How to cover up your tattoos for your wedding

How to cover up your tattoos for your wedding

These days, weddings aren’t quite as traditional as they used to be. The celebration isn’t necessarily paid for by the bride’s father, the dresses are cut lower, and the bridal party may be a lot more pierced and tatted than in your grandparents’ wedding album. This can be bad news for couples who prefer a more traditional vibe.

However, even though tattoos are permanent, they do fall into the category of aspects you can control. Whether you’d prefer to keep your tattoos a secret from your overly-conservative grandmother or you just never imagined posing for your wedding pictures next to your cousin’s Jim Morrison sleeve, don’t fret–you actually have quite a few options when it comes to covering up ink.

Tattoo Etiquette for weddings

If the bride or groom asks you to cover up your tattoos for their special day, try not to be offended. The happy couple has worked hard for this day–they just want all eyes on them. They’ve earned the right to be selfish, short of asking you to permanently remove your tattoos. If you’re really upset about it, ask them to supply the makeup for you.

If you’re the bride or groom asking your bridal party to cover up their tattoos for your ceremony, it’s important to be respectful of their art as you do it. Explain your decision so your friends aren’t offended by the request. Since it’s for your wedding, consider offering to pay for the solution.

Keep it Simple when you hide your tattoo

Depending how conservative the crowd is, a tattoo may be simply hidden with an extra accessory. Those with wrist tattoos can opt for a simple clinch bracelet or even a corsage, while arm or hand tattoos can be easily obscured by a pair of fashionable gloves. Foot or ankle tattoos are effortlessly hidden with a pair of close-toed shoes and opaque stockings.

If you’re a bride with a back tattoo you’d rather not showcase during your nuptials, you might choose a busy, elaborate veil that comfortably covers your ink. Leave the veil on all night–there’s no one to tell you otherwise! Keep tradition alive with the easy cover-up of a higher neckline. As the bride, you’re blessed with the advantage of choosing your gown, so if you have tattoos on both shoulders, the decision to wear a sleeved dress will eliminate the issue instantly.

Even if you’re set on a dress with cut-outs that expose your hip tattoo, you may still have options. A talented seamstress should be able to attach a sheer, flesh-colored fabric across the open space, dimming or obscuring the tattoo altogether, depending on the shade.

You can also fill the cut-out with a Henna tattoo, distracting from the permanent ink and adding some flair to your dress design. Look into skin tape, too–it can be found and cut into different sizes, and it doesn’t get much simpler than peeling and sticking on your cover-up!

If the ink is on your chest or upper arms, the simplest solution is a sweater or shawl. A boa or scarf will provide even more versatility, and you can hold it in place using inexpensive fashion tape.

When you have a full-length sleeve or a heavy tattoo that won’t stay put behind a scarf, you might want to look into flesh-colored sleeves. A nearby tattoo parlor may be able to advise you on their favorite brand, but look for a product with a “no-slip” grip that will stay in place no matter how crazy you get on the dance floor.

Makeup Options for covering your tattoos

When it comes to tattoos, makeup isn’t just for girls anymore! Using the makeup cover-up sounds simple enough, but if you want it to be convincing, you do have to do some research. If you want it to look like the tattoo was never there in the first place, it’s important to get the skin tone just right. The darker the tattoo, the more effort and product will be required to cover it.

The key to the perfect shade lies in practice. Be sure to get your makeup well before the big day so you can nail down the right amount (and how to keep it on your body and off your dress). Since everyone’s skin is different, the cover-up your sister used for her tattoo might not work as well on yours. Try products with a guarantee first so you can return them if they’re not right for you.

Makeup options are endless, but two of the most popular tattoo cover-ups are Dermablend and Murad Concealer, which can be bought in department or makeup stores. Thick concealers, especially ones formulated to cover scars, work best to fully hide the tattoo.

If you’re intimidated by the entire approach, visit the makeup department at your local Sephora. Most makeup stores and stands offer free consultation, so an employee should be happy to help you select the best product and perfect the application process.

Airbrush makeup is on the rise, and its durability is making a case for covering up tattoos. After the makeup dries, it has less chance of rubbing off onto your mother’s dress mid-hug than a typical concealer would. The process is a bit trickier than a basic concealer, though, so a skilled makeup artist is recommended for every application.

Don’t Worry about your tattoos

An obnoxious tattoo doesn’t have to take away from your wedding day. Get creative and figure out how to hide the design yourself, or talk to your photographer about editing the artwork out of the final photos. It may be as simple as carefully positioning the bridal party to keep the tattoo out of view.

A visible tattoo isn’t worth stressing over–with just a bit of research, the permanent mark can be temporarily removed with the snap of a finger. 


Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.