Wedding veils are a noteworthy fashion piece as part of a bride’s ensemble nowadays, but they trace back to fascinating roots. The tradition originated long ago in Rome, where a bride would wear a veil over her face in order to disguise herself from volatile spirits who wanted to obstruct her happiness.
Veils have since gravitated away from their religious and spiritual beginnings. However, many brides still adhere to the tradition of being given away underneath a blusher veil, while others simply appreciate the elegant addition to their overall look.
With the overwhelming amount of bridal stores and online manufacturers out there, brides can be easily overrun with countless recommendations and options. For those looking for a remedy to their never-ending search, this article serves as a how-to guide for choosing a veil, complete with tips and tricks to use during your hunt.
Wedding Veil Styles & Lengths
In this section, we list the most popular veil styles out there, the associated veil lengths, and the best dress pairing to round out your look.
Birdcage Wedding Veil
A birdcage veil is also known as a bandeau veil. The average length can range anywhere from 4 to 9 inches, and they typically cover the bride’s eyes and nose with a layer of thin fishnet or lace. Some brides will cover their faces with the birdcage veil or sweep it to the side for a modern look.
A birdcage wedding veil pairs well with traditional, floor-length wedding gowns but can also be paired with short, non-traditional dresses as well. Depending on the shape of the short dress, birdcage wedding veils can quickly make the look “top-heavy” and should be evaluated on an individual basis.
Shoulder Length Veil
A shoulder-length wedding veil holds true to its name and reaches the shoulders of the bride. Typically, you can expect a shoulder-length veil to measure 20 to 22 inches long. A shoulder-length veil is a great choice for any bride who doesn’t want to pull any attention away from their dress, typically one with lots of beading and embellishments.
Blusher Wedding Veil
The blusher wedding veil has been around much longer than other styles of veils. The blusher wedding veil is symbolic of modesty and purity and covers the bride’s face until it’s lifted at the altar. This is often done by the groom, but some brides choose to have their father or family member who is giving them away lift the veil.
Blusher wedding veils measure approximately 30 inches and fall to the mid/lower-back. They do well with modest, floor-length gowns. A blusher wedding veil that is referenced frequently is the one worn by Kate Middleton during her wedding to Prince William.
A flyaway wedding veil is a multi-layered tiered veil that acts as a statement piece while not pulling any attention away from the gown. Flyaway veils land around the mid-back and measure about 24 inches long, but can be shortened if the bride prefers. The main feature of a flyaway veil is the multiple layers.
Flyaway veils are best paired with heavily embellished and decorated gowns.
Elbow Wedding Veil
An elbow wedding veil is just that; a veil that reaches the elbows. It measures about 32 inches, or whatever the length is between the top of the bride’s head and her elbows.
Elbow veils are great for ball gown wedding dresses because they end right where the skirt’s volume begins, but they do well with a variety of dress styles in non-traditional environments.
Fingertip Wedding Veil
Another creatively named veil, the fingertip veil, extends past the bride’s hips and measures anywhere between 38 and 40 inches. Fingertip wedding veils are a popular choice because they complement a wide variety of gowns while not drawing attention away with the traditionally thin lace material.
Knee Length Veil
Knee-length veils measure approximately 48 inches but can be adjusted based on the bride’s height. They go well with fitted gowns or dresses without a train.
Waltz/Ballet Wedding Veil
A waltz length or ballet wedding veil is one of the longer ones that reach the bride’s mid-calf, or about 60 inches down. A ballet veil is a popular choice for brides who like the elegant addition of a longer veil while being free to roam around and often dance during the reception.
They are closely related to the knee-length wedding veil and pair well with fitted gowns as well.
Floor Length Veil
A floor-length veil entirely depends on the bride’s height, but the average length is 72 inches long and matches the length of the bride’s dress. Floor-length veils are the ideal choice for floor-length gowns without a train, sheath silhouette, or ball gown.
Chapel Wedding Veil
A chapel length wedding veil extends past the bottom of the bride’s gown and is the shortest of the train veils. Typically, chapel length veils measure 90 inches. They go best with modest, formal gowns but are typically chosen based on location instead and are a popular choice for chapel weddings.
Cathedral Wedding Veil
A cathedral veil is one of the most dramatic and eye-catching pieces you can go with, measuring anywhere from 108 to 120 inches long. Cathedral length veils should be worn with a semi-cathedral or cathedral gown.
A royal veil can reach anywhere from 120 to 144 inches. A royal veil is typically embroidered with delicate jewels, pearls, or other lace embellishments. The gown choices with a royal veil are similar to that of a cathedral wedding veil but do well with ball gowns.
A Juliet cap veil received its name from its inspiration, the traditional cloche cap worn by 16th-century actors portraying Juliet in the Shakespeare play. A Juliet cap veil has a thin cloche cap at the top and is connected to a longer tulle veil, which can vary in length depending on the bride’s preference.
Typically, Juliet cap veils reach down to the fingertips and beyond, with 38 inches as a minimum. They pair best with fitted gowns.
A mantilla veil is a circular piece of material (typically lace or tulle) that features a fully laced border. Mantilla veils do not have a set length and can range from shoulder length to cathedral length. They pair well with simplistic, floor-length dresses and add a little bit of style.
A drop veil is a variation of the blusher wedding veil and refers to how the front piece of fabric is attached to the rear of the veil. A drop veil is secured with a minimalistic comb typically placed on the crown of the head. The length of a drop veil depends on the length of the veil that it’s paired with, but they typically start around 30 inches and go longer from there.
Tips for Picking the Right Wedding Veil
There are many factors that you should take into consideration before landing on the right wedding veil.
Try Options with Your Gown
First, you should try veil options with your specific wedding dress style once you’ve made an initial decision. A bride will rarely choose a veil and then search for a dress. If you have a style assistant helping you during the dress search process, then they should have a long list of recommendations for veil pairings with your dress.
Consider Your Venue
Considering your venue is also an important factor. As we stated above, certain veils like chapel wedding veils and cathedral wedding veils are chosen based on the location of the ceremony instead of the dress pairing.
For example, you probably don’t want to go with a cathedral or floor-length veil of any sort if you have a beach wedding. By the end of the ceremony, it will be caked with sand and possibly ruined if it snags on anything like a shell or rock. This is when you’d want to go with a knee-length or waltz wedding veil or a birdcage veil if you’re wearing a shorter dress.
Compliment Your Hairstyle
Certain veils work best with specific hairstyles as well as dresses. Birdcage veils pair best with shorter hairstyles, as well as vintage-inspired updos, and longer veils tend to look their best with elegant long hairstyles.
Additionally, there should always be something to attach the veil to, many brides will opt for a half-up half-down if they’d like to wear a veil.
Consider Your Budget
As always, consider how much money you have to spend on wedding veil styles. According to the Bridal Association of America, the average cost of a veil is $274. For some, this is a bit steep, so always shop around when deciding on a veil. You can also try on veil styles at a store to decide on the best fit and then look for better deals elsewhere.
There are many factors to consider when choosing the perfect wedding veil for your special day, including the length of the veil and the style of your dress. Hopefully, with the help of this guide, you will find one that matches your dream wedding.
You can also consider making your own wedding veil to save on costs!
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