Once a symbol of submissiveness and modesty, the wedding veil is experiencing a fashionable renaissance with an increasing number of brides opting to embrace the classic wedding accessory.
Steeped in tradition, the wedding veil is a sacred and beautiful adornment synonymous with a white wedding. Every woman that has ever worn a veil would agree: she only truly felt like a bride when she placed the fine lace or tulle over her head.
Traditionally the wedding veil was much more than a bridal fashion statement. Its history is rich and spans many cultures. Originally the veil was created to ward away evil spirits, much like the sacred umbrella held over the bride’s head in ancient China. The first American bride to don a lace wedding veil was Nellie Custis, bride of Major Lawrence Lewis, an aide to President George Washington. She chose lace because her fiancé had once seen her face through a lace curtain and had been startled by her beauty.
Wedding Veil Styles
A variety of veils are available, some fit for a queen (quite literally), others that are a little more demure. Your choice of veil will be dictated by your gown; you want a wedding veil that will enhance the design, cut and fabric of your dress. In a way, the theme and location of your wedding ceremony will also determine your style of veil; a cathedral style will never suit a beach wedding!
Angel: a single, ungathered, square-cut veil that is very small.
Ballet/Waltz: Falling to the bride’s ankles this veil is best suited to an ankle-length dress.
Blusher: loosely worn over the face or back, the blusher flows from a headpiece and is often attached to a longer two or three-tiered veil.
Cathedral: usually worn with a cathedral train, this veil flows three metres from the headpiece.
Chapel: slightly shorter than a cathedral veil, this is long and cascading and falls more than two metres from the headpiece. It’s best suited to a gown with a train.
Circular: a simple, ungathered veil that attaches to the head with combs.
Fingertip: the most popular length, this veil falls over the shoulders to the fingertips when the arm is extended.
Mantilla: a drape of lace that can be worn short or long, attached to a headpiece or worn on its own.
Waterfall/Flyaway: a casual style with layers that brush the shoulder, the waterfall is suited to a dress with a low back.
Every Veil Needs a Headpiece
Well, that’s not entirely true (the Spanish-inspired mantilla doesn’t require one) but in most cases, a veil will be attached to your head with subtle clips or a headpiece. Many brides find a veil so appealing because they can remove it after the ceremony and don an elegant headpiece for the reception. It’s an effective way of changing your entire bridal look; leaving the formality of the ceremony behind and embracing a little party glam for the evening celebration. Headpieces have come into their own in the past decade with milliners and bridal designers creating bespoke for discerning brides. The headpiece is usually created once the dress design has been confirmed and often includes the same fabric and embellishments as the gown.