Very often our brides ask the question "Should I wear a wedding veil?" and our answer is always "It depends" (boring, we know, but it really does).
A wedding or bridal veil is a romantic addition to any wedding dress. Traditionally it is made with a piece of tulle fabric that complements the dress, but nowadays there are many variants so veils can be made with fabrics other than tulle. Whether your wedding gown is tea length, ball gown or A-line style, a wedding veil simply adds that beautiful and romantic finishing touch.
Today, couples are observing this tradition in new and modernised ways, which we'll go into a bit later. Should you choose to incorporate a wedding veil into your look, it will quickly become one of your most important bridal accessories. And as you consider integrating it into your outfit, questions will likely arise:
- How much does it cost?
- What style should I get?
- How should it be worn?
- Where did the tradition begin anyway?
Read on to learn more about this storied tradition and for answers to every wedding veil question you can think of.
The History and Meaning of the Wedding Veil
The veil is “the oldest part of the bridal ensemble,” according to wedding historian Susan Waggoner. It dates back to ancient times when people “wrapped brides from head to toe to represent the delivery of a modest and untouched maiden.” Added benefits: The veil also “hid her away from evil spirits who might want to thwart her happiness.”
But there may be another reason to why veil is worn at weddings. “A more practical reason for the veil, said to stem from the days of arranged marriages, was the desire to hide the bride’s face from the groom,” Waggoner says. Queen Victoria was married in a white dress and a veil cascading down her back, “making her the first modern monarch to be married in a veil,” Waggoner explains. And at that moment, the image of a bride was defined for centuries to come.
Today, the wedding veil is used as more of a simple accessory than a means of warding off evil spirits. Some brides choose to wear one over their face, but more often than not it is draped over the back of their hair and dress.
Wedding Veil FAQs
What are the different veil styles?
As you can see in our wedding veil collection, they come in different lengths, and range from very short birdcage or face veils about 30cm long, to very long Cathedral or Royal veils that are over 3 meters in length. In terms of the decorative nature of the veil one can go minimal and stick with simple tulle, or opt for lace, floral appliques, or even beaded detailing.
View our Wedding Veil Collection by length here
Should it complement your dress?
Absolutely! You will want something that works with your dress rather than overshadows it. There are no hard-and-fast rules, but we do have some helpful tips and advice here.
How long should it be?
We recommend choosing a length based on what vibe you're going for. Longer veils feel more dramatic and elegant while shorter veils are fresh, chic and fun.
View our Veil Lengths Guide here
What hairstyle goes best with a veil?
This comes down to the style of veil you choose. Some are made for up-dos, others lay perfectly flat (such as a drop veil) if you choose to wear your hair down, and some are great for a half-up, half-down style. There's a veil for every and any hairstyle. Unless you have a particular veil you absolutely cannot walk down the aisle without, it might be easier to choose your hairstyle first and go from there.
How do you keep it in place?
There is usually a comb or hatpin attached to a veil that you can secure in your hair. But, if you want additional security especially if you're planning an outdoor wedding, then plan on buying some bobby pins or ask your hair and makeup artist about it. Get some that match your hair colour and place them on either side of your veil.
Do you need to have it covering your face?
The portion of wedding veil that covers your face is known as a "blusher". It is the shorter piece of a veil that is typically worn over the front of the bride's face as she walks down the aisle, and wearing one or not is completely up to you. Many contemporary brides choose not to and simply opt for a single tier wedding veil, but you certainly can if you like a more traditional look.
When should you purchase your veil?
You should select your veil three to four months before your wedding, after a wedding dress and hair style are decided on. Let your hair and makeup artist know in advance about the wedding veil style you will be wearing so they can prepare accordingly.
Do you have to wear your veil for the entire wedding?
When you take off your veil (if at all) is up to you. If your veil is cathedral-style, you might want to take it off after the ceremony and after pictures are done so that people aren't stepping on it during the cocktail hour or reception. If you have a shorter style, then your chances of someone tearing it is much lower.
How much does it cost?
Mademoiselle Bridal stocks a wide range of wedding veil in various length and colour, and they range from as low as $49.
View our full Wedding Veil Collection here
How do you store it?
We prepared a full guide on how to care for your wedding veil before and after your wedding. Have a read here for more details.
Many modern-day brides have traded wedding veils in for flower crowns, tiaras, eye-catching hair accessories (check out our Bridal Hair Accessories collection here), or statement headpieces depending on what goes best with the overall vibe and style of the wedding. Some women don't feel the need to wear a veil at all, and that's fine too. Don't worry, foregoing the tradition won't make you look any less bridal. It's your day after all. Stay true to your style.