Gilding the Lily … Accessories!
So, if you remember the last time I checked in, Rich had left me in charge of dealing with the caterering while he went off to Detroit for work. It took approximately a week and a half for me to have an emotional breakdown and decide that we needed to start from scratch and look for another caterer. The moral of that story is that Rich should deal with all of the practical, stressful details, whereas I, impatient and prone to panic attacks, should focus on the small, fun, superficial and largely cosmetic details, like candles and ostrich feathers. In that spirit, I shall gleefully submit a progress report on the last several months of thought I’ve lavished on the crucial subject of accessories! Here is how I intend to adorn myself on The Day …
I’m most excited about my jewelry. I ran across Regina B.’s website, www.reginab.com, a few months ago rather accidentally and fell instantly in love with her beautiful combs and baubles. Regina B. is a talented jewelry designer with a showroom in New York City who specializes in bridal accessories. All of her hand-crafted pieces are made to order and can be customized to give you a one-of-a-kind piece (because who doesn’t feel a minor pang of rage when she sees another bride wearing her dress or another element of her trousseau?). She uses Swarovski crystals, fresh water pearls and various metals for her designs. Here are some sparkly examples of her work:
I definitely want one of her trendy combs for my hair, which I’ll be wearing at the reception after I’ve removed my veil. More and more brides are eschewing the traditional veil altogether these days and replacing it with elaborate bridal combs, or with feather pins and birdcage blushers, but I think I’ll be sticking with tradition for the ceremony. I do, however, love the comb I’ve chosen so much that I might wear it under my veil so that it gives a hint of sparkle during the ceremony. As for my jewelry (just a bracelet and earrings, I’ve decided), I loved Regina B.’s pieces so much when I first saw them that they inspired me to go with a “vintage” ambience for the wedding. I don’t want it to seem like a costume party, so I just want to incorporate elements with a vintage, 1930’s ”feel” here and there, including my and my bridesmaids’ jewelry. I want to treat my trousseau like a national security secret from my affianced, so I won’t reveal the accessories I’ve chosen. The following pieces from Regina B., while not the ones I’ll actually be wearing, are fairly good approximations of what I like:
Lastly, veils! In ancient Rome, brides wore a saffron veil over their faces to convey modesty. In ancient Rome, this made some kind of sense: The average age of a bride was about twelve. Now the idea is a bit of an offense to feminism and common sense, and yet somehow this tradition, in various forms and with similar symbolism, persists in the modern era, where you would think we might actually know better. Well, silly or not, I like the drama of a long veil, and so I’ve decided to wear one. When I first started researching these flimsy, anachronistic little things, I had no idea there was such an absurd range in terms of design, length and price. Price ranges are especially dramatic, with veils ranging from $50 for a basic, polyester piece to well into the thousands for fine silk tulles and intricate, embroidered designs and imported Alencon and chantilly lace. I think a $50 veil in the end looks like a $50 veil, but I’m not sure what makes an $8,000 Pnina Tornai veil worth that stratospheric price tag — call me crazy. My budget is somewhere between those two extremes, as I want a nice, fine silk tulle that will drape beautifully and look transluscent and shimmer like gossamer. Nowadays, vintage-looking “birdcage” veils are all the rage, but I think I want something more classic. “Classic” or traditional in wedding veils can be shoulder-length, elbow-length, fingertip-length, “waltz” length, floor-length, chapel-length, cathedral-length, or just totally arbitrary. They can be a single layer, or two layers, or even three layers (apparently, for the girl who just can’t let go of the ‘Eighties); they can include a blusher or not; they can be a round or an oval “mantilla” worn as a single layer or folded into two layers; they can be a “drop” veil, a ”petal” veil, a square veil, a cascading veil … the options are dizzying. After much delibration (and harassing my long-suffering bridesmaids with a flurry of emails on the subject), I’ve decided that I like the round or oval shape of mantilla veils, which can be attached to a comb without any gathering or else worn with hat or bobby pins. I’m very excited about the fact that this type of veil has no gathering, as I dislike the “poofy” look of most veils. While most mantilla veils are traditionally edged in lace (a variation on the mantilla worn in Catholic festivals in Spain), nowadays they can have embroidered edges, ribbon edges, corded edges or just a plain, cut edge with no additional adornment. As for whether I’ve chosen a lace or a plain or an embroidered edge, that will be revealed at the wedding (again, this blog is a joint venture with my beloved, and he must know nothing of how I will look before the Main Event!). I was thinking about wearing the mantilla like a “drop” veil, dropping in front of my face like a blusher and then having Rich fold it back for the ceremony-ending kiss. It seemed like a romantic idea, but it was quickly dismissed by my wise bridesmaids. I guess I’m just not a blusher kind of girl (or, as my loving lead attendant and sister Victoria none-too-gently reminded me, I’m probably too old not to look silly wearing one). Here, on the left, is a mantilla veil worn as a drop blusher and also, on the right, a good examples of a completed look (with a beautiful gown and a lovely veil) that I like:
Couture veils are very “in” these days. Trendy designers that I like include Sara Gabriel, Erica Koesler, Toni Federici and Christina Garcia. If I buy a veil, it will definitely be from one of those designers. There’s a slight possibility my mother might make it for me, but since I’m already hitting her up for alterations on my bridesmaids’ gowns and a few other things, I don’t know if I’ll be asking her to bite off more than she can chew. I also have a sneaking suspicion I’ll be biting my nails at the last minute, worrying that she might not finish it in time (she is an amazingly talented seamstress, but a bit of a procrastinator like I am!). Moreover, for the quality of the materials that I want for my veil, making one wouldn’t provide any significant savings over purchasing one already made. I’m leaning toward buying one, but we shall see what Mother thinks when the time comes. I’ll keep you posted!
Here are some examples of veils I like from my favorite veil designers:
Left: mantilla with cut edge by Sara Gabriel; Right: hat and birdcage blusher by Erica Koesler
Lace Mantilla by Toni Federici
Mantilla and comb, both by Christina Garcia