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To Veil or Not To Veil

22nd May 2020

An in-depth exploration into whether or not you should wear a veil on your wedding day.


[Image by Bonnie Jenkins]

It is an age-old question… Well, it’s not, but it is one of those you must ask yourself as a bride. Frankly, it’s quite a fun one to ask, so we’re going to help you cover all the bases, look at it from all angles and hopefully get you closer to deciding – to veil or not to veil? 

Types of Veils

Veils are not one-size fits all – there are many, many different kinds of veils. When it comes to length you can everything from a cute blusher veil that hits right around your chin, to a short, elbow, fingertip, chapel and cathedral length veil – that’s the one the royals tend to go for (…and then some, in most cases!) 

In terms of style, you’ve got vintage-style birdcage veils, single tier or drop veils, or a more classic two-tier, ballerina, or lace-adorned Mantilla veil. Bandeau veils are making a big comeback with a boho twist. Plain or detailed with lace and beading, there are just as many varying styles of veil as there are wedding dresses! 

“I recently photographed a wedding and the veil was a part of the brides dress. I think she called it her ‘wings’. It can be amazing in photos and especially when it catches the light or a little bit of wind for that wow factor.” shared Rachel Cutler, Tawny Photography & Films

This bride wears a Mantilla Cathedral-length veil. "Remember the wind - mostly if you are getting married on the beach! Positioning yourself against the wind is very important!" Valentina Pintus - Sunshine Brides, image by Tenielle Fink Photography

[This bride wears a Mantilla Cathedral-length veil. “Remember the wind – mostly if you are getting married on the beach! Positioning yourself against the wind is very important!” Valentina Pintus – Sunshine Brides, image by Tenielle Fink Photography.]

How a veil will make you feel 

Okay, first I’m going to make what I believe to be the most compelling case for a veil. Unless you happen to be Catholic and did your Holy Communion – when else in your life will you have the chance to wear a veil? 

Madeleine from White Lily Couture spends her days helping brides find their dream dress, and accessories to top it off.  She says, “In appointments with our brides, it is always the veil that takes their dream dress from just another dress on the rack to ‘This is The One!‘ There is nothing quite like the feeling of putting on a veil – all of a sudden you can see yourself saying ‘I do’, and everything else falls away.” 

How to wear your veil

This will largely come down to the kind of veil you’re having, which will also be influenced by the style of dress you’ve chosen. The best thing you can do is speak to your dress designer or the bridal boutique where you found your dress, and get their advice on what kind of veil will best suit you and your dress. 

Next you want to talk to your hair stylist about how they can place your veil. They will take into account the hair style you’ve chosen, of course. If you know you want to remove your veil throughout the day, they will teach you and your trusted person (mother, or maid of honour usually)  how to safely remove your veil so as not to upset your gorgeous ‘do.  

Hair stylist, Evalyn Parsons says of veils, “I love a veil for my brides. My fave look for a veil is to pin it below the crown and have it flow out from there. For brides who don’t love the look of the top of the veil attachment or comb, I love wrapping a braid over that or using flowers or an accessory to cover or finish it off.” 

Two-tier tulle veil with a sweet and simple Swarovski crystal detail from White Lily Couture. “ Image by Mallory Sparkles Photography.

[Two-tier tulle veil with a sweet and simple Swarovski crystal detail from White Lily Couture. “ Image by Mallory Sparkles Photography.]

Noosa Boathouse Wedding _ Life and Love Photography _The Bride's Tree _ Noosa Wedding _ Noosa River Wedding

[Hair by Evalyn Parsons, Image by Life and Love Photography]

They look pretty magical

When a bride walks down the aisle in her gown, veil flowing, there’s a collective intake of breath. A veil brings a certain drama to that first moment. 

