Wedding Dress Secret Style Guide: Wedding Veils

We love wedding veils here at The Wedding Secret HQ. A tradition that has lasted generations, veils are an iconic bridal symbol and are still incorporated into bridal fashion today. However, they do come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so it can be tricky to know where to start. That’s where we come in!

wedding veil

A wedding veil is one of the most significant features of a bride’s appearance – particularly when she walks down the aisle. Perhaps you’ve got a veil that has been passed down through generations, from your grandmother to your mother and now to you. You might have a particular affinity for a veil that has been in your family for years.

However, probably not to the same extent as Queen Victoria, who only allowed one of her five daughters to wear her wedding veil and was then subsequently buried with it! We are impressed with the level of dedication we must admit.

If you don’t have a veil already in mind you might be asking yourself, so where do I start? Let’s face it, a veil isn’t a staple accessory so the likelihood is you’ve never worn one before!

With this in mind it’s important you find one that suits you, your style and your dress. You also want to ensure you feel totally comfortable in whatever your wear on your big day. After all, it’s your special day and you deserve to feel like the belle of the ball.

Taking into account all of the styles out there we’re going to explore the classic wedding veil and how you can incorporate it into your bridal outfit.

The History Of The Veil

Why do we wear a wedding veil in the first place? An interesting question that actually has multiple answers.

The common belief is that the bridal veil was worn as early as the Roman times and was fiery red in colour. During this time it was believed that the bride was vulnerable, particularly on her wedding day. As a result, a veil was placed over her head to protect her and ward away any evil spirits.

wedding veil

Some traditions suggest that the brides face was hidden by a veil to symbolise that the groom was marrying her for her inner beauty. This was particularly apt for arranged marriages.

Alternatively, some religions concur that a veil is worn to symbolise the bride’s innocence, purity and virginity before marriage.  

Veils And Your Wedding Dress

Firstly, it’s important to find a veil that best complements your gown. The easiest way to begin is by thinking about the focal points of your dress. For example, if you particularly like the back of your dress, then you will either need to choose a short veil, or a long veil through which you can still see the detailing.

wedding veil

Secondly, think about the level of decoration on your gown; the less detailed your dress, the more detailed your veil can be. However you don’t want a veil that steals away the limelight from the gown.  Of course glamorous brides can go all out with a dazzling dress and wedding veil if they please. Lets not forget, it’s your day and anything you love goes!

Lengths Of Wedding Veils

The length of your wedding veil is absolutely something to consider. Lynsey from The Wedding Veil Shop explains, ‘Our most popular length of veil is chapel length (which usually falls between 6 to 12 inches past your train or hem).  Most brides opt for a simple veil as they can be a bit scared that it might detract from the dress.’

Ensuring your veil perfectly complements your bridal gown and hair style avoids any last minute changes. Lynsey states that, ‘brides tend to ensure their veil is just perfect during a final fitting or final hair trial. More or less 100% of the time our brides opt for a veil that is attached onto a comb.’

Take a look at the various veil lengths below.

Visor Veils: These very short veils are usually chin-length, and can work well with gowns that have high neck-detailing.

Shoulder-length: These are usually around 20 inches long, and are perfect for dresses that have a nipped-in waist or low, scooped back detailing.

Elbow-length: Around 25 inches long, these veils tend to complement romantic ballgown wedding dresses, as they end around the point that the full skirt begins.

Fingertip-length: This is one of the most popular veil styles, as generally it suits the majority of gowns. It would suit a fishtail style dress particularly beautifully because in most cases the veil will end just where the gown starts to flair out.

Knee-length: At around 45 inches long, knee-length veils look great with calf-length wedding dresses. This is a fantastic option if you’ve chosen a tea-dress for a 1920s look.

Ballet-length: These veils just brush the floor at around 72 inches and suit full-length gowns with no train. Your veil and your gown elegantly brush the floor.

Cathedral-length: These are the most formal of wedding veils. They are usually about 125 inches long and work best with classical styles of wedding gown. If you’re wanting to make a statement or if you’re planning a very opulent ceremony.

Your Veil And Your Hairstyle

Your choice of wedding veil will largely depend on how you will be wearing your hair on the day. Veils are usually attached with a tiara, crown, or pins. If you would like to wear a long or multiple-tiered veil, then you will need to sport a supportive hairdo on your wedding day, such as an elegant bun.

Should you want to wear your hair down on the day, then you should probably stick to a lightweight or short veil. Your tumbling locks won’t be able to hold the veil in place if it is too long and heavy. So this is definitely something to bear in mind if you want to wear your hair down.

wedding veil

Think about where the veil will be positioned on your head. Some hairstyles suit a veil at the front, others towards the back.

If you have short hair, you will probably need to attach the veil nearer the front of your head. This would probably work best with a tiara. However, if you have long hair and you’re wearing it down, a veil would sit nicely attached to a hair comb or clip further back on your head.

Your Veil And Your Venue

Another thing to perhaps bear in mind is where you are getting married. If you’re planning an alfresco ceremony in autumn or beach ceremony in the summer, a veil that touches the ground isn’t going to be practical. You don’t want to be dragging leaves or sand behind you and it might also rip or stain your veil beyond repair.

Hopefully that has laid out all of the different options available to you and also given you some tips, tricks and things to bear in mind too. Whichever style of veil you choose, just remember to buy it early enough so you have time to book a hair trial! Most importantly, choose a style that you love and feel confident and comfortable in.

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