My mom was so excited right after we got engaged that she pulled her own wedding dress out of the security of its vacuum-sealed box for me to try it on. Somehow I was able to smush into her dress and get it zipped up (my mom was tiny when she got married!), but it didn’t help that it was a too short, long-sleeved, full-skirt, satin gown! I’m still not sure if she was serious about me wearing it or not, but I didn’t waste any time entertaining those notions. It’s a lovely dress for being married in December 1983, but it wasn’t what I would want to wear to my spring wedding in the 21st century. Either way, she wasn’t broken up about it and we both decided it would be a good idea to incorporate another part of her wardrobe: the cathedral length veil.
My mom’s bridal portrait—doesn’t she look like she could just be a bride doll? / All of my parents wedding photos by John Darre Photography—still around!
Walking down the aisle with my grandpa, Pops, with the blusher on
The veil has a blusher and patches of beaded Alencon lace throughout the length. This is something I haven’t seen in any modern veils—you normally see lace around the edges of the veil. (I also can’t find a better word to describe it than “patches,” which doesn’t have the best connotation. It’s scattered lace?) Since the dress I ended up picking has so much lace already, I think a lace-edged veil would be too much, and this is the perfect amount.
You can kind of see the patches of lace on the veil here.
As soon as I tried on a veil in a bridal salon, I was hooked. I know some people decide against a veil, but I was all “OMG why am I not wearing this every day?” Of course, as we all know, those long pieces of tulle can cost a pretty penny. Reusing the veil meant saving money and having a special meaning behind it. Win-win all around! My parents will be married for 30 years this December, so hopefully the veil can carry a bit of marriage luck with it!
Trying on the veil at the bridal salon with a dress contender. You can see the pieces of lace because they’re a little yellower than the ivory dress. We might get it cleaned or leave it as is—I like that it stands out. / Personal photo
The problem with the veil is the little headpiece it is attached to. My mom is calling it a Juliet cap, but I’ve been seeing these kinds of veils referred to as Juliet caps (a la Jackie O), but maybe this is just another type. Whatever you want to call it, I prefer the nice, clean look of a comb placed lower on the back of my head. I’m not a fan of the giant pouf that this is giving me in the picture above.
You can see her cap better here. I think you need some seriously poufy bangs to pull it off, and I just don’t have that.
My mom agreed that I can alter the veil, so the plan is to remove the cap and place the tulle on two combs, one for the long veil and one for the blusher so that I can remove the long one and just wear the short to the reception. My mom wore this long veil the entire night, but I can’t even imagine this spill-prone girl attempting that one!
We’ve found a tailor to do the work for us, so we just need to go ahead and bring it in. I thought about doing this ourselves, since there are plenty of veil tutorials online and my mom is handy with a needle, but I don’t want to take any chances messing anything up.
I love that I’ll be able to use something of my mom’s and make it my own, and maybe start a family tradition if my sister would want to use it for her wedding one day. (Darn—does that mean this is my something borrowed instead of my something old?)
Were you able to reuse any of your mother’s attire? Do you have a better name for the style of this veil?