Unlike other bridal experiences, this one starts out with a decided lack of glamour. Brides and their attendants arrive at Basia’s fourth-floor Upper West Side walkup huffing and puffing from the climb. Inside, they find Basia, a little woman with a little dog, in a room crammed with cascading tulle in various stages of veil-ness. Adept at gently phrasing her strong opinions about wedding style, Basia conducts appointments that feel like visits with an eccentric but tactful older relative. Quick to extol the benefits of rent control (“I couldn’t stay in this neighborhood otherwise”), Basia is vague when it comes to almost everything else. How long has she been making veils? Oh, a long time. How do people find her? Word of mouth, and Yelp, she assumes. How did she get into the field? Her parents were artists, she says with a shrug. But one thing’s for sure: Basia knows from veils. After urging the bride to take a seat at an old-school vanity table covered with a lace tablecloth, she asks a series of specific questions about the wedding and the dress while taking notes and sketching on a legal pad. Basia’s final verdict comes with the conviction of experience. After trying out a few options and suggesting extra accessories like custom-designed hairpins, Basia quotes a figure that, rare for anything wedding-related, is lower than anticipated. The bride leaves feeling like she is in good hands, armed with the promise that a made-to-order headpiece will be ready in time for the wedding — even if nothing else is.
304 Columbus Avenue, Manhattan