First off, let’s say that you don’t have to wear a veil. Although around 65% of brides do, that’s a big percentage that don’t.
So if you’re not comfortable with the idea, then that’s fine. You could wear a diamanté headpiece, a fabulous fascinator (Vivien Sheriff has some wonderful pieces designed especially for brides). However, we always think you should keep an open mind when wedding dress shopping. So go on, try on a few bridal veils (at least a birdcage) and see what the effect is. You never know.
The veil you finally decide on will depend on the style of dress you’ve chosen, the shape of your face, how you’re going to wear your hair and the venue in which you’re getting married.
Traditionally the bride walks down the aisle with her face covered by the veil and then lifts it up as she stands by the side of her groom – the part of the veil covering the face is called the ‘blusher’.
Whatever kind of a bride you are – whether traditional or a bit more boho – there’s a wedding veil style for you, whether it’s a cutesie birdcage number or a dramatic and regal cathedral length design. Take a look at this clip showing the different designs available…
If you’re having a traditional ceremony in an imposing venue…
You might like to do the full works and have a 144-inch long cathedral length veil if you’re planning a ceremony in a large venue or 126-inch chapel length that will glide dramatically behind you as you walk down the aisle.
Think about your style of dress as well – if the back of your gown has a train and a lot of embellishment (like bows) then this will be hidden by a cathedral length veil unless it is very sheer and simple.
You’re also going to need to be in the right place to carry off this kind of a look – if you’re getting married in a register office or on a beach then it’s going to appear out of place.
Whilst a full length veil is beautiful and lends a sense of drama to the occasion, it’s also an accessory that you’re going to have to keep an eye on – on your way out of your wedding venue and as you get into the car. Your bridesmaids will also have to arrange your veil properly for you when you have your pictures taken.
That said, we do love a long veil and if you’ve spent your whole life dreaming of the moment that your young attendants carry your draped veil behind you, then this is your moment to go for it!
And if you want a veil but something a little less formal…
Think about a finger-tip (72-inch) or floor length veil (108-inch) if you want something a little more subtle. These are a little more practical than longer veils but still look pretty and delicate.
This might be a good option for you if you’re wearing a very detailed dress, with a lot of beading and decoration.
We like this type of veil for brides who want a touch of tradition as they go to meet their groom – and think this would work perfectly if you’re getting married in a conservatory or having a barn style wedding ceremony.
Think about your neckline
If you choose your wedding dress for the design on the bodice or if that’s a feature you particularly want to show off, then consider a shoulder or waist length veil that won’t detract from this area – in fact it will draw the eye there.
These veils are both pretty and practical – they’re easy to manage but you’re still going to look bridal as you walk down the aisle.
What about brides rocking a retro style?
If you’re really not a traditional wedding dress kind of a girl and you’ve chosen a ballerina length or knee length frock – we’re thinking 1950s-inspired style here – then consider a shoulder length or birdcage veil.
It will balance the full skirts of your dress and give you that vintage look you’re after.
All in the detail
Wedding veils are designed in many different styles with different patterns and edging. We’ve seen veils with sequins, diamanté details, intricate embroidery as well as the simplest lengths of voile. (We’ve also seen ostrich-trimmed veils which we think would look fabulous with a Great Gatsby style wedding dress).
Our advice to you? Go and see what’s out there, see what will work with your wedding gown and enjoy the journey! You might like to see the other tips we’ve written on choosing a bridal veil
And as ever, you can join in the conversation with your fellow brides-to-be on our Wedding Ideas Forum and there’s one going on right now all about veils