The History of the Wedding Veil

The history of the wedding veil… Do you know why a bride wears one?  I wore one, and most of my generation did.  It was important to my mother, and well, important to me too.  There is something so symbolic about your new husband raising that veil and placing a chaste kiss upon your lips.

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But..why is it done?  According to Wikipedia, “The lifting of the veil was often a part of ancient weddingritual, symbolizing the groom taking possession of the wife, either as lover or as property, or the revelation of the bride by her parents to the groom for his approval. In Judaism, the tradition of wearing a veil dates back to biblical times.” Wikipedia

Today’s bride may choose to wear some sort of headpiece, but not a veil, like the photo above.  And even if she chooses to wear a veil, it often doesn’t cover her face. Another source tells us:

“The veil and the bouquet that a bride carries may predate the wearing of white. Although there is no definitive reason for the wearing of a veil, many surmise it has to do with ancient Greeks and Romans’ fear of evil spirits and demons. In fact, this is where many of the bridal traditions actually come from, including bridesmaids wearing similar dresses in order to serve as decoys for the bride. In an effort to frighten away or disguise the bride from evil spirits, brides-to-be were dressed in brightly colored fabrics like red and obscured by a veil. But in many cases, the veil prevented the bride from seeing well. That is why her father or another person “gave her away.” He was actually escorting her down the aisle so she wouldn’t bump or trip into anything. The veil also served as a method of shielding the bride’s face from her future husband, especially in the cases of arranged marriages.

Superstition has it that it is bad luck for the groom to see the bride prior to the wedding. A veil hiding her face also ensured that the groom would not see his soon-to-be-betrothed up until the ceremony.

Eventually the meaning behind the veil transformed as weddings evolved into religious ceremonies. The veil came to symbolize modesty and obedience. In many religions it is seen as a symbol of reverence for women to cover their heads. When white wedding dresses were worn to symbolize chastity, the white veil followed suit.

Regardless of the origins, veils continue to be sported by today’s brides, who choose from a few different styles. A flyaway is a short veil that ends at the shoulders, while a sweep veil ends at the floor. Chapel and cathedral veils follow the bride at a significant length (nine and 12 feet, respectively). A blusher is a very short veil that covers just the bride’s face as she enters the ceremony. With a fingertip veil, the veil reaches the bride’s waist and brushes at her fingertips.

The veil should coordinate with the style of the gown, and many wedding attire consultants suggest choosing the gown prior to the headpiece and veil.”  Richmond.com

 Please enjoy viewing two iconic wedding veils below.
 gracekelly-wedding-veil-39
bellethemagazine.com – Princess Grace of Monaco (the former US actress, Grace Kelly)
jacqueline-kennedy-juliet-cap-veil-1953
 chicvintagebrides.com Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy
And what about the next two veils/headpieces?  Well I think they’re a perfect example of an accessory, not traditional bridal garb.  Beautiful, yes, classic…no.
il_340x270-789353992_9ouk
 020-1920s-vintage-unique-sophisticated-chic-wedding-birdcage-headpiece-veil
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