The bridal veil is a common symbol of most any western society today and is even well known in non western societies (thanks, in part, to Hollywood, no doubt). There are many accounts of the historical use and reasons for wearing bridal veils. Some traditions tell of making brides wear veils so that her husband would not be killed for her beauty or that a woman should wear a veil to be protected against evil spirits. Others indicate that during the time of arranged marriages, a groom was not to see his betrothed’s face uncovered until after the wedding ceremony for fear that he would back out of his agreement with the bride’s father. Remembering that weddings were essentially business deals that ensured appropriate roles and work for all in certain societies puts this in light.
Fortunately in modern day western cultures, none of the above are today’s reasons for the popularity of bridal veils. Rather they are still commonly worn and featured at weddings partially out of tradition and respect for tradition but also out of choice and as respect for the elegance and beauty that they add to a bride and her wedding day.
Today’s modern bride can choose virtually any style of veil or headwear that she likes. Perhaps one bride likes a mantilla style veil, another very petite bride with short hear wishes to have a shoulder length veil and another taller bride with an elaborate gown may opt for a full cathedral length and style veil. All are equally lovely and well received and all of these also offer variations such as the blushed or combination veils. The first of these bridal veils, known as blushed, can be in any style or length and simply indicate that the top portion, up to approximately eighteen inches, falls forward to cover the bride’s face. This part is, of course, pulled back when the groom kisses the bride. The combination veils is one that is typically very long and requires training when walking down the aisle but then the long portion can be removed leaving a short veil that can remain on the bride’s head during the reception. Many brides really like this option as they get “the best of both worlds” insofar as they can enjoy the traditional nature of a long veil with the practical side of having a short veil that is able to still be worn while dancing and visiting around the reception hall.
There is no doubt about it that today’s brides are reaping the benefits of many centuries of tradition and change in the world of bridal veils.