Today we’re taking a look at wedding veils – why we wear them, what the meaning is, where they came from and how to choose one! This feature is for the lovely ladies at Halesowen bridal boutique TDR Bridal whose brides often choose a beautiful veil to wear with their wedding dress.
Veil if you want to…
Let me begin by saying veils are 100% optional! Some brides do; some prefer to keep things simple and that’s absolutely fine! And while there’s a lot of tradition attached to bridal veils, in our times they’re mostly nothing more than a pretty style accessory. Lots of brides think they add to their look – they’re somehow “more bridal” and a veil can absolutely lift anything from a traditional dress to modern separates, and make you look and feel that little bit more princess! So if you’re thinking of having a veil, read on!
What does a wedding veil mean?
Choosing to wear a veil doesn’t have to mean you’re hugely religious, or anti-feminist, or old fashioned. Today, a wedding veil doesn’t have to mean anything: a short, birdcage veil can be a fun and sassy accessory while a longer chapel length veil might simply set off your dress and feel extra romantic as you walk down the aisle.
A wedding veil used to have more meaning: from modesty to subservience (“I promise to obey” and so on). Nowadays brides are independent and equal partners in marriage, so the old meanings behind the veil can happily be left in the past!
If you’re interested in the history of bridal veils though…
We’ve been wearing them for centuries. Back in the day (we’re talking 17th century here) a veil was all about scaring away evil spirits! There’s also the superstitious aspect – if you believe it’s bad luck to see your other half before the ceremony, the veil will help hide your face (while also hiding you from those evil spirits we mentioned before!).
As weddings became more religious, Christian and Jewish weddings incorporated the veil as a symbol of modesty and chastity, and of trust.
Queen Victoria revived the tradition of wearing a wedding veil in 1840, and it then became a status symbol in Victorian society. Back then, the longer your veil the wealthier you were perceived to be – and this became more important than veiling for any religious or modest reasons.
So how long should a wedding veil be?
Ahh… you could read advice on wedding veil lengths all over the internet. Let me start by saying there are no rules to veil length: go with what you love and what feels right for you! Your bridal boutique will be able to advise on what works with your wedding dress: an ultra traditional gown for a church wedding will work with a cathedral length veil for example.
For an in-depth guide check out Love & Lavender’s complete guide to wedding veil lengths. They cover everything from birdcage veils to fingertip length to cathedral length, with photos to illustrate!
Does size matter? Or is style the new focus for veils?
A glimpse at wedding veils on Etsy shows how many different styles of wedding veil are out there right now. And it’s all about lace and embellishments, delicate beading, trims and custom embroidery.
Simple styles include edging – from a raw edge to a pencil trim, a satin ribbon or even a wired veil edge to create a swirling silhouette. Then there’s beading – anything goes from ultra delicate sparkles to random scattered pearls throughout your veil. Embroidery can be simple ivory butterflies or brightly coloured floral designs!
Matching your wedding veil to your outfit
Given the immense choice in wedding veils out there, how do you find one that will perfectly match your wedding dress? What if you’re wearing separates? Where do you even begin?
I love the advice I found on The Knot for this one: think how long you’ll want to wear your veil for. If you’re a “rip it off straight after the ceremony” kind of girl, go for a shorter style! But if you’re excited to wear your veil all day long, choose a more classic, longer style of wedding veil.
Some general rules of thumb with wedding veils:
- if your dress is patterned, keep your veil simple
- if your dress is short, your veil should be too
- match your veil to your personality: timeless, playful or sassy
- an updo works best with a veil – speak to your hair stylist too