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Veil or no veil? Will you be wearing one?

Face-covering veils without doubt are making a comeback. I’ve seen more veils this year than I’ve ever seen and so it’s got me thinking about whether wearing a veil is simply just another form of wedding fashion or if it’s a little more symbolic than that.

Has the idea of wearing a veil crossed your mind? And if so, what are your thoughts? That it will look nice? That you want to add some tradition to your look and your ceremony? That it’s something a bit different? When I got married the thought of wearing a veil never even entered my mind and even now the idea of covering my face seems alien, so I’m really genuinely interested in what makes a bride decide to wear one.

I didn’t even know myself (until I did a little research) how steeped in history veils are and how much they were a common feature of brides from all different faiths and religions. And interestingly, just like with most wedding dresses of the past, veils were rarely white! Veils represented the purity of the bride and because in many historical marriages brides and grooms did not meet each other until their wedding day, the veil was adopted to cover the bride’s face so that the groom got to see her at the last moment, so he couldn’t change his mind! Nice! Nowadays because that isn’t how we get married in the modern world, veils are made of a lighter, finer fabric so that the covering of the face is more subtle and you can actually see the bride’s face under the veil. No hiding here!

Photo by Owen Farrell

Face-covering veils are making a comeback. Photo by Owen Farrell

Different types of veil

As times have moved on, so has the style of veil and now many brides wear veils more as hair accessories than as a full-face covering veil, which is a lovely alternative to the traditional veil. Veils can be full length, to the waist, just below the shoulder, or whatever length you wish! In hindsight, I could probably see myself as a head-dress type-of-girl, but not a full length one, as that would just have resulted in self-strangulation or me tripping over it.

Most veils are usually made of tulle, but lace veils are common too. Centuries ago when lace was still only handmade and when a few people were needed to make just one, lace veils were seen as the height of luxury and of course, something only those with big bucks could afford.

Veil traditions

Usually it is the father of the bride who lifts the veil once he has walked his daughter down the aisle, but I have also seen many grooms lift the veil of their wives-to-be, which I think is really romantic and lovely, too. Again, it all comes down to whatever floats your boat!


Photo by Ruth Blamire-Brown

Traditionally, the meaning behind the father lifting the veil was to say that the bride was no longer covered by the security of her father’s household and lifting the veil symbolised unveiling her to her new husband and under his protection and safety.

Why wear a veil?

I guess this is one of those questions that only each individual bride can answer because there definitely isn’t one blanket response to this. It could be purely for fashion, because it looks lovely/romantic/traditional or maybe because the bride wants to introduce some traditional aspects to her ceremony. Or maybe even a bit of both. Maybe some brides just know they want to wear a veil but haven’t really got a particular reason why, they just do. Personally, I think no matter what your reason is for it, in doing it, you’re making quite a bold statement, whether you mean it or not!

So let me know your thoughts. What does a veil represent for you? Will you being wearing one? Or is it simply wedding fashion for you and nothing more?



About the author

Natasha Johnson

Natasha Johnson is an experienced Wedding Celebrant, blogger and writer on all things related to weddings, in particular wedding ceremonies. Her mission is life is to encourage couples to see the importance of their wedding ceremony and to get married in just the way they want to. Make sure you catch her on the Engaged and Ready Wedding Podcast, here or on iTunes and Stitcher.

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