Wedding veils are an essential part of any bridal look, adding a romantic, traditional and dreamy feel to the occasion. From short and sweet, to elegant and long-flowing, every veil offers its own unique style statement. With so many different lengths and styles to choose from though, it can be a little tricky trying to figure out which one is right for you! In this guide we’ll break down all the different wedding veil styles to help you to find the perfect veil to complete your bridal look!
Veil Length Names
If you’ve started your search for your dream veil, you may have noticed that names vary depending on the bridal store or designer. For example, some boutiques may use the term “Waist Length Veil” whilst another may say “Elbow Length”. Typically, shorter veils are named after where the veil will fall, for example, “Fingertip Veils” and “Waist Length Veils”. Longer wedding veils on the other hand are named after traditional wedding ceremony venues such as “Cathedral Veils” and “Chapel Veils”. The shape of these long veils is often rectangular or a mantilla-style triangle, giving them an elegant drape that creates striking silhouettes as they trail behind the bride, often trailing beyond the wedding dress train.
Wedding Veils By Length
We’ve touched upon length names but what do these terms really mean? Here you’ll find a quick summary explaining the differences between the most common wedding veil lengths, starting from the shortest through to the longest!
Starting with the shortest and super chic, birdcage veils are perfect for brides that want to add a vintage touch to their bridal attire or for the bride that wants to break away from tradition with an ultra retro look.
Rising in popularity during the 1940s, the name ‘birdcage’ originates from the way the fabric frames the face like an elegant cage – giving the bride a demure yet stylish appearance that screams glamor. Worn just above or over the eyes, this type of veil adds an air of mystery to any bridal look whilst creating an aura of sophistication.
Length: 4 – 9 inches
Shoulder Length Veils
A timeless classic, a shoulder length veil adds a romantic feel to any big day and is perfect for brides that want to show their gown off in all its glory whilst still embracing tradition. This type of veil is worn just below the shoulders and extends to the mid-back area and can be made from lace, tulle or even silk. Coupled with a stylish up-do, shoulder length veils create a stunning silhouette as they cascade gracefully over the shoulder. You can also adorn the veil with delicate pearls or crystals for some extra sparkle! Length: 20 – 22 inches
Elbow Length or Waist Length Veils
Elbow length veils, also known as “waist length veils” are an ideal choice for brides that want a short, manageable veil but still want to achieve the traditional bridal look.
This shorter style can make for a dainty and delicate addition to your bridal look whilst still adding a touch of elegance and romance to your special day. A waist length veil is especially beautiful when paired with gowns that have a lot of detail on the back, a full skirt or a very short train.
For the practical brides out there, elbow length veils are popular simply due to the fact that they don’t drag on the ground, making it easier for you to dance and move around freely. Length: 25 inches.
Fingertip Length Veils
One of the most popular veil lengths, fingertip veils are traditionally cut to reach just below the bride’s fingertips when standing straight with arms by her sides. In addition to cascading elegantly down the bride’s back, this type of veil typically features an elbow or shoulder-length blusher layer that drapes over the bride’s face during the ceremony, creating that timeless bridal look. For many, this style of veil is a dream come true – adding just enough drama and elegance without overshadowing their wedding dress.
Fingertip veils can look especially gorgeous when paired with mermaid or fishtail gowns as the veil ends just before the train kicks out.
Length: 42 inches
Waltz or Ballet Length Veils
Typically falling to the mid-calf, a waltz veil, sometimes called a “ballet veil”, is a perfect option for brides that want to wear a dreamy, long veil but also want to dance the night away with ease. With soft, flowing movements, the Waltz is one of the most romantic dances and the name definitely suits this veil style as the light, airy fabric adds a touch of grace and class as you walk down the aisle. Length: 60 inches
Floor Length or Full Length Veils
When it comes to wedding veils, the classic floor length veil is a timeless choice. Whether you choose a single or two tier design, create texture with lace, or opt for classic tulle, nothing says “I do” quite like a veil that falls to the ground.
