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The Wedding Veil Tradition and 101 on Veil Lengths

Bridal veils have been a tradition in wedding ceremonies for hundreds of years.  In fact, the tradition surpasses the practice of wearing white wedding dresses.  There are many symbolic reasons for wearing a veil that vary based on culture.

 Many years ago the tradition began in arranged marriages, but this “veil” was less of a dainty piece of fabric or lace and more of a bag. This bag would be worn by the Bride (not carried as you may have thought).  The father-of-the-bride would walk her down the aisle because she literally couldn’t see through the bag.  Once at the altar, the father or groom would lift the bag as an unveiling of the bride.  This may seem unusual now, but definitely an interesting fact on how this tradition began. 

Today the veil still is seen as an unveiling tactic, but it is now used more as an acceptance of the person who you are about to marry, and of the relationship that you are about to embark on.  When the father-of-the-bride lifts the veil and kisses the bride, he places it back over her, as a symbol of his love.  The father unveiling his daughter and re-veiling is done to present her to the next man to watch over her in her life.  During the ceremony the veil is lifted by the groom when it is time to kiss the bride. 

This act symbolizes the bride starting her new marriage and accepting her independence in becoming a woman.  This is not to say that you can’t just wear a veil because it makes you feel pretty! We just find it so interesting to see how such a little gesture can have so much meaning. 

Choosing a veil can sometimes be a daunting task, as there are so many different styles and lengths of veils.  Here is the 101 on veil lengths:

Birdcage—Very short and barely covers the face.  Use this veil if you want to show off an intricate and detailed back of a wedding dress.

Flyaway— Shoulder length veil that consists of multiple layers.

Blusher— The part of the veil that you put in front of your face to cover your eyes which is then is lifted during the ceremony.

Fingertip— Falls right to the finger tips and is usually a bit wider to completely cover the shoulders.

Waltz—Falls right below the knee.

Cathedral—Trails 4 to 5 feet behind the bride as she walks

Regal—The longest type of veil, and it usually trails about 6 feet behind the bride.

Veils of all lengths add a certain amount of elegance and drama to a bride’s look.  They are filled with significance of purity, tradition and joy as families blend together through marriage.  They also demonstrate a sense of style that can really say a lot about a bride.  Choosing the perfect veil can complete your bridal look.  One of our favorite moments about wearing a veil is when the bride puts on her veil with her mom and friends.  There is something about that moment that makes everything about the day lovely and emotional.  We hope that we were able to give you a little more insight and appreciation of this common and perhaps most important bridal accessory!


-Storybook Chicago

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