Beneath the Wedding Veil

We see them take center stage as the bride walks down the aisle, but how much do we know about the veil, its origins, and transformation over time? Today we de-mystify the veil for our brides. 

Historians trace the wedding veil to the Roman Empire. Roman brides wore head-to-toe length veils in colors of fire, called the flammenum. Painted in fire colors and flame designs, the flammenum was meant to frighten away evil spirits who might kidnap the bride before she could be taken to her future husband’s arms. Another concern at the time was runaway brides before the ceremony; the veil and train served to weigh the bride down and prevent her escape.

While the Romans were worried about evil spirits, in Medieval times, the veil was a means of assuring the husband of the bride’s virtue and purity. With this meaning comes the act of revealing for the first time the bride’s face to her husband, at which point he "takes possession” of her. As time goes by and the veil’s meaning changes, its style evolved as well. By the mid-20th Century, the veil (for the most part) become purely ornamental. Here are the different veil styles throughout the decades.

 

 

1940s: The “birdcage” veil style becomes popular during this era and again today as the vintage-inspired bridal style experiences a revival of sorts.

1940s: The “birdcage” veil style becomes popular during this era and again today as the vintage-inspired bridal style experiences a revival of sorts.

1960s: Lots of fabric and some kind of fascinator becomes de rigueur. 

1960s: Lots of fabric and some kind of fascinator becomes de rigueur. 

1970s: During the “flower power” era, veils are a little wider and shorter in length. 

1970s: During the “flower power” era, veils are a little wider and shorter in length. 

1980s: No one epitomizes this decade better than Princess Diana’s cathedral style veil. This 24-foot train inspired brides all over the world and is an iconic bridal moment to this day.

1980s: No one epitomizes this decade better than Princess Diana’s cathedral style veil. This 24-foot train inspired brides all over the world and is an iconic bridal moment to this day.

20th century: We see minimal elements with classic and traditional detail, such as delicate lace accents and a sparkling headpiece or comb. 

20th century: We see minimal elements with classic and traditional detail, such as delicate lace accents and a sparkling headpiece or comb.