Unveiling wedding veils…

4th November 2011


This week we have organised an interview with veil designer Ann Guise, a real veil artist. She is telling you all you need to know about veils and how to chose yours, to suit you and your dress.

Can you tell us the different fabrics available for veils and how a bride should chose her’s?

Ann Guise: The most popular fabric for making wedding veils is tulle. This can be made from silk, cotton or polyester.
I use silk tulle which is woven using traditional methods dating back to the
early 1800s. In the 1960s a less expensive knitted silk tulle came about to try
and mimic the original tulle.  This tulle is still made today but I don’t use it because it can be rather floppy and stretchy.  Cotton tulle is used for the base of Belgian princess lace wedding veils. It is heavier and more opaque than the silk tulle.  Wedding veils can also
be made from chiffon or organza.

What are the different possible lengths/shapes? What should a bride take into consideration when choosing her veil?

AG: Bridal stores have standard lengths for veils such as fingertip, chapel, cathedral etc.  I make veils to a bride’s specific required length and style.  My veils are  made to measure so the bride can have the correct length to suit her.  Shop measurements can sometimes be confusing because the length of the veil usually includes the length of the blusher.

The style of veil is a bride’s choice. She should have the veil she wants and never feel pressurised into wearing something because it is the proper’ or ‘right’ way.

Decoration on  the dress and length of train need to be considered when deciding on a style. A veil shouldn’t distract from the total look of the outfit.  The eye should
centre on the bride with the veil creating an aura around her.  A short veil can make the back look too busy if it cuts across detail such as a bodice edge, embroidery or a sash etc. all in the same area. In this instance, I usually suggest a long veil because silk tulle is sheer and will allow detail to show through. A short veil can also make a short bride look shorter by cutting her in half. If a bride chooses a short veil the rule of thirds will give balance, but features on the back should still be taken into account.

One or more layers. What difference does it make on the look/shape of the veil?

AG: One or more layers are again personal choice. If a bride is going to wear a blusher (the short top layer) over her face then she will need a 2 tier veil. This can be full or centre gathered, a full gathered veil by its very name means that the veil is fully gathered and
will give more ‘pouf’ and height.   A single tier veil can be full gathered, or mantilla which sits flat on the head. I once made a veil 3 metres x 3 metres which had no gathering at all. A centre gathered veil is usually 2 tiered with the top tier falling around the bride’s

What are the possible adornments on your veils?

AG: I can add lace, silk ribbon, Swarovski diamante, crystals, pearls, bespoke embroidery – just about anything the bride wants. One bride had a design around the edge which echoed the design of her engagement ring.

What would be your advice on adding lace, crystals, embroideries or silk ribbon edges? Are there cases where it is better to have a simple silk veil without any adornments?

AG: If a dress is very elaborate or has lots of decoration it is better to keep the veil simple so that it frames the bride and the dress. Detail from the dress can be linked to the veil, such as a lace pattern or embroidery and maybe incorporated into the veil by way of appliqué or a narrow co-coordinating embroidered edge around the veil. This really makes the veil unique. A satin ribbon edge can sometimes look a bit harsh, but looks wonderful with a structured satin dress.

What would you advise to a bride who is on a budget?

AG: I would suggest a simple, elegant plain silk veil. Nothing drapes quite like silk. A stiff polyester veil can often spoil the look of the whole outfit. Maybe a kind mother, grandmother or aunt could add beading or other decoration to the veil. I’m happy to work with a bride and her budget to make sure she has the veil she really wants.

Can you tell us about you and your experience?

AG: I always loved sewing. I had a child’s sewing machine age 5 and taught myself to sew age 7 after watching an item ‘how to make a simple doll’s dress’ on the children’s TV programme ‘Blue Peter’!  I had basic hand sewing lessons in primary school and 1st year of high school. I made my own clothes from age 11 after being given an electric Singer sewing machine for Christmas.

I graduated in Fashion and Textile Design after studying for 3 years at Harrow School
of Art, now part of the University of Westminster. I worked as a Costume Designer with BBC TV in London and Cardiff and was nominated for a BAFTA (Cymru) for best costume design. I also worked as a couture bridal wear designer, and during this time was awarded Fellowship of the Chartered Society of Designers (FCSD).

Why wedding veils and more specifically why pure silk wedding

AG: Being a Fashion Designer, many of my friends asked me to make their bridal gown and veil and I always suggested a silk wedding veil. I also made my own silk veil because I wasn’t inspired by the feel and look of polyester ones. I’ve always loved the feel of beautiful fabrics.   I decided to start my business specialising in making silk wedding veils so that all brides can have the choice and opportunity to wear a couture silk wedding veil, which then becomes a family heirloom. No one else, that I know of, specialises solely in making
couture silk wedding veils.

Where do you sell your veils?

AG: Distance is no object where my veils are concerned. I have made silk veils for clients all over the world Australia, Canada, USA, Hong Kong, Dubai, New Zealand,
and Europe. I had one bride in Hong Kong who ordered her veil and was married
all within 2 weeks!  I have pictures of some of my brides on my ‘Real Brides’ page on my website. The internet makes the world a very small place.  The ordering process is very simple and exactly the same no matter where a bride lives.

Thank you Ann for answering all our questions! If you would like to know more about veils, come back on this blog soon as we will continue our wedding veils series with some example of Ann Guise veils.

If you have questions to address to Ann about your wedding veil, you can contact her via her website www.annguise.co.uk.