Tuesday, March 12, 2019

How I Chose to Celebrate My Birthmark on My Wedding Day

My whole life, I've received comments about my facial difference (a birthmark that also causes symmetry issues). Some kind, some not. One recurring comment? That I need to hide it, or get it "fixed" – when in reality, getting it "fixed" is not as simple as most would think.

As my wedding day approached, my excitement naturally increased. As did my plans.

And then the unavoidable happened.

Someone made a comment, indicating it would be better for me to cover my birthmark for my wedding day.

"Oh no she didn't," I thought.

Being one who has always embraced her appearance, I already had plans. Boy, did I have plans. 

Glam my birthmark with glitter? Check!

Find a wedding cake topper with a birthmark? Check!

But this comment? Oh, it made me up my game...and then came a purple fog machine photoshoot idea.

Because here's the thing...

No one should ever have to hide their natural appearance that God gave them to make others more comfortable. And makeup? It should be used to enhance the beauty we naturally have – not hide it! 

Have a birthmark? Glam the heck out of it.

Have freckles? Flaunt them.

Is your hair curly? Let the curls be free.

You can even let your creativity partner with your beauty, like I did on my wedding day, and find unique ways to highlight what makes you, well, you!

You are beautiful. You are one of a kind.

And no matter what anyone else says, you deserve to feel like a queen. Whether it's your wedding day, or it's your everyday Monday. You deserve to shine.

Please – never feel less than because of someone else's empty words.

You, my dear, are beautifully and wonderfully made.

For me? Honoring my birthmark was so much more than honoring a bit of purple on my skin, and all that goes with it. It meant honoring me and who I am – from the inside out.

It meant celebrating the day and being myself. It meant adding little touches to the day that fit my personality, from my dress to the wedding favors.

But more importantly? It meant marrying the man I love – a man who loves me just as I am. It meant inviting people I love to celebrate along with us – people who have never asked me to change. People who have never made me feel less than because of how God knit me together.

Here are some of the photos from our special day.

My maid of honor glamming my birthmark with glitter!
(Keith Hartman Photography)
It was such a sweet surprise to receive a scrapbook from my mom
full of letters from people in my life the night before the wedding.
She even had one for Richard too. I'm not an easy one to move to tears,
but she got me on this one.
(Keith Hartman Photography)
Photo by my bridesmaid, Anna Forlines.
Photo by my bridesmaid, Anna Forlines.
Keith Hartman Photography

Keith Hartman Photography

Keith Hartman Photography

Keith Hartman Photography

Keith Hartman Photography

Seeing myself in my gown, wedding ready, for the first time.
(Keith Hartman Photography)

Our wedding was vintaged theme. And both my mom and grandmother saved their
wedding dresses, but neither my sister or I used either one. So, I chose to display
them both – honoring the heritage of their marriages and the examples
of their love. Each dress has a photo of their wedding next
to the dress, and my mom's has her veil next to hers.
(Keith Hartman Photography)

Married to the man of my life, again.
(Keith Hartman Photography)

Our wedding cake topper! But instead of cake, we had donuts.
It took weeks to find this cake topper option. When I Googled "wedding cake
toppers with birthmarks," I got naked mole rats with veils and top hats. Then my
friend recommended me to Little Clay Land on Instagram. And oh my lanta, am
I so glad. You can also visit her website directly here.
(Keith Hartman Photography)

Not only did Laura include my birthmark in my cake topper,
but Richard's bowtie matches my birthmark. And there's glitter
on my birthmark.

Also, each tile in the mosaic behind my cake topper was painted
at my bridal shower!

(Photo by my friend Naomi!)

Not only did I have Little Clay Land make my cake topper, I had her make a small
version of my topper – and ornaments for my bridesmaids. And oh, their reactions
were the sweetest.
(Keith Hartman Photography)
Keith Hartman Photography 
Keith Hartman Photography

Photo by Nerris Nassiri
Keith Hartman Photography

Keith Hartman Photography
Keith Hartman Photography

Keith Hartman Photography

Keith Hartman Photography

Who doesn't love a few glow sticks?
Keith Hartman Photography

Keith Hartman Photography

Keith Hartman Photography

Keith Hartman Photography

The woman who raised me, who taught me how to be myself. She taught me to find
joy in all things, and helped me find ways to always embrace myself – regardless of how
others reacted to my unique appearance. She has always made me feel like a queen.
(Keith Hartman Photography.)

My girls, my support system. They were there in my single years and when I fell in love.
They've been there in my ups and downs, and I'm here for theirs. Together we've laughed,
cried, celebrated and danced. They are magnificent, and I'm so thankful to call them
my friends.
(Keith Hartman Photography)

Do you guys remember my friend Naomi? She has the same type of birthmark
on her face that I have, and has undergone the same kind of medical treatments
I've had to undergo. She followed me on social media for a while, and then last
year during a road trip, I surprised her in her school's hallway! One of my biggest
highlights was having her at my wedding. She and her parents had to drive quite the
way to join us, and it meant the world that they were there. Growing up, I never saw
people with the same condition – let alone couples with one of the people having a
body difference. So for her to sit there, and see that you can get married and glam your
birthmark and be fully embraced by your spouse? And for it to even be included in our
vows? Wow. What a highlight of my day to know she was there, and to celebrate with her.
Yasssss queens.

To the left: Katelyn Hartman, the beautiful photographer's daughter. She
lives with Goldenhar syndrome.

To my right? My beautiful friend Naomi, who like me, also has a port wine stain
birthmark on her face.

And oh, how we danced the night away.

(Keith Hartman Photography)

Mother/daughter duos – there's nothing more powerful.
(Keith Hartman Photography)

Keith Hartman Photography

Our amazing video team and photography team!

Thank you for celebrating with us!
(Keith Hartman Photography)
The Travelin' Chick,


  1. You wedding was beautiful! What special little details, and your bridesmaid gifts are so thoughtful and sweet.

  2. I love all of your pictures!! Your wedding was magnificent. And I love that you didn’t try to hide your birthmark but that you embraced and just made it a part of YOU. You welcomed it to the wedding! And I love that!


  3. I love this! Thank you so much for letting me contribute to your day! You guys look amazing. And the photos of the portraits look bomb.com! ;)