The oldest part of the wedding ensemble, the veil is a tradition which predates the formal wedding gown itself. Ranging in popularity throughout the centuries, veils add that extra air of bridal to your wedding look. Here is the ultimate guide for brides-to-be in their quest for the ultimate bridal accessory.
In the words of American fashion writer Mary Brooks-Picken, “Veils, like perfume, are an exquisite luxury if they are dainty, delicate and becoming”. The purpose of the veil is to complement your gown and to never compete with it. When deciding on a veil, the first thing to consider is the detailing on the dress, ideally, your veil should rest just above or below the focal point of the gown. Brides should also decide if they plan to wear the veil for the entire day or for the ceremony alone, a long veil may prove troublesome for the reception with the danger of guests tripping over it or standing on it. Additional factors to consider include hairstyle, width, tiers and face shape.
Plan how you wish to wear your hair and how a veil will fit in with this. Brides who opt for a long or a heavy veil will require an updo for support but if you envision yourself with flowing locks, a shorter and lighter veil may be better suited to your needs. Hair length is another factor to consider, veils are best suited to the front of the head for those with shorter hair but those with longer locks or an up-do can choose to wear their veil towards the back of their head.
Brides who dream of the romanticism of a veil but want something a little more low-key can opt for the birdcage or petal veil. Worn just over the face, this style is best suited to high neck or elegant gowns. Without the drama of a longer veil, this is a great option for registry office brides.
The ideal length if you wish to show off any detailing on the back, bust or waist of the gown. Falling in multiple tiers to the shoulder, the waterfall veil is a viable option for detailed gowns as is the Spanish style mantilla veil, consisting of delicate lace which drapes over the shoulders.
The most popular length, this falls to roughly around the hips and can feature many layers which suit both shorter dresses and the more traditional gowns. Also falling into this category are circular and fingertip veils, fingertip veils fall just past elbow length and are usually worn with full-length gowns without trains.
Creating the “princess look”, a longer veil fashions a more dramatic effect and works best with full-length dresses which feature trains. Cathedral length, which is the longest style of veil, can stretch out for many feet and is best known for the wedding of Princess Diana to Prince Charles. The chapel length is slightly shorter than this and measures in between six and seven feet.
Brides can choose from a variety of widths if they wish to create a fuller or sleeker appearance. The general rule of thumb for this is that the width and fullness of the skirt should dictate that of the veil.
Veils can vary between one and three tiers and are influenced by the style of gown; tiers are often used to create a more romantic effect for brides. A one-tier veil is best suited for a simple or sophisticated look whereas traditional or romantic gowns work best with a two or three-tier veil. Typically, a blusher will make up one of the layers; this is the part of the veil which is worn over the face when walking up the aisle. Superstition believes that the veil covers the brides face to ward off any evil which may threaten her happiness. This is an optional add-on which is more traditional and seen as quite romantic, the blusher can range in length with brides advised to opt for at least shoulder length in their veil as the blusher normally falls 30 inches in length. When sampling blushers, it is important to try various lengths to see how it frames your face and the elegance which this can bring. Ensure you are choosing the correct length so that the blusher can flip over the back of your head and sit comfortably for the first kiss. Brides should also ensure that the various tiers will not hide any detail on the dress. Consider booking a hair trial for the first dress fitting as this is the ideal opportunity to examine veil placement.
When choosing a veil, brides must firstly identify their face shape to find the most flattering style to suit them. A veil should flatter the brides face with various styles better suited to different shapes.
Oval & Diamond Face
As this shape is perfectly symmetrical, brides can choose from any style of veil provided it marries well with the dress, neckline and proportions.
A full face is best complemented by a veil which falls along the side of the face, creating a slimming effect and elongating the face. Brides are advised to choose at least a shoulder-length veil and avoid anything with volume or fuss along the sides.
Softening a strong jawline, brides should opt for a veil which creates volume at the top of the head which will add length to their face, softening as it does so. Brides with a square face should stick to veils which reach at least the shoulders.
This shape face can be softened by creating a more symmetrical look, opt for veils with volume and width around the face. Brides should avoid any styles which add volume to the top of the head.
The Finishing Touch
When choosing embellishments or colour, the veil should complement the gown but does not need to be a perfect match so don’t obsess over this! If you are adding embellishments to your veil such as lace or ribbon trim, or sequin or pearl embellishments, ensure they do not compete with your dress. If your gown is elaborately embellished, keep your veil minimal and simple.