How to Choose a Wedding Veil


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The veil is one of the oldest wedding traditions. In ancient times, people believed that it would protect the bride from jealous, evil spirits—or more practically, from the tribe’s enemies, who may steal her on the day of the ceremony. (Incidentally, that was also the purpose of bridesmaids: to confuse any would-be attackers since they could not readily identify which one she was. ) It was also considered a sign of modesty, at times when women were not meant to blatantly display their beauty—and even then, people believed that brides were the most beautiful women of all.

Today, brides wear veils to complete the “wedding look", and choosing one involves both personal preference and a consideration of the type of wedding dress you will be wearing.

If you have a very ornate gown—with very intricate beading, ruffles, or embroidery—keep your veils simple. You don’t want the two to compete for attention, plus you could ruin the sophistication and elegance of your dress and just end up looking tackily overdone. If you want, you can add just a simple trim (like a line of pearls or lace at the edges). Conversely, if you have a very classic and simple dress, where the drama is mostly in the cut rather than any ornamental details, pull out all the stops when it comes to the veil, and construct it in such a way that you can wear it for the whole ceremony and reception without it getting in the way.

You don’t want your veil to hide any important details in your dress. For example, if the focal point of your gown is your bodice or back (such as a fully embroidered ribbon, or antique mother of pearl buttons) don’t wear a full length veil.

Antique veils are coming back into fashion, not only because of the renewed interest in “vintage" clothing, but because it is considered good luck to borrow the veil of a very happily married woman. If you were able to get an antique veil, resist the temptation to “fix" the color by dying it to match your gown. You could ruin the material, and it really isn’t necessary to do that. Even if it’s another color (such as a subtly darker or creamier shade of white) the difference won’t really be apparent because of the sheerness of the fabric.

Another thing you have to think about when choosing a veil is the length of the aisle. A long, dramatic veil works best in cathedrals or other ceremony venue where you will really be able to make a suitably dramatic entrance. Otherwise, the veil will just bunch up. Convenience is, of course, another consideration. You don’t want to wear a veil so cumbersome that talking or moving will be cumbersome, especially as you will be socializing with the guests during the reception. If possible, look for a vein that allows you to easily remove part of it after the ceremony. Your maid of honor should be able to help you with this, and you may need to “practice" it before the Big Day. However, don’t try on both the gown and the veil at the same time during your fittings. It is considered bad luck.

Philip Nicosia is the webmaster of an online resource centre covering many topics including weddings .


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