AOW A-Z of Getting Married – V is for Veil


The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be.  It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel.  Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there.  From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds.  We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.

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V is for Veil by Penny (all photos by Black Eye Specialist)

I like to to think of myself as a little bit unconventional. Not in a living-on-a-houseboat-with-six-cats-and-a-zebra unconventional, just, you know, a little bit not normal.

When we decided to get married, I knew I wanted to be an unconventional bride. At first I was content to simply eschew the classic manor house/big dress template. Then one day I discovered “alternative” wedding blogs. The cupcakes towers, the vintage tea-sets, the pretty pretty bunting. Suddenly there was a whole raft of other things I knew I definitely didn’t want. If all those things reflected other people’s quirks, how could they reflect mine? So I became a DIY wedding miserablist… if I’d seen it more than once online, we weren’t having it, and that was that. The thought that anybody might have been to a wedding earlier in the year with the same smart-arse guest-book idea was too much to bear.

Needless to say, I didn‘t want to wear anything that had been done before either. I didn’t want a white or cream dress, and I definitely wasn’t going to wear a veil. Veils to me meant tumbling cascades in churches on  serene, traditional brides, or chic little birdcage veils on vintage brides with their immaculate period styling and poise. I had been to these weddings and seen those brides, and I was not either of them.

No no no no no.

(I know we’re supposed to be looking at the veil, but let’s face it, Penny’s legs could start a war)

So when I found my dress (which wasn’t seafoam green, like the one in my head, but an annoyingly bridal champagne) and I looked at the bouffy skirt made of feathers and my friend Suzy said to me “it needs something. It needs something on the top. It needs…..” she didn’t need to say it. I knew what it needed. And it wasn’t a ten gallon hat.

It needed a veil.

A veil. A VEIL I TELL YOU. How was I going to do wear a veil without compromising my very essence?

Then I was watching some awful 80s wedding film, and it all fell into place. I needed to resurrect the pouffy veil. The kind of pouffy veil that pops up when you put “bad taste wedding” in Google. Something massive that woodland animals could hide in. A cloud of tulle on my bonce that would swell over the amassed friends and relatives like a mushroom cloud of unadulterated bridal ridiculousness.

The only thing that would feel right was something that was oh so very wrong. And that is what I wore. I wore a veil. My kind of veil.

I contacted a lovely lady on Etsy who made me a bubble veil, dyed to match the exact shade of my dress. And it big and pouffy and it made me feel fabulous. And my backtracking didn’t stop there….we did have bunting (because, flatly, bunting is a really quick way to decorate a large space and it looks really cool), and we did have a cake table because – well because we really like cake, and we did have board games as centre-pieces even though it turned out my friend’s friend had that the summer before because oh just because we wanted to. And do you know what? It was all good. I had a champagne coloured dress and a veil and a load of weddingy things that had been done before and the world didn’t end.

I might have been trying to move away from the perfect world of wedding blogs by doing things differently, but that in itself became an obsession. I was still letting other people’s day influence mine. Weddings are more than just a collection of well-thought-out stuff, even for those of us who really like stuff and build our sense of self through the stuff we have. Your friends and family know you and love you, they don’t need a clever place name to justify how great you guys are. They just know. Have clever place names if you want, if it makes you happy. But they already know.

What I’m trying to say is – your true self will out. Your personalities will shine through, whether your day is detail heavy or simple and unfussy, whether there are three hundred people there or just three.

Even in the middle of the craziest wedding-brain moments, know this:

You will find your pouffy veil.

It’s already there. It’s on your head, for the world to see.

Categories: A-Z of Getting Married
30 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    You nailed it.

    Beautiful and clever and so much more than a story about a veil.

    Bloody good veil it was though.

  2. Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Pouuuuuufffffyyyy veils forever!!

    Penny Wow.

    That should be your bride name.

  3. Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    This is the best advice ever. Can it be my general life philosophy?
    P.S. You look absolutely insanely awesome and beautiful

  4. Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I should have titled this post “why it is dangerous to pride yourself on being unconventional”. We set out to be so different and the whole process made me realise actually A. how normal we are and B. how none of it really matters when you’re surrounded by the people you love.


    • Gemma C-S
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Amen to that sista x

      • Becca
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        Completely. Yes. Absolutely.

        I wanted a wedding that was unconventional because it was routed in traditional (there being somewhat of a trend to be unconventional). In the end we’ve just gone for whatever shit we liked.

        Which includes a silk 144″ veil. Even though we’re not getting married in a Cathedral and the aisle isn’t very big at all and there’s a chance it’ll hit the back of the room when I’m stood at the front.