Floor length veils typically match the length of your wedding dress and are perfect for brides who want a full length veil without the fuss of a train. Delicate, floaty and above all, elegant, full length veils create beautiful photo opportunities as the veil leaves the daintiest trailing edge behind you as you make your way down the aisle to meet your groom.
Falling elegantly between a waltz length veil and a chapel length veil, floor length veils can help you to achieve the traditional bridal look with manageable length and volume. Length: 78 inches
Chapel Length Veils
One of the most popular veil lengths is the stunning chapel veil. The difference between a full length veil and a chapel veil is that the veil sweeps across the floor, subtly extending your wedding dress train, whereas full length veils lightly skim the floor. Hugely versatile, chapel length veils look beautiful when paired with almost any style of wedding dress, from petite sheath gowns to traditional A line dresses with full skirts. Length: 96 inches
Cathedral Length Veils
The cathedral veil is the longest traditional wedding veil, reaching approximately 118 inches from the comb to the end of the fabric. Cascading down the back and flowing gracefully to the ground, cathedral veils are the ultimate statement piece, creating an ethereal bridal look. The dramatic silhouette creates an unforgettable entrance as you make your way to meet your groom with the delicate fabric filling the aisle; the perfect finishing touch for any blushing bride! Length: 118 inches
Royal Wedding Veils
We couldn’t talk about wedding veil lengths without mentioning the ultimate statement veil which is literally fit for a Queen or Princess. Royal length veils have been worn by many famous and royal brides throughout history from Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana, whose veil famously struggled to fit in her carriage at an impressive 153 yards, to Grace Kelly and even Kim Kardishian. At least 120 inches long, royal veils are sure to need some careful consideration when selecting your wedding venue, because of this they’re typically not that popular! Length: 120 – 144 inches
Wedding Veil Styles Explained!
What is a Single Tier Veil?
Single tier veils are formed from a single section of tulle, most commonly attached to a hair comb. Where the comb rests, the tulle is gathered before gently flowing down the bride’s shoulders, back and dress, depending on the length.
If you don’t want your veil to gather, you may prefer to opt for a mantilla veil. Rather than gathering at a fixed comb, mantilla veils are draped on the top of the bride’s head and shoulders a couple of inches back from the hairline and are secured with discreet hair pins.
The most important thing to remember about single tier wedding veils is that they do not have a blusher. This is a section of tulle which is traditionally placed over the bride’s face. Veils with blushers are commonly known as two tier veils because of the two separate sections.
Single tier wedding veils are available in a wide range of styles and lengths, with many featuring beautiful embellishments such as delicate pearls, ornate beading, intricate lace and edging.
What is a Two Tier Veil?
A two tier veil is a wedding veil that features a section of Italian tulle known as a blusher. The blusher is traditionally pulled over the face before the bride walks down the aisle, creating the classic bridal look. The longer layer of tulle, known as the veil ‘proper’, is left to gently flow down the bride’s hair, shoulders and back and down to the floor, depending on the chosen length.
Many modern brides choose to sweep the extra blusher layer back to create a stunning ‘waterfall’ effect as the sections of tulles cascade down the back of the dress creating texture and volume.
There is no right or wrong way to wear a two tier veil, it simply comes down to your own personal preference. However you choose to style your veil, the combination of the two layers will create an elegant, romantic silhouette that will make you feel like a queen on your special day!
Two Tier or Single Tier?
There’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing your wedding veil. If your dress has beautiful details such as delicate beading or intricate lace motifs cascading down the back, we’d recommend not covering this up under layers of tulle. Instead try choosing a single tier veil that complements the detail, a fingertip veil will help you to do just that by creating a gorgeous silhouette without hiding your dress.
If the detailing is at the front of your dress, then consider choosing a two tier veil with similar styled edging to frame your gown in all its glory.
