Almost every culture in the world uses the donning or removal of the veil as part of the ceremonial custom at weddings.
Today not every bride chooses to wear a veil, but those who do soon succumb to the flattering impact of this traditional (and some say tribal) custom.
The choice of veil will depend on a variety of factors:
- religious imperatives
- formality of the wedding
- style of the gown
- height of the bride
- body shape of the bride
- hair styling
- headpiece style
- location (indoor or outdoor service)
Care should be taken about veils dotted with pearls or other stones. They can hide the details of the gown or can appear вЂ˜spottedвЂ™ in photographs.
Type & Length
Cathedral – This is the longest of all veils. (An exception is the royal veil, but this is worn exclusively by royalty.) The cathedral veil is only worn at a large, formal wedding.
Chapel – The chapel veil is often worn with a blusher veil. It is about two-and-a-half yards long and should be just below the hem or train of the dress.
Sweep – This is worn with a gown that sweeps the ground, just a little, and so does the veil. It is shorter than chapel-length.
Floor – As the name indicates, both gown and veil are exactly floor length.
Fingertip – This is a popular length. It extends to the fingertip when the bride has her arms at her sides and extending straight down. It is about hip-length.
Elbow – This veil is waist-length or a little shorter. This currently is a popular style.
Shoulder – The shoulder veil is well-named: the length is just below the shoulder.
The following styles can apply to almost any length of veil.
The gathered veil, as the name implies, is gathered in some form at the headpiece and flows in a fuller form. The more it is gathered, the greater the volume. If the gathering creates too much fullness, it can overwhelm a short woman or one with small features.
The dropped veil is a flat piece of tulle, simply dropped over the head or under a headpiece and held in place with pins or combs. It is not gathered and is probably the purest form of the veil making a simple statement. A dropped veil of lace, in an old-world mantilla style, makes a big fashion statement, especially when worn with a very simple gown.
Embellishment or trim may be on the gown or veil but rarely on both.
The purest veil is worn simply and without adornment.
The veil can be edged with a narrow satin trim or ribbon.
The veil might be edged with a narrow velvet trim for an autumn or winter wedding.
Small pearls can be scattered over the veil or used as an edging.
Rhinestones catch the light beautifully but should only be worn at an evening wedding.