The Tradition of the Wedding Veil
A wedding veil is one of the most special accessories a woman can wear. Not only is it a fun and feminine accent, it also provides a touch of traditional elegance to every bridal look in a way that nothing else can. While today veils are simply for adornment, in the past they had a surprisingly utilitarian purpose that is far from demure.
The wedding veil has surprising origins, yet still remains one of the most time-honored accessories a woman will ever own.
Like many wedding day rituals, the veil is steeped in tradition and mythology. Historically, clothing was a signifier of a person’s status and place within society. Veils were originally meant to help cover brides from head to toe – a look that emphasized the idea that she indeed remained an untouched virgin at the time of her wedding. In the days of arraigned marriages, it’s also said that a bride’s face remained covered so that her looks could be kept a secret until she was physically at the altar with her groom.
Superstitious wedding rituals also created some of our longstanding bridal style traditions. Bridesmaids wearing identical dresses was originally meant to confuse evil spirits who could be lurking around on the wedding day. The veil was also an extension of this idea, as it was meant to “hide” the bride from bad omens that could potentially curse the couple.
Even though her wedding took place well before photography was commonplace, Queen Victoria’s nuptials to Prince Phillip provided the world with the most iconic wedding look in fashion history. Before Victoria walked down the aisle in 1840, brides simply wore the nicest dress they had in their closet, no matter the color. However, when she showed up at her royal wedding wearing an opulent white gown and long veil, the tradition of brides wearing a white dress accented by a veil became a tradition that continues even into the present day.
Today, veils come in a variety of gorgeous styles and serve as a unique accent that many brides happily adorn themselves in when they are ready to say, “I Do.” Because they are so timeless, veils are often family heirlooms that are passed down from one generation to the next. While nothing more than a simple – albeit special – accessory in the present day, their historical origins remind us how far weddings and marriage have come in society.
Choosing the Perfect Veil
Fingertip length veils are the most versatile and easy to wear, as they provide a subtle accent without taking away from the overall look. Birdcage veils are fun accessory that add a retro-inspired vibe to any look. With that said, cathedral length veils are once again rising in popularity, as they make a statement and give the bride a distinctly fashion-forward look. For brides who want to look extra traditional, blushers allow you to wear your veil over your face while you walk down the aisle just like vintage brides from long ago.