“From a video perspective, veils are endless opportunities for creative, fun and beautiful shots. They allow movement, enhance the visual story telling of the day, and if they blow off and float away it’s even more dreamy.” says wedding videographer, Ashlee Jensen, Jensen & Young 

The traditional aspect

Veils conjure up certain traditional aspects. Veils (and brides wearing white, for that matter) only became popular when Queen Victoria donned both for her wedding in 1840. Purity and innocence are associated with veils, which aren’t always conducive with the modern bride’s sensibilities. Others suggest wearing a veil is simply one of those accessories you only get one or two chances to wear, and they’re a bit of pretty fun. *shrug* 

Bride, Nicola, wore a chapel-length tulle veil without adornment to suit her clean, modern romantic style. "I loved my veil... The moment my hair stylist pinned it in and I got up to look in the mirror I finally said.. "I feel like a bride now!" - Nicola Hammond, image by Emma Nayler Photographer, Hair by Sass & Niki's Wedding Hair

[Bride, Nicola, wore a chapel-length tulle veil without adornment to suit her clean, modern romantic style. “I loved my veil… The moment my hair stylist pinned it in and I got up to look in the mirror I finally said.. “I feel like a bride now!” – Nicola Hammond, image by Emma Nayler Photographer, Hair by Sass & Niki’s Wedding Hair]


What if I don’t want to wear a veil? 

Then don’t. Do what you want, cause that’s your bizness. There are so many other options for a bride – fresh flowers pinned to the side, a full crown of flowers, a hair piece full of bling, a simple clip. Or… nothing! You could simply choose a hair style you really love and leave it at that. 

When NOT to veil

You’re blowing away

The number one reason not to veil is that it’s turned out to be too windy of a day to wear your veil. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t – or shouldn’t – wear your veil at all. It simply means that you may need to readjust your veil-touting plans. Gusts of wind blowing your veil in your face as you’re trying to say your vows aren’t ideal. 

Take it from somebody who has seen it all, “Love veils but if it’s a windy just… ditch it. They are too distracting for the whole ceremony – for the bride, groom, guests – everyone. And can mean you miss being present for the other special moments.” – Kath Tilly Celebrant

This doesn’t mean you can’t get some photos in your veil, so you still get that ultimate bride moment! Or you can change things up and wear it once you’re safely inside, out of the elements. 

Then again, some brides can’t imagine their wedding ceremony without their veil, and for this instance, Photographer, Bec, from Ash & Stone has a suggestion. “If it’s windy and if the veil is long enough, I just encourage one of the bridesmaids to take the end and to hold it behind their back or to place flowers on it to keep it weighted.” 

When hugs become a hazard

One of the trickiest parts of wearing a veil is having it become a literal pain when your well-meaning guests want to give you a big old smooch. 

“Take your veil off at the signing table for congrats photos! All too often I see brides heads being pulled back from hugging and getting head dragged back from it, which equals cranky feels. You can always reattach afterwards for bridal party photos!” advises Lee Burgess, Life and Love Photography


[Image by Karen Buckle]

Interview with Judy Copley, Bridal Fashion Designer

Tastemaker, Judy Copley, designs some of the most unique bespoke gowns we’ve seen. We asked Judy to share some of her thoughts about veils. 

What are some of the different kinds of veils a bride might choose? 

There are so many.

 A bride could choose a gorgeous sheer 100cm veil that cascades beyond the length of the train, or she could choose something short and sweet. Veils can be beautifully detailed with beading, lace, embroidery or even feathers. It could be layered, have ribbon detail or could be another colour not just white as is customary.

Do you think veils add to the overall effect or can a veil steal the focus? 

Personally, I love a veil, and in most cases a veil complements a gown. A veil adds that little bit extra, a little magic. Wearing a veil adds another element and creates movement to your wedding photos. A well-chosen veil just finishes the overall look for a bride. After all you can wear another beautiful gown on another occasion but a veil can only be worn on your wedding day so why not.  

Image by Life and Love Photography

[Your wedding veil doesn’t have to be white! Image by Life and Love Photography]

Do you think a veil still has a place in modern weddings? 

Yes, I love a veil for modern weddings, they really are timeless – as long as they are thoughtfully chosen and complement the gown not over shadow it. If the gown is simple, a gorgeous detailed veil could work, and a heavily embellished or detailed gown is beautifully finished with a sheer flowing full-length veil.


What is the best way to take a traditional element, like a veil, and bring it forth into a contemporary 2020 (well… maybe 2021, let’s face it!) wedding? 

If you are thinking of wearing a veil and want to put a modern spin on it you can look at having a veil made with beautiful detailing that mirrors the detail of the gown. The way the veil is fixed to the hair can give a modern feel to the overall look. Think of ways it can be attached rather than just fixing it at the back of the hair as is customary. 

Judy Copley bridal runway show _ The Bride's Tree

[Image by Karen Buckle]

Free online bridal magazine _ Summer 2020 The Bride's Tree Volume 32