Wedding accessories: veils


Bridal veils were traditionally used to cover the bride’s face as she walked down the aisle to hide her face from the groom until she reached the altar; it was often the first time he would have seen his future wife’s face.

Some cultures still follow this tradition. The Romans used veils to symbolize the flame of Vesta, the goddess of the home and the provider of life. It is also said that veils were used to ward off evil spirits that might surround a bride on the way to her marriage.

Times have changed, but many modern brides still choose to wear a veil for their wedding ceremony. Contemporary veils are not designed to cover up the bride; instead they frame the face, soften the complexion and draw the eye towards the bride’s gown. A veil will enhance the bride’s air of mystique and innocence.

Veils are generally made of tulle, chiffon or lace, in silk or artificial fibers. They can be edged with satin ribbon, lace or embroidered trim, and scattered with crystals, pearls or sequins. They are usually worn to match the color and shade of the bridal gown, and can be dyed to get a perfect color match.

Veils may have more than one tier so that one layer can cover the face as the bride walks down the aisle, and drawn back when she meets her groom. This tier is often called a "blusher", and can sometimes be removed after the ceremony. The more tiers the veil has, the more volume and drama you create. Veils typically have up to four tiers.

Choose your veil once you have chosen your dress, trying on different styles until finding one you like. As a general guide, if the gown is very detailed, wear a simple veil. You may prefer not to wear a very long veil if the back of your dress is particularly stunning, as this will detract from the look. If your veil is to cover your face, make sure it will not cover your flowers. Talk to your hairdresser about your veil so that he or she can incorporate it into your hairstyle.

Veils come in several different lengths, here are some of the most popular:


Birdcage veil

This is a short veil that frames the face and is worn alone, attached with a pin or a comb. It is made of coarser netting than traditional veils. The front part serves as a blusher over the bride's face. A birdcage veil is ideal for a bride who wants to draw attention to a lovely face.


Shoulder length

This veil covers the head and neck and is ideal for a contemporary look. It can have between one and four tiers of the same length. This veil is perfect for sheath dresses and for brides with short hair who want to add height to their look.


Elbow length

This veil reaches your elbows, and is a popular veil length for casual weddings. It covers and enhances, but does not overpower you or your dress.

Waist length

This popular length of veil can have between one and four tiers that cascade down the back having a softening effect on the dress. This veil is perfect for princess line or empire silhouette gowns, and full-skirted gowns.



Fingertip length

This veil reaches your fingertips when you hold your hands by your sides, and is an easy style to wear with most dresses.

Chapel length

This veil reaches the floor, softening and accentuating the lines of most wedding gowns, giving a traditional feel. Many chapel length veils have three tiers, reaching the shoulders, the waist and then the floor. This veil is perfect for straight gowns, adding formality, and for ull gowns in a church setting.


Cathedral length

A cathedral length veil is the perfect choice for formal church and cathedral weddings, giving a very romantic look. The veil either extends beyond the end of the train, or is the same length. This style is suitable for full and princess silhouette dresses, as well as elegant straight dresses and bias-cut gowns. You will definitely need a bridesmaid or two to help with this veil!


Spanish-style mantilla veil

This type of veil is usually made of lace. It is draped over the head and pinned into place, with no folds or gathers on the crown of the head. Letizia Ortiz wore a mantilla for her royal wedding to Crown Prince Felipe of Spain.  


Check out veils and other accessories in our bridal accessories gallery.

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