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Is It Okay to Have a Beard for Your Wedding Day?

The bride wants all the men in the wedding party to be clean shaven!

My mother asked me to shave for my grandfather's funeral!

My mother wants me to shave for my high school graduation (or Senior yearbook pictures) !

These are some very common requests forcing a guy to shave when he really does not want to. So if this happens to you, how would YOU deal with it?

Being that this is the Beard Board, the advice you receive will obviously have some bias in favor of keeping your beard, but that won't make it any easier when dealing with loved ones making the request.

Just to get it out of the way, here are the thoughts many of us bearded guys have when asked to do something that we generally feel is pretty unreasonable. For example:

- What is wrong with having a beard? It is the natural way for a guy to look (or as God intended if you are the religious type). 
- Why should YOU (meaning the Bride, Mother, etc) get to dictate how I look? Why can't you accept me for who I am?
- You want me to be shaven for photos? Why should I look different in photos for the (wedding, funeral, graduation) than I do normally?

While those are all very valid points, we typically find that they don't get you very far. Remember that each of these events are filled with emotion particularly for the Bride (in the case of weddings), the Mother (in the case of Graduations) and possibly a parent or grandparent or sibling in the case of a funeral. When people in are highly charged emotional situations, sometimes they don't think clearly or they just say what they are thinking without using any kind of filter.

How do you deal with it?

While every situation is a little different, as is every relationship, there are a few things you can do which might help you work through your decision to keep your beard or shave it. At the end of the day, you may decide that you just don't want to fight the battle and instead, shave.

For example, let's say you're the best man for your brother at his wedding. The Bride has already bullied the groom into shaving for the wedding, and insists you shave too, or she does not want you to be in the wedding party. Do you give up your best-man status for your beard? 

On the other hand, let's say the Bride is your wife's sister and you don't even like her. She asked you to be an usher in the wedding, but only if you shave off your 6 inch beard, which your wife, by the way, loves. And your wife does not care if you are in the wedding party or not. In this situation, it would be pretty easy to simply decline.

Your mother has asked you to shave for graduation or your Senior pictures. You've been growing your beard for a couple of months and it finally looks somewhat decent. And now she wants you to shave??? Why? She never said anything until now.

Understand that mothers get very emotional when their little boys become men. This is her last chance to preserve her memories of you as a boy. It is not uncommon for her to think shaving is a pretty minor sacrifice for you. 
The question you must ask yourself: Is it a minor sacrifice? It might be or it might not be. If you can articulate to your mother WHY having a beard in your pictures is important to you, then perhaps she will understand. She may not realize that having the beard in your pictures is also a big deal to you too. Most mothers want their sons to be happy and if shaving makes you unhappy, then she may rather just let the issue drop.

I have even heard of some guys compromising on this. Get some pictures taken with the beard, shave, and then take some without. While a pretty drastic approach, it might the a solution for some situations.

But what about funerals?

What if your mother asks you to shave for your grandmother's funeral because your grandmother always hated your beard? After all, your grandmother has passed and clearly won't be disturbed by your beard. The argument is clearly just emotional on your mother's part.

In this type of situation, arguing or bargaining to keep your beard is probably pointless. You cannot argue with someone that has just taken a big loss, nor should you. The better approach is simply to make a decision and stick with it. If the decision is to keep the beard, be very straightforward: "Mom, I've been doing a lot of thinking about your request for me to shave for the funeral, and I take no pleasure in this, but I've decided to keep my beard. I will do everything I can to make it look as tidy as possible and I promise to be there for you in every way possible to get through this." If she tries to argue, just repeat that you did not come up to this decision lightly, but that your decision is final and it is best just to move on to more important things.

[Thanks Triibeard, who provided this more direct approach which may be better for some  ... ] Beloved bride/sister/mother/friend... I won't choose your hairstyle or makeup for you, and you won't choose my beard style. Not now, not ever. I will be neat, clean, and gentlemanly at all times as we respect each other's boundaries.

Bottom line

I do think that far too often men too easily succumb to unreasonable requests to shave their beards simply because they don't want to face the wrath of the Bride or the emotion of the Mother. Despite arguments you may hear to the contrary, beard are not, by default, unkempt. Do not be afraid to stand up for your present yourself to the world (or the event) as YOU would like to present yourself. 

 Consider neatening the style with approval from the groom, then bride [in the case of a wedding]. Perhaps this type of compromise will allow everyone to be happy.

Remember, major life events are deeply emotional for everyone involved, including you. Be as open and honest with yourself about how you feel in the situation and balance that against the request made of you.

I take the approach: "Pick your battles". Every situation is different and every guy's attachment to his beard is different, so ultimately you must decide for yourself if it is worth keeping your beard or shaving or trimming to keep the peace.

source : jefffsbeardboard.yuku.com

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