When it comes to choosing a veil for your wedding day, there is such a huge amount of choice. The style, the length, colour, edge finishing. The choices are endless. As a wedding photographer I have seen and photographed a fair number of veils, so I wanted to share some practical tips on choosing your own wedding veil.
When I got married, I wasn’t particularly fussed about having a veil. I think it didn’t even cross my mind as I was concentrating so much about the dress. When it came to dress shopping, I was very open minded as I had no idea what style I wanted. When I settled on a beautiful Ronald Joyce mermaid style lace dress the lady in the shop suggested a veil to finish off the look, and once she put it on it totally completed the look and I knew right away I wanted a veil. I chose a fingertip length with some lace detail on the edging to match my dress. It was perfect. Enough about me, my point is even though I wasn’t bothered about a veil, as soon as I saw it on, I knew I had to have one so I think it is best to be open minded.
My advice is to first start with your dress, then once you have set your mind on this, then look at veils. Some styles certainly suit themselves better to some dresses. For example, when Di and Wayne got married bride Di said she was unsure of what style to go for. She decided on a birdcage style (also often called a bandeau veil) which is the smallest veil you can get, and it attaches to your head often by a head band or slide, and the veil is a stiffer net type fabric to sit gracefully over your face. The style went perfectly with her tea length wedding dress and it looked amazing on Di.
Wedding dresses with long trains really suit long veils like the cathedral length which is one of the longest you can buy. Walking down the aisle these long veils look so beautiful and elegant. The only downside to super long veils is that I have seen brides get a little frustrated by them, as even though the fabric is super light, there is a lot of it. But that is what bridesmaids are for, to help you out!
When it comes to veil colours the main ones are white, off white and ivory. The colour of your dress will have a big impact on which one you choose.
Many brides have asked me over the years when they should take their veil off on their wedding day. My answer is always it is completely your choice; however, it is nice to have it still on for your photos. Often, once the wedding photographs are completed the veil will come off, but some brides like to wear it for the entire day until first dance and why not? It is your wedding so you should do what you want to do and what makes you comfortable. If it is annoying you and keeps getting stepped on, get rid of it.
Edge decoration is also a big decision. Do you go plain? Lace edge? Satin edge? How about sparkles? As with wedding dresses there is a lot of choice. My advice is to try lots on. Really get a feel for what look and style you want to go for.
Another question I get asked is about two tiered veils and should the top section be put over the brides face for walking down the aisle? My answer (and personal opinion) is no. As a wedding photographer I want to see your face as you walk down the aisle, and so does your husband to be. Personally, I think the whole veil over the face look is very dated. But as I always like to say, it is your choice.
Most veils are made from types of tulle, which is a light fabric. However, there are also full lace options, as well as organza and netting for birdcage styles as mentioned previously.
Now my favourite subject, photographing veils. I just love them! The movement, the way they catch the light and the wind, and the option to be able to incorporate them into photos. At one wedding at Lillibrooke Manor when Clare and Ben got married it was a beautiful sunny September day, but it was quite breezy. Clare’s veil took on a life if its own and it was amazing! During the confetti throw it went right over her face and danced all over the place. In true style Clare laughed it off and carried on. For the photos of the two of them together the veil also had lots of movement which I thought was great.
At Andrea and Matt’s wedding at Stanlake Park the veil was involved in a more meaningful Austrian tradition. Towards the end of the evening the brides’ mother removed her veil, before officially handing her over to her new husband. It was a beautiful and touching moment and I love that I learnt something new about a wedding tradition from a different country.
I will often get requests from brides to do a photograph where their veil is flung in the air and floats down. I am always happy to accommodate requests and for this shot you will need a bridesmaid on hand to be the thrower. So be sure to nominate someone active and quick! It might take a couple of attempts to get it perfect but it is totally worth it and very entertaining to see your bridesmaid fling the veil into air then quickly jump out of the shot.
One last piece of advice from me is storing the veil on the morning of a wedding. Nominate a bridesmaid or someone responsible to get it out and hang it up or lay it out in the morning. I have seen panic before at weddings when a veil has not been laid out and has got creased. A good piece of equipment to have for this is a steamer which works brilliantly for removing creases in veils as well as dresses if necessary.
I hope this blog has been of some interest or help if you are soon to be veil shopping or getting married. To finish off here are some of my favourite wedding photos involving veils.
If you would like to read in more detail about some of the weddings mentioned in this blog please see my other blog posts here.