after having shaved, I took one look at him and said "put it back on"! It wasn't that bad, I got used to it, but he did grow it back in time for the wedding. He looked so different without his beard!! I would vote for beard if it is what everybody is used to... You want to look like you in your wedding photos. Also, are you tan? Your skin under the beard may be untanned, and then you'd look like you have a reverse beard.
posted by molasses at 1:19 PM on April 23, 2008

i don't think any of us should vote. i think you should ask your fiancé. shouldn't it really up to her?

i'm getting married next month and i voted for him to keep his goatee because he's one of the few guys that can pull it off. he's acting accordingly. they pictures are likely a way bigger deal to me than they ever will be to him.
posted by eatdonuts at 1:24 PM on April 23, 2008

Your mentioning that the beard is a mere 6-months-old pushes me over to the "No Beard" side of the fence. If this were a beard you'd worn for the past 10 years I could see the argument that shaving it off for the wedding is going to cause you to not really look like yourself in your wedding photos. But since we're talking about a pretty recent addition to your look that risk just isn't there.

The way I look at it, if you keep the beard, there is the possibility that some years down the road, long after you stopped wearing a beard, you're going to look at your wedding photos and cringe a little. On the other hand, even if the beard becomes a regular part of your look for years and years to come, you probably will never look at your non-bearded wedding photos and cringe, since that is a traditional look and one you were used to having for at least some decent period of time.
posted by The Gooch at 1:48 PM on April 23, 2008

This isn't a big deal. Try to relax- your fiancee is terrified? Wow.

I say: no beard. Particularly if you plan to have kids who will mock you in the future. My Dad had a beard in his 60's wedding and it looks even sillier than the faux poet romantic white linen shirt he was wearing in the pics.
posted by arnicae at 1:49 PM on April 23, 2008

Saw the pic on the blog. I like the beard. Ask future-wife to be honest about what she thinks.

Good luck & congrats!
posted by cachondeo45 at 1:59 PM on April 23, 2008

After looking at the pictures, the options aren't really beard or no beard; they're frat boy vs. hot indie looking guy. I vote beard.

seconded! which one do you want memorialized?
posted by argylekneesocks at 2:04 PM on April 23, 2008

If you're paying for the wedding, your wife wants you to shave, and she's afraid you'll regret this.

How do I know this? Because she's terrified of telling you.

If your in-laws are paying, ask your future inlaws, and they'll never pester you for years to come, that you should have shaved. :D
posted by filmgeek at 2:14 PM on April 23, 2008

Best answer: No beard, only because it's easier to read the expressions on your face. I bet there's going to be a bunch of aw, look how he's looking at her shots, and the subtleties of your facial expression are important. But if you're shaving it off, do it soon, so that there's no rash or whatever.
posted by b33j at 2:39 PM on April 23, 2008

I'm a total beardo. But I still say shave it.
posted by box at 2:51 PM on April 23, 2008

Go with a classic look.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints

Go with the classic look of the beard. Beards weren't just popular in the 1970s, but also the 1870s, 1770s, and before.

More importantly, you have your beard now. The bride knows your face with it, presumably your parents and friends too. It will look very, very strange to be shaven if you're now a beard guy. You really, really don't want your bride looking at you like a strange doppelganger during the wedding day.

Instead, you should trim it, or find a barber nearby who will trim it for you. Just like you'll want your hair cut and groomed, the mountain-man beard is not the right look for a wedding.

Beards can look just as clean and formal as clean-shaven. Besides, you're getting married; sport the look of a man, not a boy.
posted by explosion at 2:53 PM on April 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

My husband had had a beard for a few years before our wedding, and I didn't even think about the possibility of him shaving it off for the day. He did trim it back quite a bit so it wasn't all mad and woolly. But I think of it as very much part of his look, and I think he looks better with a beard (even if the feel of it irritates me sometimes).

If you're not particularly fussed either way, let your fiance make the call (and let her know that you'll be happy whatever she chooses). Otherwise, go with whatever look you prefer. I personally like the beard.
posted by miss cee at 3:02 PM on April 23, 2008

More importantly, you have your beard now. The bride knows your face with it, presumably your parents and friends too. It will look very, very strange to be shaven if you're now a beard guy. You really, really don't want your bride looking at you like a strange doppelganger during the wedding day

He's had the beard for 6 months. Unless we are to assume that his bride, parents and majority of other wedding guests have only known him for the past 6 months, I think the idea that anyone would be shocked at the sight of him clean-shaven is a bit of a stretch. If anything, considering the fact the beard is a relatively new addition to a person who looks to be at least in his 20s, the bearded look is probably what is taking some getting used to among long-time friends and family who have known him primarily as beard-free for most of his life.

I'm not saying it's a ridiculous notion for studentbaker to keep his beard for his wedding. Just that the "you won't even look like *YOU* if you shave it" argument sort of lost any steam when the OP revealed it's only a few months old
posted by The Gooch at 3:49 PM on April 23, 2008

In the pictures where you have no beard, a woman appears. In the pictures with beard, no woman.

The choice is clear.

(Or, you could keep the beard but shave your head.)
posted by Caviar at 5:55 PM on April 23, 2008

If what you're really asking is: Do I look better with or without the beard? let me just answer that for you.

You are a handsome guy. Really. If she cops out, you can come sit next to me and we'll work something out. Shave the beard off and get married in all your smokin' glory.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:28 AM on April 24, 2008

I had a full beard for our rehearsal dinner, then appeared clean-shaven at the ceremony the next day. I knew it would be my wife's preference for me not to have a beard, but she didn't put an ounce of pressure on me. We've been married 7+ years now and I haven't had a beard since.
posted by Rafaelloello at 7:06 AM on April 24, 2008

After viewing the pics on your blog, I say "shave it."
Just my two cents.
posted by bozichsl at 8:33 AM on April 24, 2008

if you decide to shave, do it soon, so the lower half of your face won't be all pasty from lack of sun.

congrats on your upcoming nupitals!
posted by killy willy at 9:09 AM on April 24, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great answers. After reading the thread several times last night with my fiancée, I decided to shave. I’m beardless and I feel twelve, but she is really happy and that makes me happy.

I’m letting it grow back on the honeymoon, though.

Thanks again.
posted by studentbaker at 9:31 AM on April 24, 2008

Just saw the pics on your blog. You made the right choice. You do not look twelve. You look great.
posted by desjardins at 8:14 AM on April 25, 2008

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