To Veil or Not to Veil?

The wedding veil is one of the oldest wedding traditions, symbolizing modesty, purity, and chastity. In this day and age, however, wearing a veil is not a requirement, which is why it’s so much fun to let your style and personality shine when it comes to selecting your veil. But with so many lengths and styles available, how do you know which veil is the right one for you? There are several factors that will influence your choice of veil and headpiece. We will look at how to select a veil first, then how to select a headpiece.

Wedding dress silhouette:

The style or silhouette of your wedding dress is the first thing to consider. As a general rule, the slimmer the gown, the longer the veil. For example, a slinky figure-hugging wedding dress with a short train looks fabulous with a long, chapel length veil. Ideally the veil should be slightly longer than the train of the dress.

Some brides say that although they love the look of a chapel length veil, the thought of carrying it around on their arm all day is burdensome. The solution is simple: look for a veil which has detachable tiers, that is, the long tier can be removed leaving the shorter tier in the hair for the reception.

For an A-line silhouette wedding dress, again you could choose a chapel length veil for a floaty, dreamy look. The veil of choice though for an A-line gown is fingertip or three-quarter length, as it suits the proportions of the gown perfectly.

For a full, puffy skirt style with fitted bodice, the best look is a shorter veil, around waist length. Because the skirt is so full in this style, you should complete the look with a similar full veil. The exception to this is a chapel length veil with a full, puffy top layer. Remember Princess Diana’s wedding dress? The train on Princess Diana’s wedding dress was around 7 meters long! Her veil was quite long as well (although not quite 7 meters!) and her gown was extremely puffy and floaty. Her wedding gown and veil surely set the trend in the 1980’s as countless brides imitated the Princess Di look.

Your hairstyle:

The way you plan to wear your hair on your wedding day will also affect the style of veil you choose. Generally speaking, your hairstyle should compliment your gown. Some veils are designed to be worn high on the head, thus your hairstyle needs to accomodate this.

For example, with a down hairstyle, you should wear the veil higher on your head so that it doesn’t fall out. It is recommended to have a section of your hair up, so that the veil can be anchored on to it. You need to do this, otherwise the veil has insufficient hair to hold on to and can slip out of your hair.

Alternatively, if you are having an up hairstyle, position the veil at the top of your up-do, or under the up-do, depending on the look you prefer.

Wedding dress fabrics:

You also need to consider your wedding gown fabrics, as this mainly affects your choice of trim or edging for the veil. For example, if your wedding dress is made of silk or satin, then satin edging on the veil compliments the dress nicely. A softer flowy gown made from chiffon or georgette looks better with a fine veil edging, such as a pencil or stitched edge. If your wedding dress has crystal beading, consider having some crystals scattered all over your veil. If your gown features pearl beading, then consider having scattered pearls on your veil.

Another option is to have an elaborate veil with a simple uncluttered wedding gown. For example, Princess Mary of Denmark’s wedding dress was made in beautiful duchess silk, and had no beading or embellishment. Her veil was a chapel length mantilla veil, with detailed embroidery on it.

The beautiful Kate Middleton wore a stunning fingertip length mantilla veil on her wedding day. It was made of silk tulle and trimmed with delicate lace on the edges. This co-ordinated beautifully with her elegant silk and lace wedding gown, creating a timeless, elegant look, fit for a princess.

Veil etiquette: To wear or not to wear the veil over your face:

Whether you decide to wear your veil over your face is largely a matter of preference. It is customary to wear a veil over your face for the walk down the aisle, if you are getting married in a church. In this case, a veil with two or more tiers is necessary so that the top tier can act as a blusher. If you are having a garden or beach wedding, or having your wedding in less formal surroundings, then it is not necessary to wear a veil over your face. Most brides choose to wear single tier veils for less formal or garden weddings, where the veil is simply worn towards the back of the head.

How to select a Bridal Headpiece:

As well as the veil, a beautiful headpiece will complete your bridal look. A bridal headpiece will add some glamour and beauty to your hairstyle. The headpiece you choose should co-ordinate with your veil and dress.

For example, if your dress has pearl and crystal beading, then choose a head piece that has pearls and crystals in it. If your dress features sparkling diamontes, then a diamonte headpiece will co-ordinate nicely.

Lace wedding gowns are extremely popular, and a lovely option in this case is a lace headpiece or comb. Lace hair accessories are made of lace and embellished with crystals, pearls or other beads. A flower fascinator is a lovely option as well.

Side combs are extremely popular as they are so easy to wear, and look fabulous with most wedding dresses. If your dress has asymmetrical design features, such as one shoulder strap, a side comb worn on the opposite side of the head balances the look. Side combs can be worn with up or down hairstyles, and with just about any veil.

Wedding tiaras are a more traditional choice, and suit a princess wedding dress style. A tiara is normally worn at the top of the head, with the veil positioned behind it. A tiara looks beautiful worn with a fuller veil, as it frames the face and creates a beautiful princess look.

If you love the look of a tiara but prefer a more modern look, then a bridal headband is an excellent choice for you. Bridal headbands are worn across the top of the head, and quite often have a side accented design, rather than a centred design. Bridal headbands can be worn with most veils, and work particularly well with veils that have less volume or fullness.

Many brides are confused about whether a veil and headpiece are attached to each other. Veils and headpieces are normally separate and are worn beside each other on the head. They are usually NOT attached to each other, as they were in the 1970’s and 80’s. The veil should be positioned in the hair first, and then the headpiece, as desired.

Many brides nowadays choose to wear either a veil or a headpiece, but are not sure whether both can be worn at the same time. The answer is simple: Yes you can certainly wear a veil and headpiece together! Quite often, brides wear a veil and headpiece for the wedding ceremony and photos, and then take off the veil for the reception (particularly if it’s a long veil). Wearing a headpiece is lovely in this case, as you can still have something beautiful in your hair, once the veil is removed.

Finally,  your choice of veil and headpiece will complete your overall look as a bride. Think about how you want to look on your wedding day and choose wisely. After all, your veil and headpiece will be featured in all of your wedding photos!


Sarah Elizabeth Bridal Boutique