Things I Like: An Heirloom Lace Veil (& a Good Story)

05 | 17 | 2011

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I consider myself a collector of stories (sometimes a creator of them, but not in this case).  In this case, the story is even better than I’d imagined when I first came across this veil of exquisite beauty in the tiny bridal room at Stanford Chapel the morning of Louise’s wedding.  As she and I conversed (both there and since), and I learned more about the veil, I thought you folks might love this story as much as I do.

Connecting with the things our forebears have done for centuries is a powerful reason people get married and have weddings (and why it is an institution in all our human culture).  But getting to so tangibly, so physically connect to that past is one the rarest and most extraordinary privileges.

Plus: don’t you kind of love to imagine ladies with excruciatingly delicate fingers embroidering this lace by hand … over 150 years ago?!

From the bride:

“My grandmother grew up in San Francisco, and lived in an apartment building with her mother. They became close with Mrs. Kane, a woman down the hall who had no children of her own. When my grandmother was engaged, the neighbor loaned her a lace veil that had been handmade for *her* grandmother on her wedding day, but the neighbor never wore since she eloped.  The veil is well over a hundred years old! My grandma wore the veil when she married my grandfather in San Francisco in 1949. When they had three daughters of their own—Katie, Nyna and Mary Lou—Mrs. Kane decided the lace veil should be passed into our family permanently. Katie wore the veil when she was married in 1975; Nyna, who is my mother, wore the veil when she married my father in 1977; and Mary Lou wore the very same lace veil on her wedding day in 1980. From generation to generation, the antique lace will continue to be passed down to brides in the family, and I wore this same veil on my wedding day in March 2011.  My cousin Carrie will wear the lace next for her wedding on July 4, 2011.”
Lace worn:
Veil and collar:  Carolyn Tilton married to George Magee Cunningham, Jr.  July 30, 1949
veil and collar:  Nyna Lynn Cunningham married to William Dana Dolby, July 9, 1977
Veil and collar:  Mary Louise Cunningham married to Rex Douglas White, July 26, 1980
Collar and handkerchief lace on veil cap:  Kathleen Ann Cunningham married to Scott Norman Lamb, August 1975
Veil:  Louise Gabrielle Dolby married to Brian Everett Schultze, March 19, 2011
Collar:  Carolyn Elizabeth Judson to be married to Justin Urso, July 4, 2011
The veil was also borrowed and worn by the daughter of a good friend of my mom’s for her wedding in 2009.
photo: Gia Canali
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