UNVEILED Network Member Sophie always had a passion for sewing and beadwork. Her Nannie taught her how to do bobbin lace when she was just 5-years-old and it wasn’t long before she learnt how to bead and sew to perfection.
In her late teens, she trained for two years in costume at the Royal Opera House and was then a milliner for Disney for three years, creating hundreds of beaded headdresses for productions and films all around the world. Sophie loved it but craved more creative freedom and, what we always like to hear, secretly wanted to work in the wedding industry.
She made a veil for a friend who was very behind on her wedmin, and ta dah, Unveiled By Sophie was born! She’s renowned in the wedding industry for creating truly beautiful veils, and her work has even featured in the pages of Vogue. We’re in awe of her talent and can’t wait to share our interview with her – so read on for everything you ever wanted to know about wedding veils and your perfect wedding day look.
Sophie says: The best part of my job is that I can empower women and make them feel beautiful. In a world where we are so often pitted against one another, I love how I can create exquisite pieces which are as unique and individual as my brides.
Brides always come to me at the happiest point in their lives and I think there’s something really lovely about sharing that time with them. Whether you want to spend £100 or £1000, you’ll get the same personal service from me.
I always think, without a veil you’re just a girl in a white dress – add a veil and you’re a bride.
Unlike many shops who import veils cheaply from China, every veil is made to order in the UK. This affords the bride the ability to literally change any – and every – detail of a veil in the existing range or work with me to design her dream veil to perfectly match and compliment her dress. We source exquisite laces and tulle from around the world so not only do you get the best quality veil, but there are endless design options.
We also work directly with the bride’s dress shop to ensure the right length and colour, so it’s a hassle-free experience. We offer such a wide selection of styles of designs – from hand embroidery to lace, crystals to pearls, which means if you can imagine it, we can create it.
Veils often get a bad wrap for being dated and like net curtains. And don’t get me wrong, many you see in shops (or from your Mum’s 80s wedding!) are not that great quality-wise or the style you’d want now.
Our style is classic elegance with a modern edge. We encapsulate the beauty of each bride, tell her story with personal details, and create veils to accentuate her dress.
I’d say there’s a real mix! We have some very classic designs, like our Belle Soft Tulle Veil which flows like silk. This one’s really popular with our timeless brides.
Our main clientele is the bride who can’t quite find what she’s looking for on the high street, who has a unique style and want’s a veil to complete her look. We absolutely love the mix of ideas that brides come with, whether that’s a Memory Veil with sentimental embroidery, or something really dramatic. We believe any design is possible!
A lot of inspo comes from the brides themselves. As a designer, I feel that my biggest strength is taking a few initial ideas and styles and running with them to create a stunning piece, so that the bride really feels part of the process and like they’ve created their veil.
For the main collection, a lot of my inspiration comes from nature – the 2021 collection features lots of florals. I also love taking elements from past bespoke designs and developing them for the collection, and I always name the pieces after the bride who inspired them.
We offer a range of four beautiful tulles in our main collection because different veils suit different dresses and settings. On the decoration side, we source lovely French laces which are hand cut to the design and high quality crystals which are individually applied. We also create veils with embroidery (think Hayley Bieber!) and we use a range of techniques from hand to machine embroidery, depending on the bride’s vision.
We have made the process really straight forward. Initially, brides think veils are really simple, but there’s actually a lot more that goes into them. There’s different tulles, gathers, combs, and lengths to name a few.
Brides can purchase straight through the website, where every veil can be ordered in differing lengths and tulles and then tried on at home. We always recommend ordering tulle samples so the bride can see which tulle they like best.
On the bespoke veil side, we always encourage brides to book a consultation, whether that’s over the phone, Zoom or in person. This is a great starting point to discuss ideas (and budget) to make sure what the bride has in mind is doable. Then we take a £25 deposit, which covers the research, design, pricing, samples, and costing of the veil – this is also deductible from the final balance.
If you are going for a lace veil, we source up to 10 different laces which we feel would compliment your dress and that would work with the design, which fall within the budget.
