The Veil...
Centuries of Tradition Meet Modern Brides
By Andrea Naylor, The Bridal Guide

You know exactly what you want your wedding dress to look like. You have been picturing it since you were a little girl. But have you thought about your veil, the item most women neglect to consider?

The veil is the most symbolic part of bridal apparel. The veil is an ancient symbol meaning purity, and at one time, subservience. Some brides choose not to cover their face with a veil, or don’t wear a veil at all to convey their independence. Nevertheless, when someone puts on a veil, the person is automatically transformed and identified as the bride.

The veil, however, can be the most confusing piece of bridal attire. Is it an essential item? What style will best fit your head, hairstyle and dress? Should the veil cover your face, how long should it be? These questions can challenge one’s patience when the veil is an afterthought.

It is important, therefore, to think about your headpiece in advance. After you have decided on your dress and hairstyle, select a veil that will compliment both parts. Most important, the veil needs to be an accessory that you are comfortable wearing. If you think a veil with an extended train will only be a hassle, then consider an elbow-length veil. If your hairstyle is more important than the veil, then perhaps a headband is right for you. Remember, the veil can be removed prior to the reception to facilitate freer movement.

There are many different types of veils to choose from, so finding a veil to fit your needs should not be a problem. Like any other fashion accessory, bridal veil trends evolve. Renaissance brides wore elaborate headpieces. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, brides wore small caps and wigs. The traditional lace veil was made popular by Queen Victoria in the late 1800s. In the ‘sixties, rebellious brides went without a veil, wearing only flowers entwined in their hair. The nineteen-ninety era a bride wore simple tulle veils in every style.

The contemporary bride has many styles to choose from such as the bouffant, fingertip, mantilla, blusher, flyaway, ballerina, elbow and three-piece.

In addition to traditional tulle veils, antique lace has become popular again. Brides like the light and breezy feel of lace—an everlasting romantic classic. Lace is sewn in a variety of feminine styles. Lyon lace is a lighter weight lace with a thinner cord, giving a more delicate appearance. Venice lace is a bold and stiffer lace with varying thickness of thread to create geometric and floral designs.

When choosing a veil, it is important to consider proportion. A veil must complement the dress. A short, petite veil complements more casual dresses; whereas long and heavy veils look better with elaborate, long gowns. The most important thing to remember about choosing a veil is that everything must look like it belongs together. A veil is just one of many bridal accessories, but it needs to fit into the overall style of the bridal attire.

References: Martha Stewart's Living Wedding, Winter/Spring
1998. Martha Stewart's Living Wedding, Summer/Fall 1998



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