I had a brilliant chance recently to meet with Rachel Sokhal to talk about everything to do with bridal accessories and bridal jewellery. Rachel has been in the wedding industry for 13 years now and is an absolute expert on choosing your bridal accessories and jewellery so I spent a little bit of time chatting to her, finding a little bit about her business and how she started and then asked her advice on how to choose your bridal accessories.
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Here’s what Rachel said:
Can you just introduce yourself for us let us know a little bit about how you got into the wedding industry?
“Of course, so I'm Rachel Sokhal and I have a bridal accessories company and a sister brand jewellery company. I got into the wedding industry because I started an interior design course and completed it, but that was when I was just turning 30 and I was just about to start a family which probably didn't work very well but I wanted to do something with design. Because I knew I wouldn't be able to go out and do my interior design while having young children I actually started out doing wedding and event stationery!”
What is your favourite thing about weddings relating to you making your jewellery and hairpieces?
“In terms of weddings, I think it's that whole kind of swept away feeling. You get swept away in people's stories. You hear all the wonderful love stories! I'm such an incredible romantic so I love hearing all about what their ideas are: where they're having their weddings, all of that kind of thing. I also, love the confidence and their reaction when they see what I've made them and how much they love it. I know it's going to really affect their overall bridal look for the day. It’s all those finishing touches that bring everything together.”
Do you have a particular wedding style that you prefer?
“You can tell really from my accessories that I'm very much a timeless elegant sophisticated kind of style of weddings that's the style that really oozes through my accessories. I like brides to be able to look back and (although they're always going to date) and think that they loved their choices there wasn't anything trend-led or that kind of thing about their accessories generally you'll find that that is my ideal bride so she'll have quite a timeless gown on and therefore then will really accessorise with that same style.”
Can you tell us a little bit about your favourite bridal accessory that you have made?
Yes, I would actually pick a beautiful velvet headband that has been hand-embellished with velvet flowers that have Swarovski pearls at their centre. It’s actually part of my new couture collection which is yet to launch. It's just such a lovely piece, it's really comfortable to wear, it's quite a statement piece but it's still so feminine and timeless, it’s just beautiful. So yes, my Jessica headpiece, I would definitely say that's my favourite.”
Walk us through your process with the bride. Do you help her choose her bridal pieces? How does that all work?
“There's a couple of options here. First of all, if we have a bit of a savvy bride who's quite confident in what she's choosing and knows what will go with her dress. She will possibly have seen some of my accessories before whether that's via Instagram or on my website and she may be happy to go off and purchase her pieces through my website which you can do!
Then there's the bride who wants a little bit more help, she has an idea of what she's looking for but really wants to work with me to make sure that all of those details match her dress and her hair and everything else. So we will have a consultation initially either virtually or in person. Virtually is great I do this all the time because I have clients in Australia, The U.S.A. Bristol... All over the UK, so virtual is definitely the way that I do my consultations. We talk all about their wedding, where they're getting married, what their dress is like I generally am one of the first people to see pictures of their dresses which is really exciting! Then we talk through their ideas and desires of what they're looking for. Then once we've discussed that I'll go away and I'll send the proposal of what I'm thinking with sometimes sketches, sometimes the piece laid out just placed together. I'll send that over and then, if they’re happy with the plans, we go forth and make the piece. Halfway through the design I'll send them over a picture or we'll have another discussion and I'll show them what I've done so far make sure they're happy with it and then once they're happy with that we can then go on to complete the piece and send that off for delivery.”
Do brides need to have already chosen their dress before approaching you?
Of course, I don't even talk to a bride if they haven't got their dress because it's really important that they pick that first so that they don't pick their hair accessory and then choose their dress around that. The dress is the most important aspect and then of course their dress will always dictate how they may have their hair done, if it's got a high sort of embellished neck or at the back then you generally want to have hair up and that may dictate what you have from an accessory perspective as well. So absolutely dress first and then you would probably know what kind of hairstyle you'll have although I could discuss that with you as well.
What sort of pieces do you recommend for certain kinds of dresses or outfits (e.g. jumpsuits)?
“A jumpsuit is probably something a bit more modern so I would definitely urge them to go towards pins because I think pins are very versatile. They're a little bit more modern than perhaps a traditional headband would be. That's one of the things that we would definitely discuss. Again it depends on the neckline, if you have the traditional sweetheart neckline with a strapless dress then perhaps you would want to have a necklace here particularly if you're thinking of having hair up with a sweetheart neckline or an off the shoulder dress, sometimes people can feel quite bare when they have a sweetheart neckline so we could have a nice drop necklace in there. If you're having a necklace you really probably wouldn't want a big statement pair of earrings. These are the kind of things that girls come to me because they really don't know what to put together.
I always say if you think there's too much just take one piece away.
The beauty of having jewellery made for you is that if you thought you wouldn't necessarily wear the bridal jewellery again then I can then take that piece and make it into something that you can wear long term.
So we could make a backdrop necklace for example into maybe a bracelet or just a necklace or a pair of earrings there are so many things that you can do, it doesn't have to be just for that day. You can actually take your bridal jewellery piece and turn it into something that's going to be a memento that you can wear for years to come. In some cases, you can do that with your headpieces as well so if you have a tiara we could take some of the elements from there and make them into other jewellery pieces that you can wear long term and how lovely is that to wear something from your wedding day?!”
What is your favourite jewellery piece for a bride?
I probably have a couple, I always say earrings are beautiful because I think they really frame your face and you know let's face it a lot of your photography is around your face so it's beautiful to see something really pretty at your ears. Depending on how you're wearing your hair and what your dress is like will depict what type of earring style you wear but I do have um a favourite pair of earrings which are called Cordelia and they just are a drop that for me is just enough but they're so pretty. That's really my favourite piece of jewellery.
If any of our readers want to get in touch with you to design their jewellery pieces and how can they get in touch with you?
Hopefully, you found this helpful! Don't hesitate to get in contact with Rachel if you're interested in having her design your wedding accessories and don't forget that if you're looking for a fun and relaxed wedding photographer to capture your day on camera then I'm your girl!
Just pop me a message here if you're interested, and as always, I'm cheering you on!
Georgia - Northamptonshire & Beyond, Wedding Photographer.