Tag Archives: wedding veils

“Veiling” It Up

14 Feb

Warning: Some serious veil porn ahead! Also, this post is super long!

There was one thing I was pretty damn sure about after Mr Big and I were engaged: no veil for me. I asked Mr Big if he had any particular feelings about it. He didn’t. I didn’t either. So it was settled – I wouldn’t be wearing a veil.

I never really dreamt of ‘my dream veil’, and seeing the veil-flying-in-the-wind photographs didn’t really do anything for me. So, I thought it was settled.

Enter everyone else.

I was told by everyone and their grandmother that a veil was just what you did. Other words that go thrown in there: ‘once in a lifetime’, ‘your wedding’, ‘never get a chance to’. The most outspoken individual was Mama Bighorn. According to her, I had to wear a veil.

I asked her why. No reason. I just had to wear a veil.

I was a little bit grumpy about this. To me, the veil was an outdated notion. To me, the veil represented inequality in a relationship. Mr Big and my relationship is pretty equal – we’re intellectually, mentally and emotionally compatible in many ways. No inequality here!

Plus, Mr Big and I had been cohabitating for a year before we were engaged. You could even say that we “moved quickly” in our relationship. So why did I need to wear a veil when saying “I do”?

However, after many a (loud, weepy) argument, I begrudgingly conceded to her on one condition: No. Poofy. Veils.

poofy veil

Pretty on some. Not on me. / Veil and image from Svitlana Bridal Veils.

I also didn’t really like tulle up all over my face, but apparently Mama Bighorn didn’t agree with me. I debated on the sort of veil I could wear on the day for a while, and then I saw this picture:

i try to be like grace kelly ohhh

“I try to be like Grace Kelly, ohhhh~” – the ever-elegant Grace Kelly. / Image via The Ethereal Bride.

Suddenly, veils were looking more and more attractive. I found out after some research that this veil was called a ‘drop veil’ and was literally just a circular piece of tulle that’s ‘dropped’ over the head (hence, ‘drop veil’). Although, some sources mentioned it was a ‘mantilla veil’, a veil originating from Spain that’s usually lace-trimmed and worn in a similar manner.

After looking up the difference between the mantilla and the drop veil, I came to one final conclusion: “Man, there are a LOT of veils out there.”

So hive, before I launch into the story on how I found my veil, let’s talk wedding veils.

If you go to most websites selling veils, they’ll split it up into a few categories: colour, length, style, fullness, edge, and embellishments. I was pretty. darn. overwhelmed when I saw just how much thought you have to put into a veil. Couldn’t I just pick one and be done with it? Undeterred though, I soldiered on.

First things first, colour. This is basically like choosing the ‘type of white’ on a dress. Most veils have, at minimum, three colours: white, silk white (or ‘off white’), and ivory. I’ve also seen the colour ecru (more creamy than ivory) being used, as well as ‘shimmer’ options (basically, glittery tulle).


Swatches from Wedding Veils Australia. From bottom to top: white, silk white, ivory, ecru, white glimmer, diamond white glimmer, and ivory glimmer.

Some websites, like the one above and this one, let you choose custom swatches too (blush, champagne, latte, etc.). According to my research:

  • White – matches pure white dresses (duh)
  • Silk White – matches diamond white dresses
  • Ivory – matches ivory dresses (double duh)
  • Ecru – goes well with champagne dresses

Next up we have length. Length varies from seller to seller, but the typical lengths available to brides are:

  • Shoulder – This is also known as a blusher. It’s a short veil (like the first picture in this post), and is usually about 30”/60cm in length.

Photo and veil from Etsy shop, Olive White Wedding.

  • Elbow – A more conservative and traditional choice, this veil customarily falls straight to the bride’s elbow (hence, ‘elbow’ length). It’s usually about 33”/70cm in length.

Photo and veil from Etsy shop, Simply Blue Bridal.

  • Fingertip – The fingertip veil is another traditional choice. Longer than the elbow-length, it falls to about the bride’s fingertips (they’re very original with these names, aren’t they?). It’s customarily 38”-40”/100cm in length and is a popular choice because it allows others to see the back of the wedding dress through the tulle.

Veil and photo from Etsy shop, myrakim.

  • Waltz – A waltz veil comes to about the mid-calf of a bride, so allows the bride to wear her veil all day if she wanted to. It runs to about 60”/165cm in length.

Photo and veil from Etsy shop, Urban Veil Couture.

  • Floor – The floor veil is just that: it sweeps on down to the floor, just grazing it, and is customarily the length of the bride’s dress. It’s about 72”/180cm in length. Or in my case, it would be 150cm, because I’m short.

Photo and veil from Etsy shop, Ellie Lane Designs.

  • Chapel – A chapel length veil flows to the floor and then extends beyond the bride’s gown. It can act as a train to brides with little to none in their dress and runs to about 90”/240cm.

Image from Hive member moderndaisy. Photography by Cliff Mautner Photography.

  • And Cathedral – a cathedral veil was worn by the famous Princess Diana when she got married to Prince Charles. This veil is loooooooong, or at least, can be super long. Princess Diana’s was about 24ft! They can come in a variety of lengths, but typically range from 108”-120”/275cm long.

Style is broken down into whether you want the veil tiered or not. Brides who want tiered veils typically like the ‘poofy’ look. Tiered veils consist of more than one piece of tulle, depending, of course, on the type of tier you want. You can also vary the length of the tier according to the lengths listed above.