Veil Edging Explained
Veil edging can be a beautiful way to add an extra touch of elegance to any bridal look. From fully laced edges which add drama to delicate, sheer cut edges, this small but special detail can elevate your look. With so many styles to choose from, here’s a quick summary of the most common edging options to help you to decide which style may be best for you
Delicate, light and airy, a cut edge veil is one of the most popular veil styles. Featuring simple, straight edges which are hand cut, as opposed to being left raw or scalloped, cut edge veils bring classic elegance without too much fuss or extravagance. Beautifully simple, cut edge veils complement any dress style.
Pencil Edge Veils
Pencil edge veils feature a fine sewn edge which runs around the whole of the veil, creating a very subtle definition. Understated and timeless, pencil edges are perfect for ensuring that the focus remains on the rest of your bridal ensemble.
Scalloped edge veils are similar to pencil edge veils, except the fine sewn edges are shaped into flowing scallops. The subtle curves add an eye catching element to any look – from minimalist and modern, to sparkly and romantic. One of the more romantic options, this type of edging creates a beautiful draping effect as it falls along the bride’s body. Scalloped veils work well in a variety of lengths, so you can choose one that fits your style perfectly!
Full Lace Edge Veils
A full lace edged veil is a luxurious and classic addition to any bridal look. As the name suggests, the edge of the veil is finished with intricate embroidery, adding a romantic and feminine touch. Whether fingertip, full length, chapel or cathedral, the addition of lace edging to soft tulle is a truly beautiful combination which will make for some gorgeous photo opportunities.
Semi Lace Edge Veils
Semi lace edged veils feature an embroidered lace trim which runs along the end of the veil, finishing typically at shoulder height, leaving the top of the veil lace free to frame the bride’s face. Semi lace edges are especially perfect for longer veils such as the floor length veils, chapel or the oh-so enchanting cathedral veil.
Veils with lace motifs typically feature gorgeous floral patterns that draw attention without overpowering your wedding dress. These feminine touches look especially beautiful when coupled with a cathedral or chapel length veil. The delicate lace patterns layered over a fine tulle fabric make for a true statement piece. Ornate motifs look especially gorgeous when coupled with a flowing scalloped edge.
Satin Edge Veils
Satin edge veils add an extra layer of glamor to any wedding dress and can also be customized with lace or pearls for added texture – perfect for capturing that Modern Bride look. Soft and luxurious, satin edges add elegance and sophistication, whether you’re looking for a traditional long flowing veil or something short and sweet.
When it comes to choosing your wedding veil, the color is just as important as the length! From classic white and ivory, to blush pinks, sparkling silver and even regal gold, there are now so many colors for the modern bride to choose from.
White and ivory veils are a classic choice – after all, these have been traditional bridal colors for centuries! For a subtle hint of color however, blush pink can add a hint of romance and femininity to your special day, whilst champagne, gold and rum hues create a timeless yet modern look that will stand out from the crowd.
For many brides, your veil color will be determined by the color of your wedding dress. If your dress is pure white, then accessorizing with a bright white veil is definitely the way forward. If your dress is an off-white or has any warm undertones, we’d recommend choosing an ivory or champagne coloured veil. This simply comes down to how the colors interact when photographed.
Don’t Forget the Embellishments!
When it comes to adorning your wedding veil, you have a world of possibilities at your fingertips. Make your look truly unique with a range of embellishments like pearls, glitter, crystals and more. For a timelessly romantic look, choose delicate pearls or intricate embroidery. Or go all glitz and glamor with crystals, glitter, or sequins. If you’d rather keep it simple, you can opt for clean lines and a minimalistic look with a few subtle embellishments here and there. Whatever you choose, you’ll be sure to turn heads as you walk down the aisle!
We hope this guide has helped you to take a step closer to choosing a wedding veil that you will truly fall in love with ahead of your special day.