A History of Wedding Veils

They vary in style and length almost as much as the dress, and the history of wedding veils is as long as getting marriage itself. We recap the most popular looks over the last century!

Cloche Headdresses

The 1920s saw brides favouring the lace cloche headdresses, some of which would be encircled with flowers. Veils were usually made of silk materials and decorated with flowers and leaves that would match the blooms in her bouquet.

veils Katya

Veils started to make a more simple statement in the 1930s and into the 40’s when brides wore shear veils hanging loosely over their heads. The main reason for this style movement was a shortage of fabric during the war!

Birdcage Veil

In the post-wear years of the 1950s an enviable surge in elaborate bridal accessories brought about real style statement pieces including birdcage veils and slender fitting skullcap veils.

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This fashion-forward look mellowed in the 60s with veils taking on a more modern, bohemian vibe. Long, floaty styles became popular and took their cue from the ‘flower-power’ look of the time. These were often attached to pillbox hats. The 1970’s continued with a more relaxed style to the trend with floral crowns and shear veils draped over the top.

Cathedral Length

By the 1980s, the bigger the better! We saw Princess Diana’s mammoth veil setting the trend for a whole generation of brides. Her amazing veil was 24 feet long but the perfect length to make a dramatic statement as she entered St Paul’s cathedral. (surely the longest and most recognisable style in the history of wedding veils!)

The Royal Wedding

Flash forward to 2011 and Kate Middleton’s 72-inch ivory silk veil also made for a dramatic entrance at Westminster. “Kate opted for the ‘celestial halo’ effect,” says designer Kelly from Richard Designs.

“Unlike most veils, this particular one appeared to be without a comb; instead skilfully pinned behind the halo tiara and resting on her ‘Demi Chignon’ styled hair. The soft veiling was positioned precisely on to the comb to allow the correct amount of blusher to fall when it is worn forward. An ode to Catherine, this veil is timeless and ethereal!”


Modern Day

Today the modern bridal look is less defined but emphasises on shear fabrics and high detail in some cases. Ethereal veil shots of the bride with her groom make for utterly romantic wedding photos.


RELATED: 25 New Season Bridal Veils For The Modern Bride

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Are you planning on wearing a veil for your big day?


Will you wear a veil on your wedding day?