When it comes to wedding planning there are only a couple “rules” that I highly advise brides to stick to (even though I hate rules). The first and most important one is to wait until you book your wedding venue to make a final decision on your wedding dress. And the second is to wait until you buy your wedding dress to decide on a wedding veil.
Unless you have an heirloom wedding veil that you know you’re going to wear and want to select a wedding dress based around that, then you should absolutely, definitely, positively wait to buy a wedding veil until that wedding dress receipt is in your hand. That’s because your wedding dress will–without a doubt–dictate the style of wedding veil you select. Which is where we come in! Once you find your dream wedding dress, you should know a) the type of wedding veils out there and b) which ones will work best with your wedding dress. So, here’s the lowdown on all things wedding veils!
While most wedding veils are made of tulle, it gets a bit more specific than that. When it comes to wedding veil fabric, there are several kinds you should know about:
Bridal Illusion: This diamond pattern tulle is made of 100% nylon and is THE most common fabric used for wedding veils. A good quality Bridal Illusion wedding veil will have fine netting and be relatively soft to the touch and not scratchy. It can also include variations (such as Swiss Dot, which is made of Bridal Illusion with small dots featured throughout the material) or Glimmer Illusion (which has a slight sheen).
English Tulle (also called English Netting): This is typically made of cotton and is less sheer than Bridal Illusion with more draping. It has a hexagonal pattern vs. a diamond.
Silk Tulle: If you’re looking for luxury, this is the top of the line when it comes to wedding veil fabrics (aka it’s usually really expensive). There are several silk tulle options available that vary in price, such as French Silk Tulle (which will have a very soft texture), Italian Silk Tulle, and a Silk Blend. This has a hexagonal pattern like the English Tulle but drapes even more.
You can see the difference in the three fabric types, below. BTW other fabrics that are less popular for wedding veils include organza and chiffon, just so you know.
In terms of colors you will typically be able to choose from White, Diamond White, and Ivory (though some brands have a lot of other options). Wedding veil shops recommend going with a White veil if your gown is labeled “white” and is not made from silk (note that Silk Tulle is never available in pure White). However, if you’re looking for something softer and your gown is not pure white, you should opt for Diamond White, which is generally the most popular wedding veil color.
I like this color illustration from Classic Veils, below.
There are SO many wedding veil styles to choose from, the majority of which are below. It definitely helps to know the terminology of each (and to see photos of them), so you can figure out which styles you like and which ones you’re so-so about. Here are the most common wedding veil styles and a few examples of what you can wear them with. For a primer on wedding dress styles, click here.
Typically made of french netting, these vintage-inspired wedding veils cover the eyes and stop above or just at the chin.
Wear with: Slimline and/or short wedding dresses.
A blusher covers the face and usually stops at the shoulders. It can be worn alone or alongside a longer veil. It’s what the father of the bride or groom lifts up in all your favorite movie wedding scenes. 🙂
Wear with: More slimline dresses if wearing alone, or can be worn in addition to a longer veil with other styles.Wedding dress styles that lend themselves well to blushers include Mermaid and Trumpet.
This usually has tiers (such it has more volume) and hits just at or below the shoulders.
Wear with: Tea-length and shorter wedding dresses.
This veil will fall just at or below your shoulders.
Wear with: These can work beautifully with vintage-inspired, bohemian wedding dresses as well as tea-length wedding dresses.
These wedding veils will hit just below your elbows or at your waistline.
Wear with: Pretty much any wedding dress style (these would be perfect for a beach wedding, too!)
Juliet Cap Veil
How do I love these? Let me count the ways! This veil has a close-fitting cap often detailed with lace and/or jewels.
Wear with: Bohemian-chic wedding dresses are a must for this style!
This veil comes right to your fingertips. Clever name, huh? Lol. If you liked Kate Middleton’s wedding veil this was her length, too!
Wear with: Longer wedding dresses of pretty much any style.
Waltz Veil (also referred to as Ballet-length)
Coming below the fingertips but without touching the ground (they usually hit right around the knees), these give the illusion of a longer veil without the hassle.
Wear with: Long or tiered wedding dresses with lovely details on the bottom.
These come to the floor and usually extend slightly past a wedding dress train at 90 yards. One thing to note is that the longer veil styles (Chapel and Cathedral as well as some of the mid-length ones) can have a blusher added to them OR can be multi-tiered to give you the same effect (and to let you pull the shorter piece over your face during the ceremony JUST like a blusher does as well, but without all the volume).
Wear with: Long wedding dresses with or without a train. FYI the train should not come past the chapel veil.
The mother of all wedding veils, these make a dramatic statement and are usually 108 yards. Keep in mind that cathedral trains are definitely a lot of work, since they are LOOOOONG and cannot be bustled (but they are well worth it if you do wear one!).
Wear with: Long wedding dresses, especially those with a statement back and/or long train.
Aren’t these beautiful? A Mantilla veil come in a variety of lengths but are most often seen in Fingertip, Waltz, Chapel, and Cathedral lengths. They are pinned to the brides hair with a comb (usually higher up) and draped alongside her shoulders (the Spanish translation is “little cloak.”)
Wear with: Long, vintage-inspired wedding dresses.
Where to Shop
Now that you know what kind of wedding veil you want to get, where do you actually buy one (and how much should you spend?)
First you should know that wedding veils can cost anywhere between $20 (if you DIY it) to over $600 depending on the detail involved. If you’re looking to save a few hundred dollars, I think the wedding veil is one of those budget items that you can definitely trim, especially if you’re like me and only plan on wearing it during your wedding ceremony and in your wedding photos (though those are typically my favorite ones). If you have to have an elaborate wedding veil but are worried it will push your budget over-the-top, consider buying a used wedding veil (which I’ll talk more about below). Otherwise, there are several other options…
If you’re into one-stop shopping, you can definitely peruse the selection at your wedding dress store. That’s where I found mine…not because I fell in love with it, but because the sales woman put it on me, I thought it looked good, I was tired of shopping…and that meant I was done! And I wouldn’t have gone back and done it any other way. But if you DO have a particular style in mind and don’t want to trek from store to store looking for one, I would definitely recommend browsing these online spots, below.
They have a great selection of vintage and handmade wedding veils for ALL budgets.
Gorgeous wedding veils and swatches available to try before you buy.
While they specialize more in hair accessories, they do have several wedding veils that are definitely worth checking out!
You can score a bargain here, just be as careful as you would buying a wedding dress online, and check out the seller’s reviews and past sales.
I would personally be much more inclined to wear a used veil than a used wedding dress purely because they’re one size fits all (for the most part).
Do you have your wedding veil picked out yet? What’s your favorite style?