OK. This one was a doozy to write, so bear with me.
So my veil. Originally, I was 100% in the anti-veil camp. I felt that they looked too formal for the feel of our wedding, and I wanted a fun headband or hair clip instead. Now you’re up to speed.
Friday before Mother’s Day 2013. I was on my regular Skype date with my mom (to remind you, I live in North Carolina and my parents live in Pennsylvania), and after a brief chit chat about what was going on with the wedding plans, she said something to me I’ll never forget, and I had to watch her face while she said it:
“I have breast cancer.”
I cried, she cried, my dad in the other room probably cried but didn’t show it.
My mom is amazingly awesome and tackles obstacles head on. This was no exception—a month later, she was undergoing a double mastectomy, which she and my dad opted for to minimize the chances of recurrence. Unfortunately, when they dissected her armpit lymph nodes, she tested positive, so they had to remove all of them—putting her at risk to develop lymphedema. Obstacle number two.
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?
Back when I bought my wedding dress, my consultant sealed the deal by popping a veil on my head. I believe this practice is called “jacking up.” I was already sold on the dress well before the jacking up commenced, but it totally changed how I saw it, if that makes sense—I wasn’t just wearing a miracle dress that made me look great, I was wearing a miracle WEDDING dress that made me look great. See the difference?
Anyway, since I didn’t have enough time left in my appointment to seriously look at accessories, I had to make a return trip to Kleinfeld. (I know, what a drag.) I didn’t do any homework aside from reading somewhere—I wish I remembered where—that longer veils were slimming. I guess it’s a relative thing, like how standing next to an 18-wheeler would make me look smaller by comparison. Even though Princess Di’s veil wouldn’t make me look like a skinny minnie, I got fixated on the idea of a super-long veil. That, and all the incredible pictures of veils blowing in the wind—you know what I’m talking about:
(Image + Photography via kellyredinger.com)
I mean, if all goes according to plan, I’m not getting a second chance at this rodeo, so go big or go home, right?
Hive, today is my LAST DAY OF CLASS, as in OF MY ENTIRE MASTER’S DEGREE! I’M DONE! YAY!!
Phew, okay, now that that is out of the way, I’ll move on.
If you remember when I talked about my hair inspiration, I told you that I wasn’t sure if I was going to wear a veil or a hair piece. Well, as I thought more and more about it, I decided that my wedding day is probably the only time I would be able to wear a veil and by golly I was going to do it. (Maybe I should say: last time? I wore a veil at my first communion. It was adorable.)
If you’re new to wedding planning (welcome!), you may not have realized how much veils cost. Sure, you can buy them on eBay for super cheap, but if you’re buying a veil from a shop, you’re most likely looking to spend at least $100. That just seems like crazytimes for a piece of tulle!
BM Apple Pie made her veil and it is lovely. I particularly love the time and effort she put into it to hand-beaded the edge. She offered to let me borrow it and I gratefully accepted. But then, as tends to happen, when I got to looking at inspiration photos for my hair, I kept coming across lace-edged veils and I couldn’t help but think that they were lovely. Then I saw this one and I fell in love:
Via Talllll on Etsy
When I got in touch with the seller, she told me she thought it would be around $125 to make it. Then, I asked if she would attach it to a comb and I got some sad news—the hand-beading would “make the veil fall like a wet blanket.”
I moped around for a while and looked at veils to purchase that looked like what I wanted. Then, back in May, I was talking to Mrs. Panda and I said, “And then the crazy in me said, ‘hey, why don’t I make my own veil?’” I was mostly joking, but she responded, “I don’t think that’s crazy, it’s just a piece of tulle. If you just want a simple veil it’s not too bad.”
And so I got to thinking: I’m pretty crafty, so why not give it a shot?
I had my first dress fitting last Thursday and it gave me an opportunity to give my new wedding accessories a spin to see how they look together with the dress. Now that I finally know what I will be wearing, I’d like to share some of my wedding accessories with you, starting with the most important one: the headpiece.
