veil [noun]: a piece of opaque or transparent material worn over the face for concealment, for protection from the elements, or to enhance the appearance.
The history of the bridal veil dates back to early medieval times and pre dates the wedding gown. Ancient Romans held the belief that the veil protected the bride from evil spirits as her face is obscured. In ancient Rome, the veils worn during that time would have been flame red, and in ancient Greece the veils were yellow. There are other theories around the bridal veil being used during an arranged marriage to obscure the bride’s features so the groom could not change his mind prior to marrying her. Nowadays, the bridal veil is used to enhance the wedding gown, and to shield the bride’s face as she walks towards the groom, and is presented to the groom by her father. It is also used as a symbol of purity and modesty, a fashion statement.
There are different types of bridal veils available and listed below are some of the common ones…
- Birdcage veils are very stylish and the shortest of the bunch. They usually cover the eyes of the bride (and up to the chin).
- Shoulder-length veils fall on your shoulders and the longest length falls on the middle of the bride’s back. They are not as common as other veils. The more fashion forward shoulder-length veils have more than one layer.
- Elbow-length veils are perfect if you’re wearing a dress with a full skirt as they stop at the point where the skirt of the wedding dress begins.
- Fingertip-length veils look just like the one Kate Middleton wore on her wedding day. It is the most popular as it works for most wedding dress styles.
- Ballet-length/Waltz-length veil is not as common as other long veils. It is about three quarters in length and is perfect for brides that want the length without worrying about tripping on it.
- Chapel-length veil goes all the way to the ground and sometimes drapes a little over the dress. This is perfect for formal weddings and is one of my favourite veils.
- Cathedral-length veil is my all time favourite. It is very grandiose, formal and a showstopper! It has a majestic feel to it. It is the longest of them all and can be a bit difficult to manage if you don’t have bridesmaids to assist you.
- Mantilla veil (pronounced man-tea-ya) is a gorgeous veil with scalloped and circular edges. I would love to see this detail combined in a longer length veil like the cathedral veil.