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Unveiling the Veil

An expert’s guide on choosing the right veil for your wedding! By Anita Turner

One of the most beautiful accessories a bride can wear is a veil. It is one of the oldest bridal accessories – around the Middle Ages they were worn to protect the bride from evil spirits. Nowadays veils serve many other purposes; with a veil, you are adding drama, elegance, softness and balance to your look. This seemingly simple snippet of fabric can do wonders for accessorising and, if chosen with care, can become a defining element of your bridal look.

The first thing to think about when considering a veil is how it will compliment your dress. The style of your gown should be the deciding factor on whether or not you wear a veil and, should you choose to wear one, the cut of the veil should be determined with care. For example, if the back of your gown has been designed to wow, and you’re considering a long veil, it’s essential to remember to get the length just right to match your dress. The veil should be at least 10cm longer as a rule of thumb. If not, the veil will ride on the back of your train and will constantly hide the back of your gown. If it is longer, it will trail along the ground and thus, separating the veil from your gown to reveal your beautiful back.

Once you’ve decided to wear a veil, the next thing to think about is the fabric the veil is made from.  To best compliment any gown, veils should be made in the finest of tulles, either of silk or nylon. Some veils – usually those found online – are made of net, which is coarse, stiff and generally unflattering. You need to be wise to the fact that there are different qualities when searching both in-store and online. For an added touch, veils can be edged with ribbon or lace and decorated with hand-crafted fabric flowers, diamantes or pearls to emulate the detailing of your gown and add an extra flourish to your look.

Aside from complimenting the gown you are wearing; the style of your wedding can also be enhanced by a veil. Different types of veils can play a dramatic role in embellishing the atmosphere of the era that inspires your look and your wedding. Vintage-themed weddings in particular are hugely popular and well-suited to veils, though the particular style varies with the decade. A simple gown, as seen in the seventies, will be stunning with a lace edged, whereas layered short veils echo the fifties.

Most brides seeking a modern look tend to opt for simple and long. This style is commonly favoured over other styles as it will work best, flatter and add elegance and drama to most types of gowns and weddings. With the current trend of simple silhouettes, clean lines and minimalist design, the veil is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your individual style and personality. The two-tiered veil (to enable it to go over the face) is often caught by a pin and not gathered at all, is making a comeback.

Every year, at least two or three of my brides will come in with their family veil. Often it was worn by Mum or Nana and is truly beautiful, (some bring in veils that were bought from my mum, Vinka!). It may be a little worse for wear with a few holes, but these vintage veils (which are usually embroidered) bring a very special family connection to the wearer and cause a few happy tears!

The veil is of course a hair accessory, so naturally your hairstyle will have to form a part of your discussion. Some important questions to consider include whether or not to wear your hair up or down, and how to fasten the veil. Most veils are attached with a comb, while more traditional styles such as the Spanish mantilla are draped over the head and secured with pins or hair clips.

Choosing whether or not to wear a veil and further deciding on the right one for you is a surprisingly weighty choice that can take many by surprise. If you are having trouble in making a choice, the best advice is to keep an open mind and talk it through with your gown designer. With the help of their experience, you’ll end up with a veil that suits you perfectly.

Ultimately, remember that the veil is a prop that is there to make you look and feel like the bride of your dreams – you shouldn’t settle for anything less, and your photographer will love you for it!

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