Did you know that the wedding veil is the oldest part of a bridal ensemble? This tradition predates some of the most rigid ones still in use day, including not seeing the bride ahead of time and wearing white. Veils have played a significant role in weddings throughout history. Today, brides may not buy into the folklore behind them, but there is no denying that a veil is what makes any white dress a wedding dress. Some of our wedding photographers’ favorite shots include the bride’s wedding veil! Let’s take a look at how this tradition started, and why it’s still practiced today.
Wedding veils can be dated as far back as Greek and Roman times. They were thought to hide the bride from evil spirits that might be jealous and try to thwart her happiness. The veil was also used to hide the bride’s face, playing into the other tradition about the groom not seeing the bride on the big day.
Veils went out of fashion by the 17th and 18th century, especially in Britain and North America. However, they surged back into style when Queen Victoria, who is also credited for the popularity of the white wedding dress, wore one when she wed Prince Albert. Interestingly, the veil wasn’t commonly worn over the bride’s face until the second half of the 19th century.
The meaning of a veil varies from culture to culture and has changed throughout times. In ancient times it was used to shield and scare away spirits. When religious wedding ceremonies became popular in Western culture, the veil then became a symbol of modesty before God. It also represented obedience, and the white color represented chastity.
After the revival of the veil during the Victorian era, the veil became a status symbol. The weight, length, and quality of the veil were meant to indicate the bride’s social status.
These days, many brides continue the tradition of wearing veils. In Judaism and Christianity today, the veil continues to hold religious meaning. For most brides though, the veil is simply a fashion accessory. It’s often the only chance a bride ever has to wear a veil. Many brides also feel that a veil is what cements the wedding day look.
Regardless of why brides carry on this tradition, it’s one of our wedding photographer’s favorites. The veil is an amazing prop for wedding photos and frames the bride’s face in such a lovely way. If you’re not a fan of the veil, don’t worry! There are tons of other options these days, from tiaras to ribbons. As long as the bride feels beautiful on her special day, that’s all that matters!