The Crazy World of Veils...
You’ve found your dream dress, it seemed like the hardest decision you have ever had to make over an item of clothing and you think (hope) that everything else will be a piece of cake to organise for the big day.
That is, until you realise you need an extra something to complete your look, a soft glow, statement layers of volume or a delicate lace trim. Enter the world of VEILS!
There are many ideas of how the first veil came about. Some people believe that they where introduced in ancient Roman times. The Romans are thought to have introduced the veil to ward off evil spirits that were attracted to the purity of the bride. They believed that covering the face of the bride with a flame coloured veil would protect her. During the medieval times the veil was a symbol of the bride’s purity, chastity and modesty. However, during Victorian times the weight, length and quality of the veil were a sign of the bride’s status. A royal bride would have the longest and heaviest veil to show her wealth.
Veils have also been used throughout history for arranged marriages. The bride is usually covered until after the ceremony when her new husband finally sees her face. The veil is used as coverage in case the groom, who is possibly seeing the bride for the first time, doesn’t like what he sees.
Lots of brides struggle to decide whether to have a veil today because of the symbolic history they hold but the veil is now used as more of a finishing touch to the bride’s dress and the traditions of the past aren’t really as relevant. I have never had a bride that has regretted choosing to have a veil!
The first and most important thing to know about our veils is that the possibilities are endless! Length, fabric, trim, detail, tiers, gathers and colours can all be changed to find the perfect veil to complement your dress.
Here is a step by step guide on how to master the world of veils and choose the right one for you!
There are standard veil lengths which we use to help us determine the correct veil length for your dress. The standard lengths usually are:
Birdcage (around 12’’) – There are many different types of birdcage veil but the classic style sits towards the crown of your head or at an angle to one side and should fall roughly to the tip of your nose, framing your eyes and cheekbones.
Elbow length (54’’) – A short veil that comes to the bottom of your elbow from the back, great for creating lots of volume and a statement look.
Fingertip length (72’’) – Slightly longer than the elbow length, this veil comes to your fingertips with your arms down by your sides. Perfect if you want the impact of a longer veil but don’t think you can handle one that trails onto the floor.
Floor length (108’’) – The floor length veil is ideal for a dress without much of a train. It comes to exactly floor length, sometimes slightly longer which makes it a fairly manageable full length veil.
Chapel length (126’’) – The chapel length is one of our most popular. It seems to work well with most dress train lengths and is great size for any chapel ceremonies, hence the name! If your dress has a small – medium train length then this veil will probably work well.
Cathedral length (144’’) – The longest standard length we have, the cathedral length is the best option of any dresses that have a substantial train length. The veil looks best when it just passes the dress train by about a foot.
Although we use these lengths in the boutique you can actually have any length you like. If the standard lengths aren’t quite working for you and you want a veil somewhere between the length of a chapel and cathedral veil that is absolutely possible. We can literally measure the length of veil you want and have it made for you!
It’s amazing how the same veil can look completely different with the various amounts of gathers that are sewn into it when the tulle is attached to the comb. The three styles to choose from are:
Half Gathered – this is when there is a slight gather on the comb and a drop at each side. It gives a subtle amount of volume, perfect for brides that want a veil that isn’t too overwhelming.
Full Gathered – this is when the veil is fully gathered across the comb with no drop at either side. This is a good option if you really want to make a statement with your veil as it gives lots of volume around the top of the shoulders and face.
Flat Combed – this is when the veil has no gathers at all and sits flat to your head. This works really well with dresses that have lots of back detail, you can still see the back of the dress through the veil due to how flat and sheer it is. This kind of veil gives a really soft glow to any bridal look.
It’s a decision that divides our brides – ‘To tier or not to tier, that is the question!’
The tiers/blushers (layers) of a veil are traditionally used to cover the bride’s face at the front as she walks down the aisle but brides are now choosing to have extra tiers on their veil to be purely decorative.
Single tiered - works great with a dress that has lots of detail particularly at the back. As it is just one layer of tulle it creates an elegant and sheer, simple line.
Tiered veil - has much more volume than a single tier and is a good option if you want your veil to make more of a statement. Your veil can have as many tiers as you like but most commonly people choose two or three maximum.
