Veils: why do we wear them? What do they mean? When did they become a thing for every bride to wear?

Bridal fashion changes, trends come and go but veils are something very stable in the history of the wedding. They appear in different cultures at different times with different purposes. While one with a cathedral-length will make you look like a princess and you will receive those fabulous photos, you don’t have an obligation to wear it if you don’t want to.

Below Milla Nova’s team shares all the details about the tradition of wearing a veil for every bride-to-be be armed with facts whether to choose wearing a veil or not.

Collection: Simply Milla

Veil means different things in different faiths

One of the nice veil tradition and the one nice tradition at all is in the Jewish faith. The veil there is an act of groom marrying the bride not because of how she looks. Groom is literally telling that his bride is loved so much and that he would marry her even if he can’t see her face.

Brides wore veils so that they couldn’t run away

Under the weight of veils, the bride couldn’t run away if they were terrified with whom they needed to get married. The longer and heavier they were, the bigger possibility bride won’t escape from the marriage she is arranged to.

The veil was a symbol of virginity

The white wedding dress didn’t come to the scene until the mid-18th century when Queen Victoria made the colour fashionable to represent purity.

However, the veil has been around much longer. Changed back as a symbol of modesty, the veil has played a part in religious ceremonies around the world, such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. As wedding ceremonies have historically been closely associated with religious events, the veil has become a personification of innocence and obedience.

Bride’s veil was a sign of the ownership

Through the ages, tradition has stated that the father of the bride covers her face with a veil in order to ‘present’ her to her new husband.

Once they’re about to get married, the husband can then lift the veil, what symbolizes his new ownership of his bride.

This can easily be interpreted as ‘whoever unwraps a gift is an owner’, right?

Veils had to hide the bride’s face

Wedding veils started being a thing in Roman times when brides were covered from head to toe in a massive red veil called ‘flammeum’. Why? Because Romans were scared of evil spirits popping into the ceremony to curse the couple. They thought that making it look like the bride was on fire would scare them off.

This belief eventually progressed into using the veil to confuse spirits as by covering up the bride’s face, the spirit wouldn’t be able to make their attack as they wouldn’t be sure who the bride actually was.

Apart from the theory about spirit confusion, there was another reason for veils being used to hide the bride’s identity. But this time, she wasn’t being protected as a bride but she was trying to keep her face a secret from her groom.

In early weddings when marriages were arranged entirely through fathers, with the bride given away in exchange for money and goods, dads giving away their daughters wanted to hide their face until the last possible minute, so that a less attractive bride wouldn’t spoil the agreement.

So you decide to wear a veil for your wedding.
How to choose it?

The main purpose of wearing a wedding veil is to create mystery drama effect, so make sure yours is well anchored into your head so it doesn’t fall off during the ceremony. Remember that it doesn’t have to look perfect: The point of a veil is that it floats behind you as you move.

When selecting a length of a veil, base it on the vibe you’re going for. Longer veils are more dramatic and elegant. Shorter veils look fresher and give your look easiness.

Another detail to consider is the blusher or the shorter piece of a veil that’s typically worn over the front of the bride’s face as she walks down the aisle. Many brides today choose not to wear a blusher, but you certainly can if you want even more traditional look.

What are other options besides a veil?

If you don’t want to wear a veil you still can make your look be more special for the wedding dress. You can take a piece of fabric that is not part of a dress and put in on the back of your gown which can easily be detached at the shoulders. A long train, a special headpiece or even a cape, which are so on in 2020, are all ways to make your ceremony look different too.