If you want to learn more about specific styles, go to this website. They have a breakdown of the types of tiers you can have combined with different veil lengths. But in the interest of time (and my sanity), I’ll use the KISS rule (Keep it Simple [Stupid]):

  • The Single Tier is just that – one layer of tulle, cut with either a rounded edge or a pointed edge, and then gathered at the top.
single-tier veil

A single tier, fingertip-length veil with Alencon lace edging. Photo and veil from Teri Huang.

  • The Two Tier consists of two layers of tulle, sewn together and gathered at the top.
two-tier veil

A two-tier, pencil-edged veil, with one tier at fingertip length, and the other at waltz. Photo and veil from Shirley Renee Designs.

  • The Three Tier consists of three layers of tulle, sewn together and gathered at the top.
three-tier veil

From Hive member mille.3, wearing a three-tiered veil consisting of a two-tier elbow length veil, and a 200cm cathedral.

For those of us who don’t really like the poofy, tiered look (like me), the options are:

  • Circular, or Cascading, which consists of one piece of tulle cut in a circular fashion, folded in half to create 2 layers, and gathered in the centre.  When fastened with either a hair pin or a hat pin (and therefore, no gathers in sight), it’s more commonly known as the Drop Veil, such as the one worn by Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
  • And Square, which is also one piece of tulle, however, cut into a square. It’s folded to create 2 layers and four corners, and is also centre-gathered.
square cut veil

Image taken from Wedding Veils Australia.

The fullness of the veil refers to the width of the veil material (most commonly, tulle). The basic idea of fullness is this: the wider the material, the more full the veil is due to an increase in the number of folds. There are typically three types of fullness:

  • No gathers, or sheer fullness, which basically means that there are little to no gathers in the veil. This type of style is available with circular/cascading and square veils. For a veil with ‘no gathers’, the tulle is cut from material that is 54”/137cm wide. The drop veil as worn by Kate Middleton, and the veil worn by Grace Kelly, is examples of this type of veil.
  • Normal gathers, or standard fullness, are available in tiered, circular and square veils, with the top tier (in tiered veils) typically worn over the face. This is your standard, run-of-the-mill veil, which is cut from material 72”/183cm wide.
  • Full gather, or extra fullness, is cut from material 108”/274cm wide. This type of veil has more ‘poof’ to it, and therefore, more folds. It can be worn with tiered, circular/cascade, and square veils.
veil fullness

From left to right, sheer fullness/very little gathers, standard fullness/normal gathers, and extra fullness/full gather. / Image from Occansey Designs.

Edges are just that – the edge of the veil. There are a number of things brides can do to the edge of their veils, and these seem to be the most popular:

  • Cut/Plain/Raw Edge – Like the title implies, there’s no edging to the cut/plain/raw edge. Because of this, it suits most dresses – think of it as a one-size-fits-most.
  • Pencil Edge – The pencil edge is the universal edge on most veils. It’s thin (approximately 0.0625”/0.16cm) and softly ruffled.
  • Satin Cord – The satin cord edging is rounded and sits at approximately 0.125”/0.32cm and is also known as a ratstail edging. Another term for it is “piping”.
veil edges_1

From left to right: raw/plain edge veil from Simply Blue Bridal; pencil edge veil from clager6; and satin cord veil from Marisol Aparicio.

  • Russia Braid Trim – This edging is made from a satin cord with a centre dip. The braid trim lies flat and is approximately 0.118”/0.3cm.
  • Ribbon – Ribbon is, by far, the most varied edging next to lace and beaded. It can come in a variety of widths and colours to suit the bride’s dress and style.
  • Filigree or Rippled Edging – Filigree or ripped edging is thin like the pencil edge; however, has a “ripple” which creates a wave-like effect on the veil.
veil edges_2

From left to right: Russia braid edging from Elizabeth Dickens Studios; ribbon edge veil from La Bargain Boutique; and filigree/rippled edging from Wedding Veils Australia.

  • Beaded – Like the ribbon, a beaded edge comes in a variety of, well, varieties! Some elements used in veils include rhinestones, crystals, glass pearls, and diamantes.
  • Lace – Again, another popular choice. Lace edges are typically used in types of veils such as the Juliet Cap Veil (or simply, the Cap Veil) and Mantilla Veils.
veil edges_3

On the left, a beaded edge veil from harsuccthing; and on the right, a lace-edged mantilla veil from Smitha Menon Bridal.

And finally, there are embellishments. Embellishments do just that – they embellish the veil. Normally, embellishments are scattered about the veil. This is especially true with crystals or rhinestones which catch the light, therefore creating the affect that the bride is ‘glimmering’. However, veils can also be embellished with scatters of lace, or even silk flowers.

Instead of me yammering on about it, how about I just show you pictures:

rhinstone embellished veil

Shoulder-length veil with Swarovski rhinestone embellishments. / Veil from Etsy shop, sibo designs.

flower-crystal embellished veil

Elbow-length veil with flower and crystal embellishments. / Veil from Etsy shop, pureblooms.

lace applique veil

Royal Cathedral-length veil with lace applique. / Veil from Alisa Brides.

Let’s also not forget to mention the fan-favourites – the birdcage veil and the cap veil:

veil_fan faves

Left, birdcage veil by Etsy seller, The Honeycomb; and right, cap veil by Nerida Mason.

So, with all these options now laid out in front of me, I now had to choose what I wanted. But I’ll leave that for a next post!

What’s your favourite style? Are you a poofy-veil fan, a not-so-poofy veil fan, or anti-veil?