Choosing Your Bridal Veil

Picking the proper bridal veil for your wedding is as important to a bride's look as picking the proper dress. The veil is the crowning touch and the icing on the cake. Like any accessory, it should never overwhelm and should always act as the perfect complement.

The main veil components you'll need to decide on are material, color, length and style. For the most attractive match, your veil choices should always be based on your wedding dress and body type.

Material
Wedding veils are usually made with some sort of tulle, a light and netted material. This stiff and usually semi-sheer fabric makes perfect veil material since it's easy to shape and decorate.

You're not restricted to only tulle for a wedding veil, though. The tulle can be matched or replaced with lace, chiffon or organza. It can be decorated with lace, chiffon, organza, silk, satin, beading, embroidery or any other item desired.

Color
Your veil color should always match or appear lighter than your wedding dress color, without exception. Dark veils look unbalanced and sorrowful. Light veils look balanced, bright and flattering.

The color doesn't always have to be obvious, and an almost sheer veil can look good with a dress in any tone. If you do need a little color, stay away from beige and taupe. Stick with white, eggshell, ivory or cream.

Length
There is no end to the assorted lengths available for your veil. Even if a veil is the wrong length, they're usually easy to pull up, trim or add a longer layer. As a general rule, the longer the veil, the more formal the dress style should be.

Remember that a veil should never cover the main focal point of your dress. If you have an elaborately decorated back, then use a short veil to show it off. If you want to draw attention to the gown's waist, then choose a veil that ends right before or right after the waist. Here is a list of veil lengths and tips for each one:

Blusher. A blusher is a short veil that barely reaches the shoulders. It is usually used as the veil covering the bride's face as she walks down the aisle. It can be used alone or paired with any assortment of longer veils.

Bust Length. Bust-length veils are a popular choice for brides who want something a little bit feminine, but still rather simple. They can be used instead of a blusher as the part covering the bride's face, or paired with a blusher as the back part of the veil.

Waist Length. A waist-length veil should end right before or right after your waist, but never at the exact same point as your waist. By framing the waist instead of cutting it, the style is usually flattering to any bride.

Fingertip Length. Fingertip length veils can be used to help flatter and accentuate the waist. They are the longest veil length that petite women should wear, since anything more will appear overwhelming.

Floor and Chapel Length. Floor-length veils should hang just above the actual floor, which allows for a royal style without the hindrance of something dragging on the ground. These veils should be worn only with a longer gown that's at least semi-formal. If the veil drags a little onto the ground, it's considered Chapel length.

Cathedral and Grand Cathedral Length. Cathedral length veils are long, often decorated veils that trail a few feet behind the bride. Grand Cathedral length veils are very long and fancy crowning touches that trail up to 15 feet behind the bride. These veils almost always need to be carried by someone walking behind the bride, and they can be a little awkward, not to mention heavy.

Headpiece
Veils can go from crisp and tailored to soft and flowing. Your choice of style will mostly be determined by your dress and the item you use to attach the veil to your head, known as the headpiece, the types of which are described below:

Bridal Comb and Barrette. If you want a simple and shorter veil, a bridal comb or barrette works wonderfully for a base. Women with extremely short haircuts will have problems getting the comb/barrette to stay, though, and they should pair it with a crown or headband base.

You'll need a little length to wear your hair up, or at least up in the front, for the comb/barrette to work alone. As long as the base holds, the style appears elegant and understated.

Bridal Halo and Crown. Bridal halos and crowns are similar, and both consist of a decorated ring worn on the head. Halos tend to have decorations scattered evenly across the entire piece, whereas crowns usually keep the more elaborate decorations at the front. The bases can work with short or long veils, and they also look lovely without any veil.

Bridal Tiara. Bridal tiaras are similar to crowns, with one big difference. Tiaras should be metal, and consist of a thin, undecorated band. The front of the band should be decorated with glittering stones in lacelike settings. A tiara makes every bride, no matter her hairstyle, look like a blue-blooded princess.

Bridal Headband. Bridal headbands are the thin bases that go over the head from one ear to another. They can be as thick or as thin as desired, and they work for short or simple hairstyles. Any fancy upswept hairstyles may need to be altered to fit the headband, though. Because of their stability, bridal headbands are particularly good for longer and heavier veils.

Finishing Touches
Once the headpiece and veil are decided, it's possible to add any style of decoration. Go with real flowers, fake flowers, beads, sequins, ribbons or whatever you desire, just as long as it all matches the dress. Ideally, the veil should also match the bridal bouquet, especially if they both contain flowers.

You'll also need to decide the exact way you want the veil to gather around the headpiece. This will already be partly determined by the veil length and headpiece style chosen, since the smaller the base, the more gathered the veil would need to be.

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