Veils are really expensive. Well, you can get a really cheap, fingertip-length piece of tulle with some beads glued on it. But if you want something nice, it costs a lot of money. Which it should, in the case of nice, handmade, high-quality veils! Those take a TON of time and effort. Of course, then there’s the ridiculously overpriced crap that people sell, banking on a bride’s liberal spending because it’s her wedding. Either way, you’re in for a big cash ding if you want something fancy without doing it yourself.
I decided on a long veil with a crown and scattered crystals, with lace trim at the bottom but not the sides. I don’t really like huge, poofy, dramatic wedding dresses (they’re gorgeous, just not on me), so I’m relying on the veil for the drama. Plus, in my heart of hearts, I’m still a little enamored with elves and fantasy creatures. I don’t want to do a costume or a theme wedding, but a simple wire-and-crystal circlet nods to my love of fantasy while not being silly about it. I hope.
Time: Lots of time. But only because I hand stitched on itty-bitty crystals with clear nylon invisi-thread over a full yard of material, practically going blind in the process. Not counting the crystals, it probably took less than two hours for everything.
Total cost: ~$19. Which was more than necessary; I bought way too much wire because I went to the store without a clear design in my head. Don’t do that.
~$4 for the tulle (I sprang for the expensive tulle and used a 50% off coupon)
~$9 for the beads
~$.75 for the trim
~$6 for the wire (with a 40% off coupon)
The wire was the most unnecessary expense. I could have easily gotten by with two $2-spools of different gauges (or one, if I weren’t a little scared of the soldering iron) but I overbought like crazy. Oh well, live and learn. The beads, also, could have been less than half as much; I bought far too much of two sizes and ultimately only needed one of the larger size, for the center front of the crown. I count that as a partial win, though, because I really like that center bead. Plus, who doesn’t need a ton of itty bitty beads lying around? Ahem.
The crown is just a simple 4-strand braid made from 18-gauge wire. At each of the center crossings, I used 22-gauge wire to wrap the joints and add a crystal. This added sparkle, structural integrity and hid the wraps. I might go back and solder the other joins to make everything really solid, but it’s good enough. There’s a huge twist at the center back, but the veil covers that pretty well. If I had used larger crystals/beads, I would have threaded them directly onto the braid crossings and avoided the wire wrap. Unfortunately, my wire was too thick to pass two strands through a single bead.
(Confused about how to do a 4-strand braid? This video tutorial from Of Dreams and Seams makes it dead simple.)
The veil itself is one yard of really nice tulle. I used a rotary cutter to even out the edges, and clear nylon invisible thread to attach crystals at random spots as well as the gold-and-white trim at the bottom. My wedding will be in the evening (it’s in July, outdoors, in a very hot part of the country), so I wanted something that would catch the lights and glitter whenever the wind moves the veil. I didn’t want to cover it in glitter, because I don’t like glitter, and I didn’t want it to be too overboard, so I found the teeniest, tiniest rainbow-sparkle beads I could and spaced them out over the tulle. After some debate, I ran thread through the top and sewed it to a comb instead of the crown because the weight of the long tulle was dragging the crown at an angle that made my ears stick out.
Originally I was going to use Swarovski crystals, since they seem to be the gold (or crystal, amiright) standard. But guess what? They have lead in them. Yep. Is it a small amount of lead? Yes. Do I want it on my head? Not particularly. That’s part of why I didn’t solder the joins, either; I don’t want to go out and buy non-lead solder material. (Can you tell I watched last weeks’ Cosmos? It reminded me about lead and got me all over-sensitive about stuff.)
I didn’t add a blusher, because that is the problematic part of the veil for me. It’s the part that’s supposed to protect the bride’s beauty (and provide plot devices for Shakespeare and George R.R. Martin), symbolize the uncovering/losing of her virginity, and all that awkward stuff. So I guess technically it’s not really a veil anymore, is it? Well, I’m not sure what else to call it. “Gathered piece of floaty fabric stuck on the back of my head” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Overall I’m very happy with the effect. And $20 for a waltz-length veil isn’t bad! Even though I could have spent less than $10.
Bonus: Because of my over-buying, I was able to make a crown for the Male Compatriot, too! He’s not sure if he’ll wear it or not, but again, it’s nice to have options. His crown is just a normal, three-strand braid of wire, with two strands of wire held together as one. Easy peasy.