When it comes to timeless imagery of wedding ceremonies, nearly as iconic as the white wedding dress itself is its accessory, the veil. For one special day, this translucent, gossamer length of white tulle truly makes the difference between a gown and a wedding dress. While a veil, with its historical meanings of deference and reverence, is not a requirement for the modern bride, many brides nevertheless opt for one of the many veil varieties to complete the classic wedding aesthetic. Take a look at a few of today’s most popular styles of wedding veils.
Keeping it short and chic, the birdcage veil is full of retro cool and urbane sophistication. This style came into prominence during World War II, when textile shortages meant that, back on the home front, brides would have to do without some of the extravagance they may have expected before the war. This didn’t stop designers and brides from doing more with less, using a modest allotment of fabric to create eye-catching veils that used stark latticing to draw attention to the wearer’s face. Even without the spectre of wartime austerity, many modern brides choose to hearken back to this unforgettable mid-20th-century style.
Perhaps the most quintessential bridal veil is the chapel-length variation, which usually runs about seven feet long. As a way to keep things simpler, many brides forgo the long trains of traditional gowns and use chapel-length veils to simulate the trailing effect of a train. You needn’t hold your wedding in a chapel to use this versatile veil. Because of its classic style, the chapel-length veil complements a number of striking wedding-day hairstyles.
Longer than a chapel-length veil is the cathedral-length veil, which can supplement or take the place of a traditional bridal gown’s train. A cathedral-length veil can be as much as ten feet long, trailing its wearer by several feet. Despite—or perhaps because of—its auspiciousness and high maintenance, the cathedral-length veil is among the most popular styles of wedding veils. As its name would indicate, evoking images of stained glass and flying buttresses, this veil is among the most traditional selections available. You don’t need an actual cathedral to pull it off, but it’s best suited to very formal wedding venues.