How to Pick a Veil
By Natalie T.
December 24, 2011
After Kate Middleton wore a lovely sheer cathedral-length veil, veils have once again become the rage. While I love the short bird cage veils that remind me of posh English ladies and vintage, longer veils and their Disney princess implications have a special place in my heart.
If your dress is highly decorated, wear a plain veil. A simple dress, however, can take either a plain or an ornate veil. Any ornamentation on the veil, such as flowers or crystals, should start below where your dress ornamentation ends. Decoration on a cathedral veil, for example, should cover only the bottom third. Crystals reflect light and usually photograph better than rhinestone, which can look like black dots. Ribbon trim may look better than unfinished tulle, but depending on the length of your veil, a ribbon could create a horizontal line across your middle, effectively stopping the eye and making you look shorter.
If you're short, a super poufy veil can make you look like a mushroom and is not very flattering. Many women are opting for narrow-cut veils, which create a vertical line. Examine a veil from all angles, preferably while you're trying on your dress. Remember, your head is not flat. One that suits you from the back may not flatter your face or vice versa.
If you want to convert your mother or grandmother's wedding dress into a veil, avoid making the mistake of trying to dye an antique veil. Its appeal lies in its uniqueness and should not match the dress exactly. Likewise, on a new veil, the seed pearls, embroidery, or other adornments don't need to match those on your dress. All the elements should merely complement each other.
Here is a list of several different kinds of veils.
An angel veil is a long, straight veil cut wide at the sides like angel wings.
A ballerina veil ends just above the floor. It is sometimes called the waltz.
The blusher is the shortest veil and only covers the face. It is a good choice for a tea-length dress and is usually combined with another veil or attached to a hat or hair ornament.
The butterfly veil is oval-shaped and folded in half. Ribbon edging follows a crescent shape rather than a straight line.
The chapel veil is a yard shorter than a cathedral veil. Often worn with a sweep train to give the illusion of a longer train.
A cathedral-length veil reaches the floor. This is a very formal veil. In many cases, it is possible to make it shorter for the wedding reception.
An elbow length veil falls to the wearer's elbow. This waist-length veil works well to cover the bride's back. It is a nice, less formal length for a ballgown-style dress for which the waist is very defined.
A fingertip-length veil falls to the end of the bride's middle finger. This is the second longest length of veil. It works well with A-line style dresses because it continues the line of the dress.
A flyaway veil touches or just covers shoulders. Sometimes called a Madonna veil.
A Mantilla veil is a long, Spanish-style, circular piece of lace that frames the face. Can be attached to a high metal armature and is usually secured with a comb. The fabric is either lace or lace-edged tulle. Sew clear plastic snaps on both your mantilla and the shoulders of your dress to keep the fabric draped gracefully.