While some look at the bridal veil as a simple fashion accessory, choosing the right veil takes some consideration. For instance, if you’re choosing a beach venue, you certainly don’t want a long veil dragging behind you to get snagged on the boardwalk when you make your dramatic entrance. Along these lines, you also need to consider the hairstyle you have planned, and you want it to complement your dress.
In the past I’ve written about the history of the bridal veil from ancient times that includes the Greeks thinking the veil protected from evil spirits, and how in Medieval times brides sported the veil as a symbol of purity. Today some brides choose to go without the veil, and modern brides aren’t thinking about evil spirits or even what the veil represents, unless they are trying to find a bridal veil to fit the theme of their wedding.
Today, we’ll look at the history of bridal veil styles from the 1900s. While I mention trends of the day, remember that many brides still chose to go with a more traditional veil rather than follow a craze when it came to their wedding day.
For those planning a Roaring 20s or Great Gatsby themed wedding, the bridal fashion of the time was most often designed using silk and decorated with flowers and leaves matching the flowers in the bridal bouquet. Cloche veils were very popular. Other common styles included headband veils or veils crafted from lace or silk worn over the head and shoulders.
In the 30s, brides wore tight fitting dresses and loosely-fitting veils which hung over their heads.
During the war years, rationing played a role even when it came to weddings. It wasn’t unusual for the same wedding dress and veil to make the rounds − worn by multiple brides. In the post-war years of the 1940s, small, birdcage veils became popular, which is currently a reemerging fashion trend.
In the 1950s, traditional veils gave way to the tight-fitting skullcap veil.
Bridal veils took on a more modern flare in the 60s. They tended to be shorter, some shoulder length or perhaps reaching about midway down the back. Instead of lace, they were often fashioned out of netting and fastened to a decorative headpiece secured with a comb.
For readers who were alive at the time, things were big in the 80s. We had big hair, and big shoulder-pads. Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married and the event was a media sensation with more than 750 million people from around the world tuning in to the first televised royal wedding. Her extravagant silk-and-taffeta gown was full, lavish, and what I’d call cinderellaish. But her veil! It was 40 feet long! I’ll never forget watching her and feeling that fairytales do come true as she entered St. Paul’s cathedral. I don’t know if she was the single catalyst for long veils, but it certainly was the trend in the 80s.
In the 90s, brides wore big puffy sleeves and dresses decorated with heavy bead work. It was also a time when some brides decided to go without the veil altogether and in its place they wore a headpiece or hat.
The wedding veil tradition started back when veils were a commonplace fashion accessory. Today, veils may be “old fashioned” but many brides feel it a necessary adornment on that special day. From among the trends of the past, if you look, you may you find inspiration to create your own look on your wedding day.