On 10 August, Tasnim Jara shared a photo with her husband on their wedding day on Facebook.
It’s a wedding photo like any other. Tasnim wears her grandmother’s white cotton saree, her smile beaming as she sits beside her husband, Khaled Saifullah.
He wears a polished suit, they sit closely side by side on a gold lounge, styled, but happy.
But there is one detail you’d normally see in a wedding portrait that is missing. The bride’s makeup.
It’s a move that’s proven to be so controversial that Tasnim had to explain why she decided to go makeup-free on her wedding day in a Facebook post that’s since gone viral – and for good reason.
In her 500-word status update, Tasnim hit home with some confronting truths about bridal traditions.
“I walked into my wedding reception with zero makeup and no jewellery. I was troubled by the singular image of a bride that our society has – with tons of makeup, a weighty dress and mounds of jewellery weighing her down,” she wrote.
“Don’t be fooled, this lavish image of a bride does not represent the financial well-being or agency of a woman in the family. This sometimes rather happens against their will. As if the society has decided that if we really have to spend money on women, we spend it against their will and for a cause that won’t do them any good.”
The newlywed then described the gossiping she’s overheard at almost every wedding she’s attended, about the bride’s appearance and the cost of it all, as well as the socialisation that tells a woman she isn’t good enough for her own wedding.
“To look like a bride,” Tasnim wrote, “she needs to wear a crazy expensive dress, which ironically makes walking difficult for her (due to its weight) and never comes of any use after the wedding. But the society won’t accept it any other way.”
She said that while it’s a woman’s choice to wear makeup and jewellery, she starts to feel uncomfortable when “[a woman] loses her agency in deciding what she would like to wear on her wedding day.”
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Tasnim described her family’s response to her choice of dress and lack of makeup and jewellery when they arrived at her wedding.
“I faced a lot of resistance from many quarters after making this decision,” she wrote. “Certain members of my family even said that they won’t take any photo with me because I didn’t dress like (they imagine) a bride.”
“Shoutout to the few family members who have supported me in this, and special shoutout to this person beside me, Khaled, who has not only supported me unconditionally but also beamed at me with so much pride, for taking a stance against the stereotypes.”
Tasnim’s post has clearly struck a chord with brides all over the world, attracting over 100,000 likes and almost 30,000 shares.
Several commenters praised her for breaking social norms, whereas others criticised her for still adhering to many traditional aspects of marriage, like hiring a lavish venue and arranging for a photographer.
Ultimately, what someone chooses to wear on their wedding day is entirely their decision – and Tasnim’s post is a reminder that it’s possible to shun the expectations society places on women, even on the most ‘visible’ day of your life.
How did you make your wedding day authentic to you?