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How to Choose the Perfect Headpiece and Veil for Your Facial and Body Features
All brides want to be beautiful on their wedding day, and often it is easy for them to picture themselves in a wedding gown. But once something is placed upon the head, the whole perception of self-image is altered. A well-designed veil will accent or de-emphasize certain facial or body features if chosen thoughtfully, as well as match the bride's personality, reflect the gown's features, and conform to the formality of the wedding and reception.
The headpiece should be ornate enough for the gown and not look like an afterthought. It is a very condensed area and therefore may be more heavily beaded than the gown. Many brides have been misinformed and feel that if their gown very ornate they should opt for a very small, simple, and inexpensive headpiece, when they should be concerned that the overall effect is a balanced one. The area framing the face is not a very good area to skimp on since it is the most viewed area of the bride both in person and in photography.
If it is possible to find or design a headpiece with some of the gown's prominent features a finished look will result. Be sure to use the same or very similar types of materials in your headpiece. It is ok, however, if the pattern itself varies. If in doubt, stick to an entirely beaded or floral headpiece to avoid conflict.
Try to keep the styling of the headpiece in sync with your gown as well. Modern and contemporary gowns look great with beaded combs, tiaras, back pieces, asymmetricals, and forehead pieces. Traditional gowns fare well with beaded combs, tiaras, floral bandeaus, asymmetricals, hats and wreaths. Very formal gowns almost require a tiara, pillbox, Juliet cap, mantilla, or crown.
In general, the best veil lengths are the waist-length and gown-length veils. These hit natural stopping points, and do not interfere with the gown's lines. Formal weddings almost beg for long veils (at least 6" past the train); and the illusion is very sheer so your gown will not be hidden underneath the veil at all. Detachable veils help to make these much more practical and comfortable. Fingertip veils tend to be the least flattering of all to both the bride and the gown.
A well-designed headpiece will accent or de-emphasize certain facial features if chosen thoughtfully. For example, a wreath or halo effect will round and shorten a face. Pointed tiaras, which are taller in the center than the sides, will slim a face.
As a general rule of thumb, any headpiece, which is tall and/or narrow, will slim and lengthen a face. Subsequently, a low and/or wide headpiece may shorten or widen a face. Therefore, if the bride wishes to de-emphasize a round face, she should avoid a round headpiece such as a wreath.
Keep in mind that the veiling may also alter your appearance. Long veils will lengthen and slim a body while shorter veils may emphasize the waist and hip area. Edged veils also tend to call attention to their ending areas, especially a waist-length veils which ends in the midsection. Probably to best way to get the full effect is to stand about 10 feet from the mirror and be sure that you are creating the image you have long dreamed of.
Below are some tips to help in the selection process:
1. To assure a uniform look, try to bring out your favorite features on your wedding gown.
2. You have spent a great deal of time on your gown, but how many pictures will actually show that train? And how many will show your face? Don't skimp here!
3. The correct veil length should generally hit at the waist or at least 6 inches past the train to avoid conflict with the lines of the gown. The train was designed to have long, flowing lines, and a fingertip veil will typically disrupt the lines creating a choppy, disharmonized look.
4. Try to find detachable veils if you would like a lighter look for the reception without messing up your wedding day hairstyle.
5. If you desire to slim or lengthen your face, try to implement long, slim lines in your headpiece and veiling. For example, try pointed tiaras or combs higher in the center than the sides.
6. For a long, thin face choose a more round looking ensemble. Wider, shorter tiaras and combs, brim hats, wreaths, and the like are often quite flattering.
7. A gown-length veil will also help to slim your figure! Think streamlined! Fingertip veils accent your hips!!
8. Stand back from the mirror to get the overall effect with both the gown and veil on. Don't tip your head down and look up at the mirror, because that is not how everyone else will see you.
9. Consider having your headpiece and veil custom designed by a professional bridal milliner who will measure the correct veil length on you. Many upscale salons will offer this or will measure and have their suppliers create exactly what will make your guests say, "What a beautiful bride!" rather than, "What a beautiful gown/veil!"
"The Famous Veil Lady from North Carolina" (according to Bridal Sources Magazine)
Copyright 1993, revised 2004
Cheryl King is the Chief Designer for Cheryl King, Ltd. Her designs can be found at her retail salon, Chantilly Lace of Wendell in Wendell, NC by appointment, as well as in leading bridal salons nationwide. She also has her designs featured in the editorials of bridal magazines. Mrs. King has been designing couture headpieces and veils since 1989, and also used natural pearls, sterling, and gold filled wire. Each piece is lovingly made by hand to your specifications. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 919.365.4462.
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