I was a bit overwhelmed by the choice of wedding veils when it came to buying my own. I had no idea there were so many different lengths and styles! I just knew that I liked my mum’s. She was married in the 60s. I looked long and hard in the attic for that veil, but we gave up in the end.
So without too much deliberation, I bought one on eBay for about £20. The length was somewhere between elbow and wrist, and it had a scalloped edge with small pearls. It was mostly perfect – the price, the length and the detailing – but there were three things wrong with it. The first was the plastic comb it had attached to it. I knew without trying that there was no way this comb was going to stay in my hair for the best part of a day. So I removed it easily enough, bought a metal hair comb (pack of two) from John Lewis, and sewed one in. It stayed put brilliantly.
The second issue was that there seemed to be an unnecessary lacy bit added to the front. It was too much for me. So I removed it.
The third problem was the colour. The veil was white, and my dress was a dark ivory. Every would-be bride soon learns that there are a million shades of white, ivory, oyster and champagne… Matching the dress, the shoes, the veil, the stole exactly is well nigh impossible. Luckily, I wasn’t that fussy. It just had to sort of match. So I decided to have a go at dying it. I brewed a teabag in a teapot, poured it in a bucket along with some more cold water, and dunked the lacy bits I had removed [see photo]. I thought it worked brilliantly, so I bundled my veil into it and made sure it was fully saturated before pulling it out and drying it outside on a washing line.
The beauty of dying something with tea is that if it comes out too dark, you can just rinse it in clean water and remove some of it. It it’s too light, redunk it in the same brew, or rebrew the tea and dunk it again.
It was perfect for me – the tea just took the edge off the white and lent more of an antique look and feel to my veil. Several guests complimented me on my ‘antique veil’ and asked if it was an heirloom. Little did they know. Don’t be afraid of customising your accessories. It can take a lot of stress out of your day, as you don’t have to keep looking for the ‘perfect’ item. It makes it more your own, too. I resold it on eBay a year or two later, for about the same I paid for it. I hope they enjoyed wearing it as much as I did. I didn’t want to take it off!!