Here's Why Wedding Day Transformations are Trending in 2023

There's a reason midday tattoos, haircuts and alterations are going viral.
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
by
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon entertainment and celebrity editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Entertainment & Celebrity Editor
  • Sarah is the Entertainment & Celebrity Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on pop culture and celebrity wedding news.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Feb 10, 2023

You can find inspiration for just about every element of your wedding day on TikTok, from trendy bach party themes to budget-saving planning hacks. Perhaps one of the more unique #WeddingTok trends of the moment, though, are wedding day transformations. Social media offers the unique ability to see how other real couples personalize their nuptials—and right now, one rising trend we've noticed is the wedding day transformation. Now more than ever, couples are bravely undergoing physical changes to commemorate swapping vows, including getting matching tattoos, enlisting a hairstylist for a midday trim, and even altering their attire in between events.

Here, we dive into the wedding day transformation phenomenon. We tapped real couples and vendors who've tried this trend firsthand to learn why wedding day changes are having a moment, and why they may be here to stay.

In this article:

What is a Wedding Day Transformation?

A wedding day transformation is exactly what it sounds like: an activity where couples undergo a physical change in the middle of their nuptials. Although this trend isn't quite as mainstream as, say, slip wedding dresses or cheeky signage, there's no denying that it's piqued the interest of social media users. The hashtag #weddingtattoo has over 10 million views on TikTok, while the hashtag #weddingdayhaircut has nearly 150,000. And, if you've spent any time on WeddingTok, there's a good chance you've seen at least one viral example of this rising trend.

Things to Consider Before a Wedding Day Transformation

If you've been inspired by the wedding day transformation trend, there are some things to know before trying it yourself. The first, of course, is that undergoing any physical change is a big decision—one that shouldn't necessarily be taken lightly (or made on the spot). For example, if you tend to shed a few tears after going to the hair salon, it might not be the best idea to do it on your wedding day, which is already a highly emotional experience.

Plus, you may need to enlist the help of pros for the wedding day transformation you're imagining. If you and your spouse want to get matching tats at your reception, for example, you'll need to hire a reputable artist a few weeks or months before the date. The same thing goes for a haircut and attire alterations too. Although these viral moments may seem spur of the moment, they're best done with a little bit of planning and preparation ahead of time.

Our Favorite Wedding Day Transformation Ideas

Feeling #influenced? If you're intrigued by the idea of trying the wedding day transformation trend, here are our favorite ideas to consider.

Wedding Day Tattoos

Not for the faint of heart, hiring a professional to give you a wedding day tattoo is a permanent way to ensure the memories never fade away. That was the case for Jennifer McCann, a bride who went viral on TikTok for documenting the wedding day tattoos she and her husband received together. "We wanted to add a unique experience to our wedding day and have something we can remember forever," McCann tells us. As a wedding photographer, she explains that she'd seen quite a lot of creative activities throughout her career, but getting matching ink was a fitting idea for her and her husband—especially since they'd both gotten tattoos before.

@jennifernoelle3 Our tattoo artist came to our wedding and gave us tattoos #therobins #weddingday #weddingtattoos #untraditionalweddingthings #weddinginspo #weddingtok ♬ original sound - Ian Asher

To make their vision a reality, McCann hired tattoo artist Matt Johnson, who happened to be a former client. "We met with our artist a few weeks before our date to go over the size and placement of the tattoos so that would not cut into time on the day of," she explains. The couple decided on corresponding designs and placements, both getting their wedding date in roman numerals on the side of their necks. "The tattoos only took about 30 minutes from start to finish," she adds, noting that they were careful to not miss out on reception time with their loved ones. "We got them after our grand entrance while our guests were eating dinner, that way nobody would notice we were gone for long."

Looking back, McCann confirms she and her husband have no regrets about the choice to undergo a wedding day transformation: "It felt so special to do something for ourselves," she reflects. "It's a moment we will never forget."

Wedding Day Haircuts

Not feeling ink? Another transformation to consider is a wedding day haircut (otherwise known as a wedding chop). So much emphasis is placed on prewedding prep, but thrill-seekers may love the idea of getting a trim in between the ceremony and the reception. "A haircut signifies change," says Michelle Schultz, founder of Brooklyn-based bridal hair and makeup company Willow House Beauty. "Not only does it impact your appearance on the outside, a new style changes how you feel on the inside. You see yourself in a new light, therefore you feel differently."

Those looking for a drastic way to mark the transition into a new chapter may feel drawn to the idea of getting a haircut in between wedding events. After all, nothing will shock your guests quite like showing up to the reception with a totally new 'do. That said, Schultz urges couples to do their due diligence by hiring a trusted stylist and going over the plan ahead of time. "If you're considering a wedding day haircut, have a consultation with a stylist before the wedding," she suggests. "Expectations should be clearly communicated, including how much time the hairstylist has for the haircut during the wedding and what the inspiration is."

While there may be mixed opinions about wedding chops online, one thing is certain: If you love experimenting with hairstyles and aren't afraid of a dramatic cut, this can be a creative way to make your wedding one to remember. "For modern couples, the wedding day is truly a reflection of themselves and can entail anything their hearts desire," Schultz says. "People face so much pressure to conform to beauty standards, especially on their wedding day. We are all in favor of this new form of self-expression."

Wedding Day Alterations

You've heard of wedding reception outfit changes, but have you ever thought about altering your original 'fit? The thought of taking a pair of scissors to your wedding dress or suit may seem dramatic, but it's something people are starting to experiment with.

Audrey Jeon documented the choice to snip her wedding dress on social media, telling us that she decided it made more sense to cut her skirt rather than to bustle it like she originally planned. "When I saw the bustle added at my alterations appointment, I realized this changed what I loved about my wedding dress," she tells us of her Sarah Seven design. "My wedding dress was a very well-fitted crepe strapless off-the-shoulder dress. Once I had an example of what the bustle would look like at my last alterations appointment, the dress lost the fitted look that I wanted for the reception."

While Jeon was warned about the implications that could come from cutting the dress herself, she knew she had the final say over what to do with her look. When the big day arrived, she and her sister snuck off to make the DIY alterations during cocktail hour—with a pair of kitchen scissors. "I was nervous about the idea of cutting my dress, but I went into my wedding day not having crazy-high expectations so I wouldn't be disappointed by anything (even my wedding dress being cut!)," she shares. "My sister cut it perfectly and I was able to dance around all night in my dress without a large bustle behind me, which made me happy. I have no regrets because I loved that my dress held its fitted shape for my reception."

A collage of a bride wearing a dress at her ceremony then reception.
Courtesy / Audrey Jeon,
Chaise Tinsley

New York City-based photographer Tiana Duarte-Kargbo had the opportunity to capture a similar experience at one of her client's weddings. When she posted a video of the bride cutting her dress on TikTok, it racked up nearly 10 million views. "I loved shooting this wedding, because I loved how spontaneous everything was," she tells us. "It really felt like magic because it was so beautiful and simple. I felt honored to have been brought into such an intimate gathering. Looking back on the photos, I just remember how much fun everyone was having."

A newlywed herself, Duarte-Kargbo predicts that the wedding day transformation trend may be here for the long haul. "I think the recent rise in all these fun wedding ideas really comes down to people realizing the day is supposed to celebrate their love, and all the extra stuff is just that: extra," she notes. "If you make the day about you and your love and prioritize the things you care about, it will shine through."

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