The days of rocking only a veil on your wedding day are long gone. There’s an overwhelming number and variety of bridal headpieces that you can wear on your big day. I knew that I didn’t want to wear a veil or a large flower, but that left a dizzying array of options from all over the internet. The biggest issue? Price. Many headpieces run anywhere from $100 to $700! I know girls who don’t even have a $700 dress budget! Unfortunately, the very high cost deterred me from purchasing any of the lovely headpieces above, but I did use them as inspiration to find something more in my price range.
Last time, I told you about my discovery that I (despite my previous intentions) wanted a veil. Once I decided I wanted one, the question became…which one? I had no idea that there were so many different choices of veils out there!!
Birdcage, blusher, mantilla, cathedral, chapel, ballet…what? Then there’s the choice of where to wear it. On top of your head with a little pouf? Further back on the head? Under your hairstyle? Or up front if you’ve got a birdcage…so many choices!!
Right off the bat, I nixed a few choices. No mantilla for me (that’s the veil with the lace on the edges).
Image from Bridal Styles Boutique
To me, mantilla veils are the stars of the show. Because I’ll be wearing a dress with a lot going on, the mantilla veil would be overkill in my opinion.
Also, no birdcage.
Hive, I have been kicking ass and taking names on finishing off the details of my bridal look. In the course of eight days I bought my wedding jewelry, ordered my shoes on Etsy, purchased a new corset bra for under my dress, my hair extensions were purchased, AND I received my something borrowed veil in the mail.
Who’s veil am I going to be wearing? I’ll give you a hint. Not only is she a fellow fairy tale/magic generation bee, but she’s also a fellow weapons related icon. Why, yes, the lovely and gorgeous Mrs. Archer of course!
The veil I’m borrowing is her fingertip length diamond white beauty and I’m so honored to be able to wear something on my wedding day that will remind me of this wonderful community.
Since I’m huge tease and haven’t revealed my dress yet, here are a few photos of me wearing the veil with my tiara. Let’s ignore the fact that I have no clue how to put on a veil, let alone a veil WITH a tiara. (Seriously I had no idea what I was doing.)
Veils are a peculiar thing. Before I was engaged, I had already decided that I didn’t want one. I wasn’t too crazy about the way they looked, and the symbolism didn’t really work for me. According to Wikipedia, the wedding veil symbolizes the bride’s virginity and modesty (in Western culture). This sentiment is a bit outdated for many modern brides. When I did a little online research about veils, I also found a few other interesting theories. Here, they suggest that the veil covers the bride’s face, so that her husband won’t be killed for her beauty. (I like that one!) Alternatively, the veil could be used to cover a not-so-beautiful bride in case the groom wanted to back out once he saw her. (Not very nice!) Or, the veil could protect the bride from evil spirits. (What? The spirits don’t attack the guests? I don’t understand…)
In any case, I wasn’t too crazy about veils. But as I’ve said before, one’s mind often changes while wedding planning…
During my very first dress shopping trip, I was with my mom. It was just us, and we had made a spur-of-the-moment decision to run in David’s Bridal. Nothing had really wowed us until I stepped into the gorgeous Vera Wang dress. I was dancing around, all giddy with excitement, when my mom asked the consultant, “Can we see it with a veil?”
I froze. I hadn’t wanted a veil. But then I realized, “What’s the harm in trying one on? It’ll make my mom happy, and then we’ll move on.”
The consultant asked me what type of veil I wanted, and I said honestly, “I haven’t considered the possibility of a veil, so bring whatever you think is best.” Apparently the elbow-length veil is the most popular at David’s Bridal, because that’s what she brought out. She put it on me and…
I was a bad bride. I ironed tulle.
I wanted a long, raw-edge veil that could be lifted up dramatically behind me by the wind:
A gorgeous, flowy veil…le sigh. Photo by Christian Oth Studio.
I researched my options: I could make my own veil, or I could order a used veil from another bride. Buying a new one from a bridal shop was out of the question—veils seem to fetch a pretty high price around here. Feeling overwhelmed by the process of making invitations and tissue paper garlands, I opted to purchase a used veil—besides, reduce, reuse, recycle, right?!
I found a beautiful Vera Wang walking length veil that another bee was re-selling. The price was great. I ordered her veil, and waited patiently for her wedding to pass so she could ship the veil to me. When the veil finally arrived, it was pretty wrinkled in the shipping envelope. I was really excited to try it on, but the wrinkles bugged me. So I began to iron out the wrinkles with my roommate’s regular old household iron.
