The wedding veil

The story behind the image.

Occasionally I get emails from potential brides who tell me that they aren’t bothered about ‘getting ready’ images. Which makes me sad. Mainly because I know it’s not about the ‘getting ready’.

Firstly there is something special about bridal prep… there is an essence of the calm before the storm, and some prep is more frantic and busy than others. But generally on the whole, there are moments that knock me for six.

And it could be anything. It could be a knowing glance from your mum across the room, it could be a reassuring touch from your best friend. Sometimes it’s just the way that a bride is taking in all the fuss and fluster whilst her make-up is applied… the moment she looks around at the craziness, the way she inhales and closes her eyes for a moment.. the way she breathes it all in as if trying to capture it in her minds eye so she can recall it all later.

I guess for a lot of brides, the moment it all gets real, is when the dress goes on. That precious 15 minutes as your mum or your closest friends see you at your most vulnerable… as they hold the silk and lace and fumble over 30 buttons down the back. It’s the moment your beautiful shoes go on… or the delicate bracelet loaned to you by your grandmother is gently fastened around your wrist. It’s one and a hundred things.

And sometimes it’s the moment that the veil goes on.

Putting on a veil is one of those moments where time stands still. It’s usually the final piece of the jigsaw and it has a transformative effect. One minute you’re standing in a beautiful gown, the next, there’s a delicate piece of lace and suddenly you are most definitely a bride. I know for some brides, the veil is a bit of an afterthought but for others, it is an integral part of their wedding trousseau.

For Hannah-Grace, it was all about the veil. But this wasn’t just any veil.

This delicate piece of lace and tulle is more than just an accessory. She didn’t choose it because it matched her dress, or that she could swish it in the breeze. She chose it because of what it meant. Of what it represented.

She chose it because this veil is a piece of history.

Lovingly hand stitched back in the 1890s, this veil is a reminder that we are connected to the past. That we still adhere to some little traditions not because of fashion, but because of something deeper.

Once upon a time, a beautiful bride would have worn this veil with pride and then tenderly wrapped it in tissue for her own daughter or grand daughter to wear on their wedding day. In this world of fast paced living and throwaway consumerism, it warms my heart that beautiful brides like Hannah-Grace are embracing vintage things, handed down over the centuries, to be loved and worn again. A little reminder that love makes the world go round.

I want to imagine that the bride who originally wore this veil, was as fun and loving as Hannah-Grace. I want to imagine that she married her handsome prince and they had a crazy life filled with adventures and were happy in each others company as they danced to a record playing on the gramophone together in the best room. I want to imagine them sharing beautiful moments where they held each other’s hand, and smiled the knowing smile of people who are in love. I want more than anything, to know that they were together for the rest of their lives.

And so, as Hannah’s veil was lifted up delicately and held in place whilst pins secured it, I saw the difference in Hannah’s eyes. I saw that this was the thing. The moment she’d been waiting for. The moment she actually became a bride.

I hope with as much hope as I can, that Hannah-Grace holds onto her veil.

I hope that she can pass it down, wrapped in tissue, to her daughter, or her granddaughter. I hope she and Will have a crazy life filled with adventures and dance to an old Nick Cave song on a scratchy piece of vinyl in their living room, holding each other’s hand and smiling the smile of people who are in love.

Wedding at Leftbank, Leeds. Yorkshire wedding photographer.
Hannah-Grace’s veil  and wedding gown were found in Jane Bourvis in London, who sources antique lace, and restores and recreates unique vintage gowns. Hannah-Grace’s dress is a copy of a 1930s original.  Hair and make-up was provided by the incredible Victoria Farr.



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