It may seem obvious, but a good piece of advice is to choose your wedding dress before your accessories. It is the tiara and veil that transform the beautiful bride into a stunning vision of perfection, and maintaining that perfection requires a balance where no one piece overwhelms the other. You also need to know which veil lengths and styles work well with each style of wedding dress.

Plain or Detailed Veil?

A plain veil works perfectly with a detailed or elaborate wedding dress. Choose a short veil to end above the detail of the dress or a long one to end below. If there is no train, try to allow your veil to end at the skirt hemline or a little beyond.

Just as a plain veil works well with an ornate gown, a veil with lace or beaded detail will add instant glamour to the most simplistic wedding dresses. In terms of edging/trim styles there are ribbon edge, soft stitched edge, cut edge, lace edge and more. Make sure your choice enhances your look and remember that the veil is the accessory not the showstopper — it’s all about you in the dress.

Veil Lengths

The two most popular veil lengths have always been fingertip (or hip length) and cathedral length. You may often see wedding gowns referred to as having a chapel length or cathedral length train. A chapel length veil is around 126″ long with approximately 36” of excess fabric over the floor, and Cathedral length considerably more.

While the longer the veil the more drama it can create, remember that it may be necessary to remove it at the wedding breakfast as they can be quite cumbersome to manage. However, with tea length gowns still on trend, birdcage veils are increasingly popular too.

Bride Wearing Birdcage Veil

Veil Lengths Guide

Here are the lengths of the most popular veil styles…

  • Shoulder length veil: 39″ long
  • Elbow length veil: 47″ long
  • Waist length veil: 59″ long
  • Fingertip length veil: 72″ long
  • Floor length veil: 98″ long
  • Chapel length veil: 126″ long
  • Cathedral length veil: 144″ long

Trying on Veils

Many brides avoid trying a veil, adamant they don’t want one, especially if there is no intention to wear it over the face. However, a veil can act as the essential missing piece, so I would encourage anyone to at least try one on; after all you only get to wear a veil once.

Likewise, if mum really wants to see her little girl in the complete ensemble, don’t feel pressured into wearing something if you don’t want to. An ornate headpiece alone can be just as stunning.

Bridal Shoes and Veil on Chair

The Position of the Veil

Most girls’ vision of a veil is one plonked on the top of their head, falling over their shoulders and hiding them and the dress. The most modern way to position your veil is to wear it further back, just behind the line of your ears. This will mean it sits behind your shoulders and it will also feel less intrusive to wear. Make sure you take a loan veil with you to your hair trial because the position is key. If you are wearing the blush (see below) over then you will need it further forward or it will simply stick to your lippy — which is not a good look on your finest hour!

Blushing Bride?

The final thing to consider is to blush or not to blush — this is the part of the veil that comes over your face. The great news here is that there is no wedding etiquette on this any more. Traditionally the bride wore a veil during the ceremony and, once announced husband and wife, the groom lifted the blush to kiss the bride. Folklore says this happened so that the father could palm off his ugliest daughter with the smallest dowry first! Thank lord we have moved on from that one, eh?

I think this is a simple choice and common sense. Wear it over if you feel comfortable, if you want a more traditional approach, if your wedding is in a church and, from a practical point, use it to hide your blushes as you walk towards your groom. Then lift it back when you reach the altar — you simply have to be able to look into your groom’s eyes when you say “I do”.

Finally, trust your instincts. If a funky birdcage with vintage sparkle is more your thing than a cathedral length lace ensemble, go for it. This is the only chance in your life you get to wear a veil, so embrace it with both arms.

Guest post by Linda Davey and Ellie Sanderson (Veil Position)

Images from…

Wedding Dress with Long Veil: Amanda Wyatt

Birdcage Veil: Photography by Stefanie

Bridal Shoes and Veil: Hello Love Photography (by Dominique)