adapted by www.Bridemalta.com, courtesy EzArts
The wedding veil originated centuries ago. One theory is that the veil stems from the days when the Groom and his friends, the Groomsmen, would throw a blanket over the Brides head when he captured her. Another theory is that, during the time of arranged marriages, the Brides face was kept covered until after the ceremony. That way, the Groom was committed, and could not run off if he was disappointed in her looks. In some cultures the veil is worn to protect the Bride from evil spirits that might be floating around.
Whatever the origin, today the veil is worn as a symbol of purity and/or joy. Your Father may lift your veil, and present you to your new husband at the altar, or your husband may lift it after the ceremony for the first married kiss. It is considered a sign of the Brides independence if she lifts the veil herself, or wears a veil with no blusher.
Why is the Veil Sheer?
There is also a reason why the veil is sheer. It goes back to the biblical story of Jacob who married Leah instead of his beloved Rachel. He was not aware that Laban "switched" brides but the custom of the day dictated that the oldest daughter must be the first to marry. So unbeknown to him Jacob was marrying the wrong bride.
However, since in ancient days a man could marry more than one wife, Jacob also betrothed Rachel his love. This story is one of the reasons for a sheer / see through veil. Though her face is covered, the groom will be reassured that he is marrying the bride of his choice.
Choosing your veil & headpiece
Your headpiece, with or without a veil, should be a finishing touch to your bridal outfit. It should match the formality of your gown. The most formal is the tiara, usually made with pearls and crystals. A bridal illusion pouf and veil is attached at the back. The tiara should be worn with an elegant, formal gown, most often with a long train. The next formal is the headband. This can be made with silk flowers for a natural look, or with lace & pearls to match your gown. Especially flattering is the asymmetrical arrangement, with strands of pearls sweeping one cheek. A more semi-to-informal option is the floral wreath, worn with, or without a veil. Very pretty with ribbon streamers instead of a veil. Another option is a cluster of flowers, or a tulle or lace pouf on a comb or barrette, worn at the back of an upswept hairstyle.
Veil length is another important factor. A veil can be added to almost any headpiece. The most formal length is the cathedral length veil. It should fall at least a foot onto the train of the gown. The chapel length veil falls just to the floor, and is usually combined with other, shorter layers. Elbow length veils are worn mostly with short or floor length gowns with no train. This length also shows off any detail at the waist of the dress. Shoulder length veils are usually combined with other lengths of veiling. However, if your gown is very elaborate in the back, several shoulder length layers show off the back of the dress.
Whatever styles you prefer, keep in mind that a headpiece and veil should flatter your face, not overpower it, and should accent the style and formality of your gown.