Long ones, short ones, thick ones, thin ones, or no ones at all. To veil, or not to veil on your wedding day? The veil has been around for centuries and historically signified the bride's modesty and virginity. Her unveiling, at the end of the marriage ceremony was said to represent the husband's gaining of paternal permission to enter in to conjugal relations with his new wife. Perhaps this is the reason that modern weddings rarely employ this tradition - after all, how many 21st century couples can say that they have abstained from their conjugals before the day of their wedding?!
From a photographer's perspective, a veil provides a number of creative opportunities. There is the chance to add texture to an image, whether shot in close-up or to be appreciated in full length.
A partially concealed face can be beguiling, and just as appealing as full flesh and make-up. There is a certain mystique about an anticipatory bride-to-be making last minute adjustments to her headwear and moving her fingers beneath the lace of her veil. Poetic, methinks.
One thing to bear in mind is the location and conditions in which you are expecting to be married. A clifftop, whilst the epitome of romance, is rarely without a breeze; ditto the beach, so watch out for windy days...even a short veil will take off if the conditions are blustery!
Heavier fabrics and longer, cathedral lengths can give a vintage impression. The almost impenetrable mesh of a classic, old fashioned veil hides the bride's beauty until the second of the great reveal, and the mystery of her virtues remain intact until that moment, helping to create an early 20th Century feel. It is said that a veil was once also designed to actually prevent the bride and groom from seeing each other before they were married, so heavier fabrics were a necessity.
A well-timed breeze can definitely be a benefit in other ways, however. A half-caught glimpse of a bride's eye beneath her billowing veil can be a very romantic treat.
Whether or not you are planning to be veiled on your big day, consider the pros and cons. Yes, they add a certain coquettish charm, but they also require careful handling and need to be matched with your headgear and hairstyle. Try on several in different styles before settling, and since you've gone to all that trouble, ask your photographer to capture your careful choice on film.
For wedding photography enquiries, please contact me, Helen on 07957627217, or at email@example.com.