The Magic Of The Veil

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Growing up, I often watched old black and white romance movies on TV with my Bubbe. We used to swoon together over elegant movie stars in sweeping bridal gowns, their thick eyelashes peeking out from underneath all kinds of veils. The cathedral length veils, the chic birdcage veils, the floaty waltz veils. Oy vey! All the veils!

The first time I fell in love, I dreamed, for the first time, of my own wedding: this fantasy included a little Juliet cap with an opaque drop veil, just like Grace Kelly’s. Wearing whimsical, girly clothes is one way I express my personality, but I’m a feminist, too. Independent, self- sufficient woman that I am, my desire to wear a veil on my wedding day was never about being complicit to an outdated patriarchal notion of marriage.

David Pullum Photogoraphy Jewish Wedding Photographer in London
A veil narrative imprinted itself in my psyche during those early days watching movies with my Bubbe, but it was never an antiquated narrative. Rather, the veil has always represented something potent to me: the day I’d wear a veil would be the day where I’d commit to share my life with someone I loved, someone who loved me too.

As I approached my thirties, I began to search in earnest for a life partner. In marriage I’d cease to be a single woman who was always dating the wrong men. I’d become a woman who was committing to one person for a lifetime, a woman who would do everything in her power to make this important relationship last.

After two decades of often disastrous dating, I met my husband when I was 38, and our whirlwind courtship felt a little like magic. Magic requires the right accessories – enter, the veil.

When my Mom first placed my veil on my head, I knew I’d found ‘the one.’ We both welled up a little: it was a version of me that neither of us had ever seen – by its very presence on my head, the veil had transformed me into a bride.

A tiara, a floral hair wreath, even a long white gown — these aren’t exclusively for brides. But the veil is unique: its placement on my hair was a signifier to mark a day when something was going to happen that would shape my life.

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The Veil’s History

In the Greek and Roman times, brides wore long red or orange veils, called flammeum s resembling a flame, the veil was supposed to scare off evil spirits. The theatricality of these early veils no doubt set the stage for the show stopping veils of today. This veil was also a way of shielding the bride’s face – most marriages were arranged and it was bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding – his bride would be revealed to him only after the ceremony had been concluded.

Over time, as religious weddings became increasingly popular, the veil was repurposed, becoming a sign of humility and respect before God. The Hollywood movie moment of a groom lifting the veil before kissing his new wife comes from the religious idea that once the bride and groom become husband and wife, only then can they be together in a physical way.

Chris Giles
Much of this historical context behind the veil felt irrelevant to me as I was shopping for my veil, out of step with the life I was living. I lived with my fiancé; we were trying for a baby. Yet despite its historical and cultural baggage, the veil had meaning for me. After twenty years of trying and failing at romantic relationships, something had shifted. Much like my engagement ring and my bridal gown, the veil issued a statement – a new phase was about to begin.

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STG Recommends: Qube Events & Productions


I am thrilled to welcome Qube Events & Productions to our Smashing Suppliers, Smashing The Glass’s handpicked selection of the best brands and services the wedding industry has to offer.

Smashing The Glass hand selects and verifies each Smashing Supplier, and can personally vouch for the fact that every one of them has the ability to turn your wedding day into something truly special.

You can find Qube Events & Productions in the Wedding Planning category in the UK Smashing Suppliers.

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A super-luxe champagne gold and ivory Jew-ish wedding at St Ermin’s, London, UK

All that glitters… is, in fact, gold, but only at this very special super-luxe Jew-ish wedding.

Nina and Matt’s wedding took place at top London hotel St Ermin’s and was, simply put, chic beyond words. The couple’s champagne gold and ivory colour scheme perfectly complemented the breathtaking venue with its high ceilings and opulent chandeliers.

Every detail was captured by exceptional photographer, Nadine Van Biljon, including the epic moment the bride and groom were showered with colour-coordinated champagne gold confetti – every glitter lover’s dream, and that moment when BOTH the bride and groom smashed the glass – we simply adore this! Nina told us:

Both of us broke a glass to say goodbye to the past and hello to a future together. We will be bringing the two glasses together to make one as an ornament.”

We love all of the little stories that paint a picture of the perfect day, from the wonderful tale about Anthropologie customer service that makes us want to drop everything and head to the nearest store, to the best man singing his speech.

We also love the beautiful ways in which Nina honoured her late grandmother, showing that the ones we love never truly leave us.

Over to Nina with the full story about her and Matt’s decadent and dreamy wedding day.

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How we met

Nina, the bride: We met on Plenty of Fish! Though if you ask Matt, he would say Vegas! We knew very quickly that we were perfect for each other.

