Wedding Veils – Styles and Materials

4 Apr

The tradition of wearing a veil on your wedding day dates back too far to mention, and used symbolise the woman’s virginity and modesty. The lifting of the veil was often a part of ancient wedding ritual, but nowadays it´s an option and used mostly “just because”. Like the gowns they are worn with, veils can be elaborate and dramatic or simple and understated. However, they should complement both the dress and the bride´s personal style.

Nylon tulle is today’s veil material of choice, because the more traditional silk tulle tends to get limp when it’s damp, whereas nylon retains its stiffness. When choosing a veil, also bear in mind that ones strewn with rhinestones won´t photograph as well, the stones will look like black dots. Even pearls or tiny satin bows may look spotty in photographs, so don´t over do it with embellishments.

Here´s a list of the different types of veils to guide you:

The Cathedral Veil: Extending at least 9 feet (almost 3 metres), it is usually a cascade of simple tulle, sometimes embellished with lace at the hem. Because of its volume, it demands the wide aisles of a cathedral (hence the name) and the assistance of a few bridesmaids! The romantic tiered cathedral veil is ideal for fairy-tale princess weddings and works well with a simple dress.

The Birdcage Veil: This veil is designed to frame the face and is ideal for a vintage 40s themed wedding and very popular at the moment.

The Blusher Veil: This veil is very short in length and made with only one layer of material. The bride traditionally covers her face with this veil prior to the ceremony. Any style veil can have a blusher.

The Bouffant Veil: This rises above the bride’s head in a cloud of tulle and was popular in the 1950s, when full-skirted crinoline gowns were in vogue. The standard length will sit just touching the top of the shoulders.

The Fingertip Veil: This can be made from one or two layers of material. It extends to the bride’s fingertips and can be coordinated with a romantic or contemporary gown.

The Lace Mantilla Veil: It has long been considered one of the most romantic veil styles. The veil is circular-shaped and rests on top of the head. The outside edges of the veil are covered with lace that frames the face.

The Waltz Veil: This veil should fall between the knees and the floor and is made from a single layer of material. This is a very elegant and charming style veil with no train. This look was very popular back in the 1920´s, and also back in the early 1800´s.

The Detachable Veil: Brides who want the best of both worlds can have a veil that comes in two segments, the bride may attend the entire ceremony with a lovely chapel or cathedral length veil, and take it off for the event, leaving a fingertip or elbow length veil only. This option is useful only for practical reasons.

The Flyaway Veil: It´s less formal than cathedral, waltz and chapel veils, and is made from several layers of material. The veil is short and falls to the shoulder blades. The flyaway veil should be worn with simple gowns, floor-length or shorter with no train, it offsets gowns with extensive back decolletage.

The Elbow Veil: Teamed with a bare, lacy sliver of a dress, nothing is more appealing than a tiered elbow-length veil to give some fullness to the silhouette. This style is appropriate with any dress longer than knee-length.

Just remember, an heirloom lace veil should be teamed with a simple dress and an exquisitely detailed gown is shown off better by a sheer tulle veil than a fancy lace one. Also, when trying on veils, make sure you wear your hair in a similar style so you can see the proper effect. A veil is never required though, and many brides are opting for other pretty headpieces and accessories such as jeweled combs, headbands, feathered hair pins, flowers and even little bridal hats! 🙂

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