Waterfall front – this has been a popular choice for brides that like the volume of a tiered veil but only want the single layer. The front of the veil is cut to hang in a waterfall style which is what gives it a voluminous look but then the back of the veil has a similar sheerness to the single tier.
The following video from one of our designers, Elizabeth Dickens shows how veils can create a different look with the amount of gathers and tiers that they have.
Tulle & Colours
You can choose from a wide range of colours for your veil’s tulle although most bride’s go for the traditional white/ivory/cream. Most of our suppliers will accommodate for precise colours if needed and some have even been known to tea dye the veils to find the perfect shade of ivory for our clients!
Matching the colour of your veil to your dress is usually fairly easy, if you can’t find the exact colour to match then we would always suggest going for a slightly darker shade rather than lighter. A darker shade isn’t really ever noticeable especially in something as sheer as a veil whereas lighter can sometimes look very stark against your dress.
When it comes to choosing the tulle that your veil is made from there are a few options:
Standard tulle – this is the classic tulle that is almost opaque. This tulle is thicker which provides more structure and volume.
Silky tulle – this tulle is more transparent which makes it perfect for any bride that doesn’t want to take the attention away from their dress. It is super sheer and feels much softer than standard tulle which gives it an almost draped appearance.
Patterned tulle – a slightly more unusual style of tulle which can come in a variety of patterns but most commonly in spotted. A spotted tulle can be super fun and perfect for a vintage style wedding.
Trims & Details
There really are endless trims and details to have on your veil so it can seem quite overwhelming when trying to choose. This is when the finer details of your dress will really make a difference to what kind of finish you have on your veil.
Cut edge – exactly as it sounds, this is when the veil has its raw edge after being cut, it is the most simple edging your veil can have but works brilliantly with heavily detailed dresses especially if you can’t find any alternative trims that really complement your dress’ details.
Lace edge – at the boutique we have a lace trim to suit every style of dress. Whether you want your veil and dress lace to match perfectly or if you don’t have a lace dress but want to add extra detail to your overall look with your veil, we have so many different lace trims that would work in any scenario. Where you place the lace edge on your veil can make a big difference. If you have the lace all the way up to the comb the lace will be very visible around your face whereas having the trim start at your fingertips is much more subtle but still gives you a beautiful lace edged train at the back.
Ribbon edge – this style is popular with brides that have satin detail on their dress as the satin ribbon on the veil edge ties in well. You can choose the width and colour of your ribbon edge and there are also a few options for style of ribbon.
Crystal edge – having Swarovski crystals on the edge of the veil creates a much more glamorous look and can add a great bit of extra sparkle if you aren’t thinking of having many other sparkly accessories. You can choose the colour and type of crystal but most brides stick to the classic clear colour which just catches the light.
Crystals & Pearls – similarly to having crystals as the trim of your veil you can also have them throughout the veil, again in any colour or type. Scattered crystals and pearls are a popular choice for brides that feel like they are lacking a bit of sparkle/pearls in their dress, when they are placed throughout the veil they really catch your eye.
Flowers – having flowers stitched throughout your veil only really works for a couple styles of dress. If your dress is super simple you can really go to town with your veil detail – never let your veil overshadow your dress though! Also, if you have some small floral detail on your dress, this could be silk flowers, floral looking lace, floral beading etc then the flowers on your veil can really compliment the dress and bring the flower detail on your dress out.
Lace appliqué – similarly to flower detail, you have to get the balance right with lace appliquéd veils. Again they work well with simple dresses for added detail but they also can work with lace dresses by picking the lace detail out and making it more of an overall focus of your look. Picking the right kind of appliqué is crucial in getting the right balance between your veil and dress.
Hopefully by following this step by step guide, you can finally conquer the crazy world of veils! And just in case you haven’t already had too much information here is a very handy video from one of our designers, Elizabeth Dickens about how to care for your veil before and after your wedding day.
Here in the accessories shop we have a huge range of veils, from this guide you can see that any kind of veil is possible! If you would like help with your veil then just pop into the accessories shop, there is no need for an appointment. Our knowledgeable staff are on hand to talk you through the different options to help you find the perfect veil for your dress.
Now, don’t even get me started on jewellery…
Love Amber xx