Unveiling the Veil

I’m sitting at my desk, in the midst of a chaos of order forms, tape measures, fabric swatches, and thinking that if I’m having this much trouble figuring out which veil is which, then maybe it’s time to shine a little light on the subject!

For what’s more or less a flimsy piece of flyaway tulle, it’s sure not anywhere near that simple!

But let’s start there – with the tulle. I’m looking at snippets of ‘Mystic Tulle”, “China Tulle”, “Bridal Illusion” as well as the old familiars, organza, chiffon, and plain old ordinary tulle.  Side by side, there’s a lot of difference, which is one good reason not to buy your veil online. It’s impossible to guess at texture from pictures, plus, if possible, you really want to match your veil to your gown [see below for tips on this]

Most veils are made from 100% nylon tulle. The texture can vary from one manufacturing run to the next, but what you can usually expect is a fine netting which is soft to the touch.  Bridal tulle [mystic, china, bridal illusion] drapes, flows, and moves beautifully. It is much less ‘crunchy’ than the tulle you’d find at Spotlight under the same name. The stiffer tulle is fantastic for a fuller, pouffy veil, or more dramatic effect. Bridal Illusion tulle is the go-to for quality veiling.

Different edging effects how the veil behaves, too. A raw edge veil will be very light, prone to movement, where a beaded or satin bound edge will sit more steadily and hang with a more formal drape.

Lace veils are usually be made on a soft tulle base, spreading the motifs across the tulle for economy, mostly because lace by the metre is expensive, but also because heavy lace is, well, heavy.

Chiffon veils are less common, probably because chiffon is far less translucent compared with tulle. Chiffon falls with incredible fluidity, and if your gown has chiffon detailing, it’s worth considering complementing your gown with a chiffon veil. You really won’t see any detail of your gown through a chiffon veil, and single tier bridal veil is best for a chiffon veil. The exception to the rule would be silk chiffon, which is very soft, fine, and close to translucent. I think of it like a very very VERY fine muslin in texture.

It’s easy to get chiffon and organza muddled up – here’s my rule of thumb: Chiffon tends to be matte, where organza is often a little bit sparkly or shimmering. It’s also a stiffer fabric, standing out where chiffon would flow, so it’s great for layering, and fluted edges.

The ideal length and edging for your veil will be determined by the style of your gown. For example, if there is a lot of beading or other detail through the bodice, you should choose a veil edge which will sit either above or below the detailing, so as not to visually block your gown.

As a general guideline, the slimmer the gown silhouette, the longer your veil should be.

For longer veil lengths, either choose a cut/raw edge for your veil [so that the edge just invisibly blends into your train], or have your veil cut slightly longer than the length of your train. This helps draw out the veil as you’re walking up the aisle, creating a beautiful silhouette. Ideally, the longer the veil, the softer the fabric.

A-Line gowns generally look great with a fingertip length circle cut veil, complementing the lines and proportions nicely. If you’ve dreamed of a longer veil, you can still have it, just add plenty of gentle tiers.

If your gown has a full, pouffy, “Disney princess” skirt and fitted bodice, try a shorter, fuller veil.

If you’re shopping for your veil by length, remember to consider where on your head you’ll be attatching the comb. A veil which comes out from underneath your hair will have as much as 4 more inches than a veil which sits right at the top of your head. The position of the comb will greatly effect the look of your veil from the front, too. It’s best to experiment a bit and see whetehr you prefer to have the veil framing your face, or just falling behind you.

If at all possible, you should match your veil not only to your gown colour, but also to shape – at The Corner Store, we encourage brides to bring in their gown, no matter where they purchased it from, to try on veils with. It’s kind of fun, playing dress-ups with a serious reason, and it’s another chance to get into the gown, win/win!  If you don’t have a friendly bridal store nearby, or don’t have the time to take your gown in, here’s an easy way to figure out your ideal veil length at home. It’s easier [and more fun] if you have someone to help you.

You’ll need: a hairclip/comb, or your hairpiece, if you’re using one
A couple of metres of string or wool
Scissors
Tape measure or ruler

Tie one end of the string to your headpiece or a hairclip, and pin it into your hair around where you plan to anchor your veil. Run the string down your back until it’s at the length you like best. Get a friend to cut the string [if you try to do this yourself, I’d suggest you cut the string, then stand up again, to check the height before you take the pins out. It took me three goes to get it right when I tried it on my own!] Take the pin from your hair and measure it. Most veils are measured in inches. I don’t know why.  Or, you can use this handy picture to figure out what the name of your preferred veil lenght is called.
[ courtesy of Veil Trends]
Fly Away or Short Shoulder (20″ or less) or Shoulder Length (25″) These veils can be casual and/or very cute. They look best with a gown that has no train.

Elbow Length (30″) –  This length enhances detailing around the waist of the gown. It also balances nicely on a full skirted gown, as it ends just before the skirt begins to pouff out.

Fingertip or Waist Length (36″) –  If this length has an oval cut, it can make your waist appear smaller because the fullest part of the veil is at your elbows.

Waltz or Ballet Length ( 54-60″) This veil length hits your body somewhere between your knees and calves.

Floor Length (72″) – A floor length veil is very elegant and can be quite formal. Unless you have a raw edge veil, I don’t recommend this length for a gown with a train.

Chapel Length (90″) – Perfect if you are looking for a long veil to compliment a gown with a short train.

Cathedral Length ( 120″)  For maximum effect, make sure your veil extends at least six inches past the end of your train.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. sandra johnson
    Oct 18, 2012 @ 18:29:17

    great advice! i’ve been writing a page for my website about veils so great timing! veils are wonderful to photograph and well worth the time to get ‘the right one’ for your big day.

    Reply

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