Unless something goes catastrophically wrong during your walk down the aisle, your wedding veil will be second in importance only to your bridal gown itself for two major reasons: in addition to being a gorgeous complement to the wedding dress, it’s an adornment your loved ones will be taken with as their eyes are (hopefully) drawn naturally to your face. It has to provide a soft, subtle finishing touch to your gown itself while feeling apropos to your wedding’s setting and ultimately flattering the shape of your body, face, and hairstyle.
In other words, that one small accessory has a very underestimated significance that has come a long way since the bygone days when it was a bride’s safeguard against invasive evil spirits. Today, it’s part of the height of bridal fashions. Which is right for you? Well, since you asked…
- The Basics
When pairing a veil with your wedding dress, make trial-and-error your friend during your first fitting to give various lengths a chance and see what flatters your silhouette without breaking its flow. A shorter veil, such as a bandeau, birdcage or blusher, have some catchy informal or even somewhat retro edge of personality. On the other hand, an atmosphere of tradition and formality lends itself better to a ballet, chapel or cathedral style of longer veil. Then again, the latter side of the spectrum can be pretty versatile the whole way around. As a starting point, consider letting your designers custom-create a veil based on your particular dress.
Your veil should always harmonize with the overall personality of your dress – a simple and clean veil for a gown heavy on the embellishments and a more daring, ornate veil to offset something more simple and streamlined. As you toy with bold textures, accents and shapes, do remember to play it straight when it comes to tailoring the veil’s color to the shade of the gown. Having a swatch of the dress fabric along while shopping will help avoid photos that deceptively portray the veil’s color.
One rule that should almost universally be followed: never dye an antique veil that has a “close enough” color match to the dress. Heirloom appeal speaks volumes for itself and doesn’t need the help. At all.
As other embellishments go, remember that they don’t so much have to immaculately match those of the wedding dress itself, but their colors, sizes and styles should at least accompany them appropriately. Best not to test a tastefully pearl-embroidered romantic gown with a gauche sequined veil.
Then there’s the fabric. Tulle is a can’t-miss classic that also happens to be budget-merciful, but a pricier lace, silk or satin veil may look every bit as apropos, depending on the look you love. Remember that synthetics (again, including good ol’ tulle) present a more airy look that maintains its shape more consistently than heavier, straight-hanging satin or silk.
Invariably, your veil has to suit the hairstyle you’ve chosen if it’s to fully complement your overall look. Blushers, birdcages and other shorter veils are quite adaptable to most styles, but a bridal cap or halo or mantilla will pair best with either a low updo or hair worn down. Keep in mind also that you can wear a veil above or below a bun or chingon if you know you’ll be wearing your hair up, but there’s a degree of classic volume to be appreciated in pinning it above, as opposed to going for a more modern look that accents a more stylish updo by keeping the veil below.
In any case, whatever you choose, keep it with you alongside all other planned hair accessories at trial appointments so you can see how the whole shebang will pair with your dream ‘do.
Speaking of accessories, keep them in mind along the way and think about how they’ll get along with one another in the context of your whole look. Going with a grand fountain veil? Then put down the overwhelming tiara. Favoring an elbow, cathedral, chapel or fingertip-length hairstyle? A royal topper or headband adorned with beads or crystals is a good bet. You and your stylist will gain a pretty quick feel for which accessories, veils and styles play nicely together without overwhelming one another or pushing the look overboard. Don’t hesitate either to let your accessories anchor our veil in place – say, with a clear comb to discreetly clip the veil to your ‘do.
- Before and After “I Do”
How do you want your veil to affect what you’ll see in your eventual wedding photos? Know how much or little of it you want to show off. A back piece can always ensure that as little of the veil as possible will be visible to the camera, in case you want to make your jewelry or hairstyle the focus of your look from the neck up. Just be advised that, while a fabric hook-and-loop closure will let you put the veil on and take it off easily as you please should you want to remove it post-ceremony and leave just the headpiece for the reception, taking the veil off won’t show it off at all in cake-cutting and first-dance photos. A multi-layer, fingertip-length top layer to your style is a smooth fix to keep a chapel, ballet or cathedral wedding veil on after the ceremony. You can then hold onto that classic bridal look while moving and dancing gracefully while leaving the floor-length layers behind.