I posted a while ago that I was having second thoughts about my veil. I fell in love with lace-edged veils, and after some hemming and hawing, I decided to turn my plain veil into a showpiece. To accomplish this, I ordered a strip of lace trim off of Etsy.
To start, I cut the strip in half. In order to make one continuous strip of lace for the edge of my veil, I had to stitch the two pieces of trim together in the middle. I lined up the pattern on the lace and sewed it together with invisible thread.
I’ve mentioned before, in my talk about flowers, that I’m truly a flower child at heart. So when I think of the wedding and my headpiece, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that flowery thoughts like this were absolutely considered in choosing what I would wear on my wedding day.
Something like that, with a loose braid—it definitely stood out amongst the many other options there are for a modern headpiece. But, like other little girls, I’ve dreamed of my wedding for a long, long time and I knew that regardless of the kind of gown I got, I wanted a veil. Not a birdcage, not a tiara, not clips—an actual veil. The next question was…what kind?
In the spirit of doing things out of order, I’ve decided to wear Mama Dillo’s veil on my wedding day. It’s a bit ironic since I haven’t even gone shopping for my dress yet, but I’m totally psyched Mama Dillo offered it up to me, and it can’t hurt to have some of that good, successful marriage juju on me when I walk down the aisle on the big day. I’ve decidedly declared Mama Dillo’s veil as my “something borrowed.” (I obviously intend to return it to her after the ceremony just in case maybe Lil Dillo or someone wants to wear it on her wedding day!)
Now, my parents got married in 1987, which means Mama Dillo’s veil isn’t exactly…subtle. HOWEVER, in terms of how ’80s veils tended to look on brides back in the day, hers wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t tulle attached to a hat or to a weird halo she wore down on her forehead—in fact, as far as ’80s veils go, Mama Dillo’s was pretty tame. Maybe it’s because she was married in the late ’80s and styles had toned down a bit, or maybe she just had good taste.
(All upcoming photos by Miss Armadillo)
The veil is basically a simple, two-tiered veil with a finished edge—the only telltale ’80s signs are the tulle pouf at the crown and the pearl-encrusted headpiece that holds everything together:
I bought a veil. It’s very simple (and inexpensive), which is just what I wanted.
Image via Elaborate Stitches on Etsy
Do you remember when I said I wouldn’t wear a birdcage veil? Allow me to eat my words.
Mmmm, shame beignet…
I wanted to wear a two-tier, long-ish veil, with one tier pulled over my face as a blusher—or, a drop veil. It went along with Mr. Dragon’s idea of me as a bride, and who could argue with that?
But then I actually tried a long, two-tier veil…and I felt like I was stuck in a cage made of tulle. It was touching my face, my hair, my arms, everywhere, and I felt claustrophobic. It also added to the kid-playing-dress-up feeling I’ve been fighting. Big huge veil? Not my thing.
Wonderful Mr. Dragon told me, over and over, that I didn’t have to wear a veil, that I didn’t have to wear a veil over my face, that I could do whatever made me happy and comfortable. So I started idly wandering my way through the veils on Etsy, hoping I would find something that struck my fancy. I still wanted tulle, not netting, but I wanted something a lot shorter.
I tentatively clicked into the birdcage section. I wanted double-layer, that wouldn’t be all up in my face, and wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. This one caught my eye:
Like most brides, I find the sight of a UPS or FedEx truck in my neighborhood to be wildly exciting. If I see one, I usually rush home to see if it left something for MEEEEE!
One awesome day last month, I came home and found a slightly squashed package by the front door addressed to MEEEEE!
It was my veil!!!
I ordered it from a seller on Etsy, and I have to admit I was a little nervous about ordering a veil without first trying it on. But this particular seller had rave reviews, and the veil was ridiculously cheap…so I took the plunge and hit “Add to Cart.”
I’m sure you wanna see pictures.
I’m still not 100% sure how I’m supposed to attach the thing to my head, but this is what I think it’s going to end up looking like. It does have a hair comb sewn in, and I’m sure the hairstylist will know what to do. Please excuse my oh-so-comfy sweatshirt and crazy hair.