Once the bride chooses their favourite two, we then sketch a design and price up. We always give options for all the elements of the veil and a clear price breakdown so the bride can do a ‘pick and mix’ and see where the costs come in. Once the final design has been okayed, 50% is due to secure the order. We then order the lace (or finishings) and when it arrives, we send photos of the veil pinned. Any lace can be moved and this really gives the bride full control over the veil and seeing what it’ll look like before it arrives. Once the design is approved, we stitch it and the final balance is due before dispatch. The current lead time on bespoke veils is 10 weeks.
The feedback from my clients is so wonderful. A common thing a bride will mention is how straightforward and stress-free the process is. As a fellow bride, I understand how it feels to be a Covid bride!
“I can’t recommend Sophie and her veils enough. From the very first conversation I had with Sophie, I was put at ease and knew that my veil vision and budget was in safe hands. Not only was Sophie super quick with sourcing materials and gathering my veil idea, but nothing was too much bother. She understood everything I wanted and her communication is ace too. It’s one of the best things I’ve done in my wedding preparations. I can’t wait to wear it and show it off!”
“Cannot stop talking to people about my amazing veil from Sophie! I wanted something a little different for my veil, instead of just standard white with lace, and she made my ideas come to life. It looks better than I could have ever imagined and I want to wear it constantly. She was always quick to reply to emails and made the process so easy and always made sure to stay within the budget we agreed. Wish I had more reason to wear a veil just so I could order again with her!”
Be honest about your budget. Just like when you go dress shopping, you don’t try on the £20k dress because, chances are, you’ll fall in love with it and nothing will compare. I know none of us like talking about money, but it’s so helpful to have a realistic idea of what you’d like to spend. There are so many ways we can bring the veil in on budget – from slightly reducing the length or width (and the decorated area), reducing the size of the embroidery or using our standard laces, which we buy in bulk. I fundamentally believe we can create something to suit your budget.
Consider the setting. It’s always good to think about the setting on the day. If you have a really grand aisle like in a cathedral, probably a long veil would be most suited. If you’re having an outdoor rustic wedding, we always recommend not going for the soft tulle as it picks up twigs, leaves and just about anything it’s dragged over! But, don’t worry, you don’t need to know all this as we can advise on what would work best for you and your day.
Don’t leave it until the last minute. Our process is really relaxed and I always think that’s much nicer. We do offer a rush service, but save yourself the stress and extra money and think ahead. We really enjoy spending time perfecting the design for our brides.
Never colour match in electric light or assume your dress is white! Most dresses are ivory even though they appear white. We always recommend ordering tulle samples and then comparing them to your dress in natural light. In electric light all the colours look the same. If in doubt, find out! With my bespoke veils, if there’s any doubt over the dress colour we always confirm it with the shop directly.
Although it’s really tempting to buy cheap, you more often than not buy twice. I’ve had so many brides who have bought veils from China which look great in the photos, but when they arrive, they are poorly sewn scratchy tulle and make you sweat (and let’s face it, us brides don’t need any help being Sweaty Betty on the big day!). A veil doesn’t need to break the bank to be beautiful, but like with all the bride and groom’s accessories – I think it’s a really good place to invest. You will be in 99% of the photos! If it were me, I’d ditch the favours and spend the extra money on getting a quality veil or accessory.
Don’t just buy from your dress shop. So often I get brides who have already bought a veil and have changed their mind. I think when you’re in the ‘I’ve found the gown’ moment it’s easy to get sucked into buying all the add ons that have been plonked on. I would always recommend having a think and taking some time because then, even if you do go back and get the veil or accessory, you know it’s the one.
I think it’s all about the simple dress and statement veil. After Hayley Bieber’s ‘TILL DEATH DO US PART’ veil and Meghan Markle’s exquisite embroidered veil – showstopping veils are here to stay. I think in the past, brides considered their veil as an afterthought, but now there’s so many options to make it really special and personal, it’s a way of expressing their individual style.
Seeing Stacey Solomon wearing one of my designs would be my absolute dream! She’s one of the few celebs who seems so honest and down to earth on social media and I think that’s really refreshing. We also have a few celebs in the pipeline but my lips are sealed on that one!
You can now secure your Bespoke Veil Quote (still deductible) for £15 instead of £25 with the code QUOTE10 on the website. Simply visit our website and add Bespoke Veil Quote to your bag and then enter the code above.
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