Wedding veils – Complete List of Options and how to wear them

I get it – with so much focus and effort going into your wedding dress, your veil could become an unintentional afterthought (no judgment here!). Unless you will be wearing something passed down through your family or possibly borrowed from your best friend, a veil can sometimes be looked at as an insignificant piece of fabric that is only worn for a ceremony entrance or during picture time. Well, unless you’ve decided a veil is a definite no-no for you, I am here to breakdown all the many different options you have and to highlight why it can be much more than just a traditional wedding element. And yep, I said many different options – probably more than you may have even realized. Read on to find out about everything from classic to ultra-chic and everything in between!



Veils are the shortest length – they are a great alternative to traditional veils and can lend themselves to more fun, whimsical feeling. There is a range of options within birdcage veils but they’re usually worn just covering the eyes or extending down just to the chin. Super stylish, low-hassle and have definitely seen a bit more popularity in the last few years.


A Blusher falls right below the lip line and can stand alone or be incorporated with any of the longer veil styles to cover the face and then be pushed back after the ceremony. This would be a style that you may want to avoid if the whole ‘unveiling’ tradition isn’t for you. For a fun twist, add a blusher to a hat for a more modern look!


Shoulder-length veils end anywhere from your shoulders to the middle of your back. They are a simple accent and work beautifully when you have to detail on the back of the dress that you don’t want to cover up. Although not the most common selection these days, there is a definite dash of tradition and a classic touch when going this route. Effortless and lovely.


Elbow-length veils are elegant and easy to handle, and when combined with a blusher, are very romantic without the hassle of carrying a full-length train around with you. These tend to be super flattering for a more petite couple as it falls all the way to the elbow but doesn’t swamp you in fabric. This is a very versatile length and can work for both formal and informal ceremonies.


Fingertip-length is a popular style among a variety of couples due to its simplicity, timelessness and ability to showcase just a touch of drama. While it is generally a great fit for many, this particular length works really well for taller couples who can carry the length. A safer choice, but beautiful nonetheless.


Ballet-length is not one you may see as often as some of the other styles but I find to be a very elegant choice, specifically for a more conservative or modest style of dress. Since it falls anywhere between the knee and ankle, you get much of the prettiness of the longer veil varieties without worrying about contending with all that extra fabric. This veil is also called waltz-length since it still allows you to ‘waltz’ – clever stuff, huh?


Chapel-length veils go all the way to the ground, and may drape a little but do not have a train. This is a definite contender for formal weddings and is incredibly romantic and elegant. It is often combined with a blusher and/or an elbow-length veil for a two-or three-tiered statement.


Cathedral-length veils are the most formal of all veils and are meant to be worn with a full gown with a cathedral length train and to extend well past the end. This style definitely lends itself to a dramatic entrance so make sure you have enough space at your ceremony to accommodate its grander and more importantly, be sure your dress is strong enough to support this show stopper!


A Mantilla is a Spanish-inspired veil that, in my humble opinion, is one of the most gorgeous and romantic of all veil styles (swoon), but unfortunately won’t always work with all dresses and settings. A mantilla (man-tea-ya) is usually a circular piece of lace (or tulle with heavy lace edging) that is held in place with a comb to frame the face and fall down past the shoulders.

Juliet Cap

A Juliet Cap is a small open-work crocheted or mesh cap often decorated with jewels, pearls or intricate beading. The cap can be worn alone for a more trendy, chic look or paired with a long veil to give lots of interest to a more traditional style. Fun history fact: the cap is named after the heroine of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Doesn’t get much more romantic than that!

So what do you think, is your head spinning now? As I promised, there are a number of options (and options within options) when it comes time to veil shop but with that said, don’t allow this much information to overwhelm you. The idea here is to get all the possibilities in one place to keep you open-minded and excited to explore.

To try and bring it all together, I want to leave you with a few key tips when trying to find your dream veil:

  1. The veil shouldn’t compete with the dress, it should be worn as a finishing touch – not the main event. Think ‘less is more’ here and remember that a heavily embroidered veil should be paired with a more simple or unembellished dress, and vice versa.
  2. Consider your day and the vibe you are trying to achieve. The style of the veil that you choose should remain consistent with the formality (or lack thereof) of your wedding. Rethink the cathedral veil if you’re getting hitched at your grandparents Pennsylvania farm – or at least make sure the bridal party has a surplus of Tide sticks (mud stains anyone?)
  3. As with the relationship of your veil to your dress, make sure you pick a hairstyle that will not only highlight your face but also support your veil. It is always a smart idea to have your veil picked out and with your for your trial hair runs if you are concerned about functionality and overall look.
  4. Think about what the purpose of the veil will be for you and how long you’ll be wearing it. Are you just wearing for the ceremony and pictures or are you planning to have it be a main accessory throughout the event? This can help dictate how fussy, long or heavy the style should be. Or if the budget allows, go for two! Traditional, intricate or lengthy for part 1 swapped out for short, sassy or colorful for part 2.
  5. Lastly, stay true to your own personal style. Just because something is trendy or what all the other couples you know seem to be doing doesn’t make it right for you. It may sound cliche, but being comfortable and feeling your most beautiful self is all that truly matters.

Do you have a veil success story to share? Did you always know what you wanted or did you surprise yourself with the choice you made? Leave any questions or comments below – I would love to hear from you!

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