How to Pick a Veil for Your Wedding Dress
The Perfect Dress... the Perfect Veil
You've finally found the dress of your dreams... now what about the finishing touch—your veil? Don't assume that your dress comes with a veil. Chances are, it probably doesn't, and you can be pretty sure if it's suggested to coordinate with your dress, it's priced separately from your dress. Have you seen the prices on some veils lately... yikes! So, unless you want your veil to have exact matching trim or beadwork as your dress, it may pay to shop around for the perfect veil for you.
But how do you choose? There are so many different types and lengths in veils. There are cathedral-length veils, elbow-length, fingertip, and chapel-length. There are tiaras, wreaths, mantillas, hats with veils, hair combs, blusher veils... what's a poor bride to do?! Your dress will be the main dictator of your veil length and style as well as the length of your hair and even the theme of your wedding.
Let's start with the shortest and work our way down, shall we? The shortest of the veils is called a cage veil. Cage veils are ones that are usually attached to a comb or small cap and have a piece of tulle or net which goes just over the face coming either halfway down the face or along the chin. They can range from nine to fifteen inches long. We mostly think of the '30s and '40s when we see a cage veil since they were a popular style in the gangster era, but they go back quite far in history. Women have been wearing veils for centuries, but they were seen as a way to cover the face rather than highlight it. The cage veil is fun, flirty, a little bit outrageous, and definitely not for the shy and retiring bride!
Short, Shoulder-Length, & Fingertip Veils
Veils can also be classified as short—another retro look that we saw a lot of in the 50's with the very squarish silhouette of clothing then. This is a veil that doesn't even meet your shoulders. It would go great with a boat-type neckline or something a little off the shoulder. Then there's the shoulder-length, which as its name states barely grazes the shoulder or just below. There's also the elbow length and finally, the fingertip, which cascades over the shoulders and ends up right at your fingertips or a little below.
The thing that adds interest to all these veils and an important decision in your veil selection is whether to have a blusher. The blusher is the extra piece of tulle or veil that comes forward and covers your face. This is for the tradition of the groom pulling the veil back at the "You may now kiss the bride!" point in the ceremony. Many brides are forgoing that tradition because they don't like the idea of having their face covered as they walk down the aisle. There's no sense in letting that beautiful professional makeup job go to waste! The blusher left back just adds fullness to the veil, which is pretty in itself. However, it can be a very poignant moment in the ceremony when the groom pulls the veil back... tough decision!
Chapel & Cathedral-Length Veils
Chapel-length veils are called that because generally a chapel is a small church without a very long aisle. This makes a difference when choosing your veil length. Chapel-length veils are usually around 75" long and just graze or slightly puddle on the floor for the average height bride. Cathedral-length veils are much longer and can trail along for several feet, although their average length is around 108". There is also one length between chapel and cathedral which is called waltz length. Waltz-length is about 65" and is called that because it's much easier to dance in than a veil that trails the floor, but it still has the drama of a long flowing veil. You really need to pay attention to the style of your dress with each of these veils, particularly the cathedral veil. If you have a gorgeous cathedral-length train on your wedding dress with tons of beautiful sequins and beadwork, do you really want to cover it up with a long veil with an excessive amount of beading and sequins? Perhaps your dress has an amazing back that you want to show off. Again, you don't want to cover it with a veil. Do wear a cathedral-length veil with a cathedral-length dress, but make sure it's sheer enough to show off your beautiful dress underneath.
Tiaras... how many times in life does the average woman get to wear one? Unless you were voted Miss Whatever sometime in your life, probably never. A tiara can be a great choice because they can be worn with or without an attached veil and they look stunning with hair that's up or down. The only real drawback to a tiara is making sure it's heavy enough to stay on your head well, but not so heavy that it feels like you're headed to your own coronation! Tiaras generally have some type of combs that you can use to attach them to your hair.
What Is a Fascinator?
That's a fascinating subject! Fascinator is kind of a play on words, because although they can be "fascinating," they literally "fasten" to the hair via a clip, comb, or hairpins. They have a very retro feel, and although you may have seen your grandmother wearing one in some old family photos, they are actually older than that and have their history with the clergy in the 1500s. They have experienced a resurgence recently with the fascination (forgive me, I had to throw that in!) with all things royal and were actually included in an edict about appropriate attire for the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton. They can be as elaborate or as simple as you wish with feathers, sequins, jewels, tulle, face veils, or whatever you would like attached. Many brides are opting for fascinators instead of cumbersome veils or are exchanging their veil after the ceremony for a fascinator to wear at the reception, so they can dance the night away!
Veils... So Many Choices!
So, there you have it! There seem to be as many choices for veils as there are for wedding dresses! However, keep the style and tone of your dress and your wedding in mind and make sure you try different styles on with your dress before you make your final decision. If your dress is simple, go with a more elaborate veil. If your dress is elaborate, a simple veil is best. Additionally, take your veil with you when you go to try out different hairdos with your stylist. Wear something beautiful, wear something you love, but make sure it's comfortable and suits YOU!
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