Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How Can a Bridal Milliner Help You?

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Bridal Milliner Debra Shirley of Millinery, Etc. was kind enough to give us the scoop on how a milliner can really help put the final touches on a perfect wedding look! Read on for trends, ideas and a bit more about the process!


Emily Gualdoni


Will you please give a brief history of trends in bridal headpieces?
Millinery is the art of making hats, and up until the 1980's Bridal hats were still often worn in weddings.

In the 1990's elaborately decorated crown headpieces took over the wedding scene, some complete with large back "pouf's" in addition to veiling.

In the 2000's the "crown" piece became noticeably smaller and less grandiose.

The current trend in wedding headpieces is a smaller, delicate piece that catches the light that is worn at the side of the head either towards the back, or closer to the Bride's face if she prefers a bolder look.

It may surprise you to learn that the trends I've been noticing are rooted in the past. I have been getting requests from my brides to incorporate details from their mother's or grandmother's headpiece or veil to be added as part of her own bridal piece.

For instance, I recently removed a lace border from the train of a Mom's wedding dress, and applied it to the bottom of her daughter's floor length veil as a lovely finishing touch. Another bride brought me lace flowers that were attached to her Mom's dress and I refashioned them into a headpiece for her.



What is your goal and process as a Bridal Milliner?
My first goal as a Bridal Milliner is to help compliment the overall image of the Bride in her Wedding gown for her special day.

The first step is to meet with the Bride in her dress. I first notice the shape of the gown itself. Then I pay close attention to the particular details of the dress. I consider specific design lines and areas of interest especially on the back of the gown when determining which veil length will be most flattering.

In many cases, the best option is a sheer, understated floor length veil that will give a continuous flow to the ensemble. This way, there is no cut off point, nothing to pull the eye away from the features of the gown or from the Bride's figure.

Beyond the length and shape of the veil, the possibility of adding custom embellishments such as matching lace or beading is discussed. I am quite fond of a hint of matching detail to truly gel a bridal look together. If not on the veil, then in a decorative hairpiece that remains on after the veil has been removed for the reception. Wearing a headpiece that compliments the wedding gown is the perfect way for the Bride to feel polished and put together throughout the evening.

Emily Gualdoni


Why hire a Bridal Milliner?
You might consider meeting with a Milliner if you wanted to ensure that your bridal ensemble was very polished, and "put together," or if you wanted to add a unique, custom, hand-crafted touch in an accessory.


What is one of your favorite millinery projects you've worked on recently?
I worked with a bride that had selected a fairly simple lace dress, knowing that she wanted much of the interest to focused near her face. I created a beautiful floral fascinator from silk petals and lace that matched her dress perfectly. Surrounding the headpiece was french veiling to add a bit of a vintage feel. She also wore a birdcage veil in front of her face for the ceremony.

What was particularly fun about this bride, was that she also wanted her bridesmaids, and her mother to each wear a fascinator to match their dresses. It was thrilling to be able to add so much to not just the look of the bride, but really to a large section of the entire wedding party.



Will you please give us a few tips to keep in mind while shopping for wedding accessories? 
- Envision your perfect look as a whole -- see yourself from head to toe. The dress is only one piece of the puzzle.

- Give yourself time to experiment with how you will be wearing your hair on the big day. Once you know, it's easier to move on to what you'll be wearing in your hair.

- In selecting a wedding veil, consider all the lines and details on the gown, try not to cut into or distract from interest on the dress.

- In selecting a headpiece, try to compliment the particular details of the gown in the elements of the headpiece. It results in a unified, continuous, flowing look that will be beautiful on your wedding day and in your photographs for years to come. 

Emily Gualdoni


To learn more about Debra Shirley's handmade creations, visit Millinery, Etc. All headpieces are crafted using traditional millinery techniques while incorporating new and re-purposed materials to create a truly one-of-a-kind piece!


Photos courtesy of Debra Shirley

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