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Finally finding the perfect venue: St Ermin’s in London

After dragging Matt around 18 venue visits across London, we knew that we wanted something different, somewhere no one had been or expected. We finally found that at St Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster. It’s a true hidden gem of London. The staff were incredibly friendly, the history is amazing and we instantly felt comfortable and knew it was special. We love going back there now and it holds a very special place in our hearts.

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Real Jewish Brides: Creating The Perfect Jewish Wedding Gift Registry

How many times have you asked somebody “What do you want for your birthday?” or “What do you want for Hanukkah?” only to hear the usual “I don’t know. You don’t have to get my anything!”

Being on both the giving and receiving end of this conversation numerous times, I love wedding registries! They make wedding gift shopping so easy for a guest and eliminate that dreaded question, “What do you want for your wedding?” for the bride. and groom It can be extremely awkward to ask for specific items, especially if they are on the more expensive side, but the wedding registry allows your guests to see exactly what it is that you and your partner want or need as you begin to build your new lives together while being able to stay on their own personal budget.

You’ve Got to Start Somewhere!

As with most wedding planning aspects, building your registry can be both fun and a bit stressful. You may find that you and your fiancé(e) value different things, and who knew that you’re actually supposed to register for a certain number of gifts at different price points based on the number of guests you’re having?!

We decided it would be best to register at two stores with a nation-wide presence because it would give our guests options and would make things simpler for those who are coming from out-of-town. We also knew not to limit this process to one day because it can easily become overwhelming.

Many stores that offer a wedding registry service, including the two we used (Macy’s and Bed, Bath, and Beyond) do a great job or providing Wedding Registry Guides/Checklists and a personal shopping assistant to help you through the process.

They definitely alleviate some of the stress that comes with an afternoon full of decision-making by offering information about best sellers and items that typically are left on the registry, as well as those items that you may think are necessary but usually end up getting returned after the wedding. They also do fun events and promotions to get couples excited about registering, such as Macy’s “Sip and Scan” event where Harley and I won two nights at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott. We’re saving it until after the wedding, so we still have a staycation to look forward to!

(From L to R) Menorah by Jonathan Adler  | Menorah by Studio Armadillo

Registering for Jewish Holidays and for your Lifestyle

One of the benefits of having a 16 month engagement is that we’ve gotten to experience a whole year of life and annual celebrations in that time. There are so many things that I did not consider when we initially set up our registry that came up in that time. For example, I only added an Apple & Honey Dish to the registry after Rosh Hashanah, and I never would have thought about adding an electric knife until our Thanksgiving host and hostess went on the hunt for one that day! (Side note: Many people have complete knife sets on their wedding registries, but according to folklore, it’s bad luck to give knives as a wedding gift because it signifies a broken relationship. Expect a penny from me if this is your gift of choice!)

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Jewish rustic barn wedding with a Fairy Gothmother Dress and fresh wildflowers at Colville Hall, Essex, UK

Happy Friday everyone! To celebrate the imminent arrival of the weekend, sit back and enjoy this real wedding, which had such a fantastic party atmosphere that it spilled over into a second party the day after the big day.

Cool and quirky bride, Hannah, looked like a stunning artistic vision with wildflowers in her hair, in her tea-length Fairy Gothmother dress and wow-factor sparkly green Irregular Choice heels. 

We love all of the unique ideas that express the couple’s life together, with their many in jokes, including stick-figure illustrated invitations and some special, limited edition, Hannah and Peter Sauce. 

A personalised chuppah is always a winner and, in this case, the couple asked their loved ones to contribute a square each to a homemade patchwork chuppah, with their friends and family’s heartfelt wishes watching over them during the ceremony.

The whole story of the day and all of its detail and emotion was expertly captured by photographer Marianne Chau. We’ll hand over to Hannah now for the full report on her and Peter’s rustic barn wedding. Take it away, Hannah! 

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How we met

Hannah, the bride: We met on Jdate, much to our surprise and shock!

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A venue with character at an old converted Tudor barn in Essex

We got married at Colville Hall which is an old converted Tudor barn near Hatfield Heath in Essex, UK. There were two barns on the site and we used one for the ceremony and dancing and the other one for dinner. We chose the venue partly because we needed somewhere big enough to fit all of our guests (!) but mainly because we wanted somewhere with character and outdoor space as we were having a summer wedding.

We added a lot of personal touches throughout right from our hand drawn invites to the ceremony to the drinks at the bar which we think gave our wedding a unique ‘Hannah and Peter’ laid-back feel.

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