Wedding Fashion

Veils unveiled: your guide to choosing the right one


It might be nothing more than a slip of tulle, but a veil can completely transform your wedding look.

A wedding veil is pretty much as traditional as you can get when it comes to bridal accessories, but it’s origins are somewhat of a mystery. It’s thought that the veil predates the wedding dress by centuries. Some say it goes back to the days when a groom would capture the woman of his choice and carry her off – with a blanket thrown over her head. Another explanation is that supposedly, back in the day when arranged marriages were all the rage, the bride’s face was covered right until the last minute, so it would be too late for the groom to run off if he didn’t like the look of her! Quite frankly, we’re not sure which of these is worse.

Thankfully, these days the veil is merely an embellishment to the gown, enhancing – rather than hiding – the face. So how do you choose the right one? When shopping for your veil, the three most important considerations are: height, the detailing on your dress and its length.

If you’re tall, try a fingertip- or waltz-length veil, or go for elbow-length if you’re petite. This will also allow any detailing on the back of your dress to show – just make sure it ends either just above or just below where your bodice begins, or it will visually cut you in half. Similarly, if your veil has any detailing make sure it begins below ornamentation on your dress, otherwise they’ll clash.

Another consideration is the style of your wedding. A blusher or elbow-length veil will work for an informal affair, while an elbow, fingertip, flyaway, waterfall or waltz-length veil will suit a semi-formal event. For a very formal wedding, choose a long cathedral veil that sweeps the floor, or perhaps a sweep, triple-tier or chapel-length veil that extends to the floor. Finally, the shape of your face should also come into play. Square or prominent faces often suit a longer veil, while one that falls straight down is great for a round face. Heart-shaped face? Try a veil that falls behind the neck. A waterfall or double tier design can add width to an oblong face, while oval faces suit pretty much any style.


Ocean View Events by NBSLC


How to wear your veil

Quick tips:

  • Veils with extra gathers are best worn forward on the head, giving extra height to the bride
  • Veils with no gathers are best worn towards the back of the head
  • Veils with normal gathers can be worn either forward or back


Evernew Studios

So what are the different styles of veil, and which one is right for you?



A short, single layer worn over the face, then lifted back over the head during the ceremony. If not worn over the face it can be used as another layer.
Best for: Dresses of any style at semi-formal and formal weddings.


A very formal and dramatic veil that trails about 5cm beyond the train.
Best for: very formal full-skirted wedding dresses – with a cathedral train and blusher veil – at very formal affairs.


A veil that extends to the floor about 10cm beyond the back of your dress;
may have multiple layers or a blusher veil.
Best for: formal, full-skirted wedding dresses with no train or with chapel or short train, at formal weddings.


A veil of two layers, usually of different lengths (either two veils, or a veil and blusher).
Best for: Works well with most gowns.


Extends to the bride’s elbow. May also be paired with longer layers.
Best for: Short or slimming wedding dresses at informal, daytime affairs.


The most versatile style of veil; it reaches fingertips when arms are relaxed.
Best for: Wedding dresses of any silhouette (especially popular with ball gowns), at semi-formal or formal affairs.


A multi-layered veil that just brushes the shoulders and gives a clear view of the back of the wedding dress.
Best for: Ankle-length gowns worn at less-formal affairs.


A veil that sweeps the ground.
Best for: Full-skirted wedding dresses at formal and very formal weddings.


A veil of three layers (usually of varying lengths), one of which may be the blusher.
Best for: Formal, floor-length wedding dresses.


A veil that falls to somewhere between the knee and ankle.
Best for: Ankle-length wedding dresses worn at semi-formal affairs.


A shoulder- or elbow-length veil gathered at the crown of the head that cascades around the face to form a ‘fountain’ shape.
Best for: Sheaths worn at semi-formal weddings.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login