        ******* High Fives self for radical thinking *********

  5. Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Wow, love the pouffy veil, love the dress (amazing doesnt do it justice!)
    Also love the piece. Makes so much sense to me!
    Love it.
    (I’ve said love too many times, sorry!)

  6. Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Love you P meister! You are my hero.

  7. Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Love this – it’s so true.

    Gorgeous veil and dress (I do think a ten-gallon hat would look stunning with your dress too though ;-) )

  8. Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Just perfect Penny. As Anna said, so much more than a story about a veil. A wonderful tale for a Wednesday afternoon with lashings of humour mixed in and a sprinkling of wisdom to finish. Not to mention the pictures of a beautiful bride and a magnificent veil throughout!

  9. Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    *puts on best impatient child voice* when is penny’s wedding report going up? When? WHEN?
    Still love those converse.

  10. Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Just noticed that there are legs coming out of the veil on that last shot…

    • Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Awesome spot L-Sten – I wished for a squirrel in my veil and I ended up with a WHOLE HUMAN. And I didn’t even know.


  11. Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Seriously though, I can’t stop staring at Penny’s legs. Or the veil.

    Penny, as always you speak incredible amounts of sense. And as always, the request for you to be my life coach forever stands. I have nothing to add except I agree with every word and also why don’t I look that good in a pouffy veil, hmm?

    K x

  12. Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    a) I want legs like that. NOW.
    b) Am pretty sure that there is a 1 in a million chance I’d look that amazing in a veil. Let alone the mega-pouf.

    Beautiful post, and speaks so so much sense! x

  13. Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I love this post and as am a bit emotional today nearly cried. So then I listened to some rock music. So then I cried. I love this post and your photos and the message that is about more than just the veil. x

  14. Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for describing so well the need to be different that can become obsessive when in reality, you are going to be unique just by being you.
    This for some reason made me think of Spanish brand “Desigual” who tries so hard to make unique, quirky, different clothes and then mass-produces them.
    Some of their stuff I technically like but it is so expensive that I don’t see the point of paying for “uniqueness” that is going to be repeated to infinite by all the other people who will get it as well. I just don’t get it.

  15. Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Sobbing at how lovely you’re all being, thankyou for all your comments. Like Anna and Aisling my wedding report was also removed from a certain wedding blog, and the lovely AOW ladies are being generous enough to re-post it here in the not-too-distant future. You will all be sick of it soon, promise!


    • Becca
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      SERIOUSLY? How f****** pathetic

      • Amanda M
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        I don’t get this – WHY?

  16. Amanda M
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Ohhhh, you are so WAY too cool for skool. I am too intimidated to even speak to you! But I’ll venture a timid – you look amazing! Like a rock star bride. (Are you a rock star bride? I am too uncool to know. You probably are and I’m exposing my inherent un-cool)

    • Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Just you wait for her wedding report Amanda, your mind will be blown!

  17. Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Seafoam green! If someone finds that dress in seafoam green you MUST tell me! ;)

    Penny, loved seeing more pictures of your uber cool wedding! Brilliant advice, I think you are everyone on here’s hero!!

  18. Roz
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Wowzers Penny! What a stunningly beautiful bride. Love this post and you explaining your thought and how they changed. Also loving the veil with legs :) xx

  19. Mahj
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    I think I want Penski’s legs!
    I would also like head gear that small woodland animals could live it.

    This made me snort with laughter in a really unattractive way, so therefore that means I muchos love it.


  20. Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Penny, you are so ace. I’m going to make this compulsory reading for every bride I know xx

  21. Posted January 24, 2013 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    First reaction: Penny, I want your legs.

    More considered reaction (after tearing eyes away from her pins and actually reading the damn thing): Amazing advice, and so easy to forget. I was keen (for many reasons) not to have a conventional wedding, but after a few months and a whole lot of blog-browsing I caught myself trying to be actively unconventional: letting other people’s day impact my own. Long live pouffy veils!

  22. Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Everything about this post is brilliant, wise, and completely true. That is all.

    Actually that’s not all- I wish I knew what ‘certain blog’ everyone was talking about!

  23. Rach M
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    I loved this, Penny. You look amazing. Love the veil, the converse and most of all the’s so re-assuring. Brilliant. You are a knockout! And those legs….! xx

One Trackback

  • By AOW A-Z of Getting Married – Y is for Your Way on February 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    [...] Using this method I discovered a variety of things including that having a florist do the flowers wasn’t necessary for us and I wasn’t really bothered about my shoes (gasp!) BUT a live band was a must and I definitely wanted a long pouffy veil, never mind the cost. Yes, pouffy is a word – just ask Penny. [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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