Veils have remained an important part of wedding-day attire for centuries, dating back to ancient Greece and Rome, when people used them to fend off evil spirits. Since the spirits couldn’t penetrate the veil, it was thought, the bride would be kept safe for her husband. Veils became popular in America by the late 18th century. Aides to George Washington saw his step-granddaughter Nellie sitting by a lace-curtained window and remarked on her stunning beauty. Nellie recreated the scene at her wedding by making a veil of white lace.
Today’s brides still embrace the tradition of the veil, but add their own spin on the accessory. Veils typically correspond to the color of the gown. White represents the ultimate purity of the bride. A veil can be whatever you want it to be, from simple and understated to extravagant and detailed. It can also be any length, from cascading beyond the wedding train to ending at the bride’s elbow.
No matter what you choose in a veil, it’s important that it complements your overall look and doesn’t compete with your gown. A fancy veil will be too much for a detailed gown, but you can embellish a plain dress with a detailed veil.
When selecting a veil, it helps to visualize the gown it will accompany. Some dress shops specialize in veils, so you might be able to try on your gown and different veils to compare looks. It’s also wise to style your hair and makeup similar to your look on wedding day. When analyzing your look in the veil, try it on in front of a full-length mirror, and view yourself from all angles. A veil might look flattering from the front but not complement the back of your gown.
Don’t forget to walk around the house or dress shop in your veil, especially if you’re choosing one of considerable length, and get accustomed to maneuvering while wearing the veil – and avoid tripping on your big day.
While veils are beautiful, they’re entirely optional (unless your house of worship has rules regarding veils). Many other headpieces and accessories are available if you opt out of a veil. These include tiaras, barrettes and hats.