The occasion of a beloved niece’s wedding imbues the tattoos with more meaning, and it was, Munshin noted, “a cool party.” Pictures: The New York Times

New York - Lindsay Morris and Stephen Munshin didn’t have to step inside a tattoo parlor to get their first tattoos. All they had to do was attend the wedding of their niece Leslie Merinoff to Brian Kwasienski in October in New York City.

Morris and Munshin were aware there would be tattoos available during the reception. “And we were not planning on getting one,” said Morris, a photographer.

But by the end of the night, the Sag Harbor, New York, couple, who managed to stay ink-free into their early 50s, were using up a tattoo artist’s last needles to have the number “11” put on their wrists. Both were born on that day of the month.

“I guess the idea of it being small and quick made it more inviting,” said Munshin, publisher of Edible magazines in the New York area. “It didn’t seem as much of a challenge or investment. It was Lindsay’s encouragement. I was just drunk enough to concede.”

The occasion of a beloved niece’s wedding imbues the tattoos with more meaning, and it was, Munshin noted, “a cool party.”

Not surprisingly, both bride and groom sported tattoos. Merinoff’s designs make up what she calls a “road map of her life” that signify special moments. When she pulls up the sleeves of her sweater in an attempt to get a count, she gives up almost immediately. While planning her wedding, she said she thought, “What better moment to really keep forever?”

Tattoo artists are one way to subvert and personalize long-standing traditions, much like having mixed gender bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Merinoff and Kwasienski, who are opening a boutique distillation company in Greenport, New York, chose tattoo artist Bryce Oprandi of the Los Angeles area to work at their wedding. Merinoff had become a big fan of his work after following him on Instagram.

When they met for drinks in New York, she said, she immediately asked him to be at the wedding simply for his laid-back energy. “I thought to myself, ‘I want this guy around,'” she said. The couple covered his travel and accommodations, as well as a flat rate for his time. 

They had planned for only a few of the 400-plus guests to get small tattoos from a limited selection featuring a coupe glass, the wedding date and others. But Oprandi ended up working on a couple dozen guests up until the end of the night.

“Social media has created a world where individuality is celebrated and personal brands are curated, so we find that same notion being implemented into weddings,” said Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor-in-chief of the Knot, a wedding website. “Couples no longer want something cookie cutter. They want to throw an amazing party that truly feels like who they are as a couple.”

Robert Fiore, an artist from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, who has been tattooing for 22 years, recently made weddings his whole business. He started the Wedding Tattooer in June, and since then, has gotten more than 2 000 inquiries for his services.

For these events, Fiore creates a set of four to six small designs, each about the size of a golf ball, from which guests can choose. He’ll tattoo on legs, arms or shoulders. Chests and other more risqué body parts, he says, are generally off-limits.

The New York Times