Have you ever asked yourself why people put themselves through all the stress of planning a wedding? This blog takes a look at wedding traditions and a deeper look at how they started. Some might give you a laugh as you jump your own wedding planning hurdles. We will also share unique twists on old traditions to make them new.
Welcome to the history of Wedding Traditions and Origins and all things wedding.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Bridal Veil History
Princess Beatrice in her wedding dress, Osborne, 1885
When you stop and think about all the wedding related
trappings, have you ever asked why? Many traditions associated with wedding
practice and apparel go back to superstitions, and when it comes to the bridal veil it is no
Bridal veil history can be traced back to Rome. This custom
of veiling the bride was originally meant to disguise her from evil spirits as
she walked down the aisle. Why would evil spirits even care about the bride? It
was thought that they would be jealous of her happiness. So the original
purpose of the bridal veil was to protect the bride who was thought to be
vulnerable to enchantment.
The original color of bridal veils was flame red. So the
veil according to the belief system of that culture, not only hid the bride
from the evil spirits, but the color of the veil was thought to actually scare
This explains why traditionally the bride wears her wedding
veil over her face. Over time, of course beliefs changed and new meanings were
attached to the veil. Today some brides have the groom lift their veil; others
have their father lift the veil when he gives
away his daughter, and still others go through the entire ceremony with
their face covered until the father lifts the veil so the groom can kiss his
new wife. In today's wedding tradition brides can feel free to walk the aisle
with their veil drawn back, or not to even wear a veil at all.
Some suggest that back in the days of arranged marriages the
veil hid the face of the bride from the groom until they were married in case
he didn't like how his bride looked. This way everyone would be saved the embarrassment
of the groom's disappointment.
Beyond the evil spirit superstitions, veils were also
considered a sign of humility and respect for God. However, during Victorian
times, it became just the opposite. It became a status symbol, with the weight,
length and quality of the veil a sign of the bride's status. Back then, Royal
brides had the longest veils. Even in modern times I remember Princess Diana's
wedding veil was as long as the train of her dress.
Today, brides walk the aisle without worrying about evil
spirits, and grooms already know what their brides look like, so today the
bridal veil tradition is more of a finishing touch to the bride's ensemble for
those who choose to wear them. However, many cultures never embraced the
wedding veil tradition.