The Spell of the Veil

Illustration by
Elaina Adams

  It’s a common phrase you’ll hear in almost every episode of Say Yes to the Dress… “Let’s jack her up!”, and although I personally find the combination of words extremely cringeworthy, they ain’t lying about what they’re about to do. Specifically, placing the perfect veil with the dress of your dreams is going to turn on the waterworks for most bridal parties. What they are planning to “jack up” is your emotions, sis! 

There is a pivotal moment in a bridal consultation when a bride is loving her gown, and you get the opportunity to bring her an amazing veil. I’m not sure if there’s witchcraft behind it, but every person who’s witnessed it will tell you that there’s magic in it. In an instant the person  standing in the mirror goes from someone wearing a gorgeous dress to *gasp* a bride  when you place that crown adorning layer of fabric.

 It could be edged in beading or soft lace, it may go down to her finger tips or well beyond the train, it might fall over just her neck and back or drape over her face, but something changes in the moment you place it. Typically this is where we have a big pause as the bride looks deep into the mirror before whispering something that sounds like “I’m getting married” or “I’m going to be someone’s wife.” 

The veil is where it all becomes a reality, and we have to pass around the tissues for mom and grandma who suddenly see their baby as a bride. It’s truly special, and it’s probably my most favorite part of a consultation- not only because I am fabulous at choosing the perfect veil, but because it seems to hold so much emotional weight, and I get to witness raw human feelings first hand (yes, I’m a romantic). 

It’s important to know the types of veils that are widely available so that you understand the options once you’ve found your dress. I have had a few brides that have a very specific idea of their veil before they know what they want in a gown, and it truly complicates the process because we have to work backwards (not that I’m not up for the challenge). It is a much more natural process to find the gown you love and then look at veils and accessories that compliment the dress. 

Veil Lengths 

Birdcage- Often styled with short hair or hair completely up, this veil has a dramatic and vintage flair! Is typically worn for the duration of the event, as placement is exact and requires pinning. 

Elbow- Hits right at…yeah, the elbow. Great for a short or tea length style!

Fingertip- Our most frequently chosen length, hits your fingertips with your arms down to your side. Will not obscure the view or the back of the gown and comes just under your most valuable asset (iykwim). 

Ballet- falls just at the knee- this style looks best when the train edge and veil edge match!

Waltz- hits right at ankle height. Like the ballet, a complimentary edge is must!

Floor- Should just graze the floor just like the front hem of your gown. 

Chapel- will pool on the ground and trail behind you about a foot or so. 

Cathedral- Our second most common choice of brides brings the drama with about a four-foot trail. 

Royal- Princess Diana vibes, this style refers to anything longer than 140 inches. 

Veil Terminology 

Mantilla- A traditional Spanish-style veil that lays flat on your head (think Mary, the mother of Jesus but with Lace or beading around the face) See our masquerade shoot in this episode for a visual! 

Blusher- The name for the part of a veil over the face that a groom lifts to kiss his bride. (Ladies, this does not work well with beaded hair accessories, as it’s easy to get tangled).

Juliet Cap- A veil that had a “cap” on it that fits your head much like a hat! (Downton Abbey vibes). 

Flower Crown- A laurel of flowers that fits your head like a halo. Can be combined with a veil or worn alone!

When in doubt or if needing veil recommendations, ask your bridal consultant (that goes for all things wedding-fashion).  We understand how important this aspect of bridal wardrobe is and if your associate is anything like me, they had visions of the perfect veil flash before their eyes when you tried on “THE DRESS.” Please understand that if we cry a little with mom and grandma, it’s because we are under the spell of the veil too. There’s power in that delicate piece of fabric!

Kassy Lauer of Rose & Bliss