Behind the Veil: Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Veils are a peculiar thing. Before I was engaged, I had already decided that I didn’t want one. I wasn’t too crazy about the way they looked, and the symbolism didn’t really work for me. According to Wikipedia, the wedding veil symbolizes the bride’s virginity and modesty (in Western culture). This sentiment is a bit outdated for many modern brides. When I did a little online research about veils, I also found a few other interesting theories. Here, they suggest that the veil covers the bride’s face, so that her husband won’t be killed for her beauty. (I like that one!) Alternatively, the veil could be used to cover a not-so-beautiful bride in case the groom wanted to back out once he saw her. (Not very nice!) Or, the veil could protect the bride from evil spirits. (What? The spirits don’t attack the guests? I don’t understand”¦)

In any case, I wasn’t too crazy about veils. But as I’ve said before, one’s mind often changes while wedding planning”¦

During my very first dress shopping trip, I was with my mom. It was just us, and we had made a spur-of-the-moment decision to run in David’s Bridal. Nothing had really wowed us until I stepped into the gorgeous Vera Wang dress. I was dancing around, all giddy with excitement, when my mom asked the consultant, “Can we see it with a veil?”

I froze. I hadn’t wanted a veil. But then I realized, “What’s the harm in trying one on? It’ll make my mom happy, and then we’ll move on.”

The consultant asked me what type of veil I wanted, and I said honestly, “I haven’t considered the possibility of a veil, so bring whatever you think is best.” Apparently the elbow-length veil is the most popular at David’s Bridal, because that’s what she brought out. She put it on me and”¦

Wow. I felt like a bride!! (This picture doesn’t really demonstrate how much the veil improved the look, but it’s the only picture I have of me with that veil.) I knew in my head that I didn’t care for the pictures of veils on other brides, but for some reason, seeing it on myself just seemed so beautiful. My wise mother said, “See? It changes the entire look.” Moms sometimes know best. And Mama Whale is so smart about sharing her wisdom. She knew that she shouldn’t demand a veil (and honestly, if I had decided it wasn’t for me, she would have been fine with that too). She let me find out for myself that the veil was so right.

Of course, veils aren’t for everyone. But I know so many brides who are like me at the outset. They don’t really care for the look of the veil, and they just decide not to have one. If my mom hadn’t requested to see one, I might not have known how much I wanted one!! (I’m can’t even imagine not having the veil now.) So unless you’re vehemently opposed to veils, I would advise brides to give them a chance. You truly might be surprised.

I know most brides still go with this tradition. Are there other bees out there like me? Or alternatively (I’m really curious about this one), did anyone want a veil, try it on and decide against it?


Mrs. Blue Whale

College Park, MD
Wedding Date:
May 2013
A Foxy Fête: ALL the Family
Invitation Inspirations
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  1. Member
    rivendeler 1244 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:00 am

    That was my case :). I did not believe i would wear a veil but the moment i put it on…….

  2. mswallaby Member
    mswallaby 2070 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:12 am

    I love the look of veils, especially long, dramatic veils. I bought a long raw-edge veil and then started having regrets the week of the wedding, so I ordered a bircage veil to match the vintage theme of our wedding. The morning of the wedding I made a game-day decision…and chose the birdcage veil. I loved it and wore it the whole night. I disagree with the meaning behind veils, but I chose fashion over tradition haha.

  3. Member
    debeachgirl 543 posts, Busy bee @ 6:13 am

    I knew I wanted a veil. I did not want a blusher. However, FI was set on a blusher (something about it being traditional). I figured the guy didn’t have much that he really wanted in regards to the look of the wedding so I would humor him. And really you only wear the blusher for the walk down the aisle so it wasn’t asking too much. I put it on and it didn’t bother me nearly as much as I thought it would. It has grown on me, though I am still not sure that I love it.

  4. Member
    courtoni 177 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:32 am

    I’m actually torn about this right now and am not sure what to do. I’m wearing a v-neck dress for our beach wedding and have chin length bobbed hair. I think a full veil just might be too formal for the setting but possibly a birdcage? Guess I need to start trying some on!

  5. Member
    Schneewittli 56 posts, Worker bee @ 6:43 am

    I’ve always loved veils, but when I tried one on with my dress, it just didn’t look right! We tried so many different styles, but they all took away from the intricate details of my beautiful dress instead of complementing it, so I decided against a veil. And I’m totally happy with this decision! I’ll wear flowers in my hair instead.

  6. Member
    krislynn_sd 72 posts, Worker bee @ 7:16 am

    Ugh! I hated veils – until I tried on a dress my mom was in love with and the consultant brought one out and swished it onto my head before I could protest. And then I cried because suddenly it was real..

    I still don’t want one … yet. Your post made me tear up and I’m thinking of trying one on when I go in for my dress fitting.

  7. Member
    shaynapunim 654 posts, Busy bee @ 7:20 am

    I don’t plan to wear a veil; it isn’t necessary to complete the look I want.

  8. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:27 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bride who didn’t look beautiful in a veil. Who cares about what it used to symbolize. Today, it’s an accessory. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Wear the veil! It’s the one time in your life that you’ll get to accessorize that way!

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    SMDC, Guest @ 7:39 am

    “I knew in my head that I didn’t care for the pictures of veils on other brides, but for some reason, seeing it on myself just seemed so beautiful. ”

    PLEASE challenge yourself to write one post that does not insult either other brides or random businesses. It’s really not nice to others. Do what feels most comfortable for your for your day, but please don’t insult other’s choices in the process!

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Amelia, Guest @ 7:42 am


    I 100% agree. Thanks for telling most brides that they look like crap in veils, but YOU look good in them.

  11. bat Member
    bat 285 posts, Helper bee @ 7:50 am

    @mink: I totally agree, Miss Mink! I originally didn’t like the symbolism but I decided i really liked how a veil looked, just like you, Miss Blue Whale: so I’m going with a veil! 😀

  12. bat Member
    bat 285 posts, Helper bee @ 7:50 am

    Oops, I meant Mrs. Mink 😛

  13. bracelet Member
    Mrs. Bracelet 279 posts, Helper bee @ 7:55 am

    I knew early on that a veil was an essential part of the bridal look for me. Now, after the wedding, I’ve learned that Mr. B actually had an opinion regarding veils! He would have liked for me to have a complete veil that he could have lifted over my face and not just the “decorative” veil I had. 😉

  14. Member
    sunnybrook 369 posts, Helper bee @ 8:11 am

    I had the same moment. I didn’t think I wanted a veil at all… but they actually put a cathedral length veil on me and WOW. I think it is because there is NO other time you wear one. I mean, you wear fancy dresses (probably not white) at other times… but a veil? That’s straight-up bride.
    I did try one that was over the face, and that one definitely didn’t feel right to me. Nor did the multi-layer one they tried. But a single layer felt really beautiful.
    If they weren’t so dang expensive, I might be sold…
    I do have to decide soon, though. :)

    I think yours looks stunning!

  15. Member
    bearluv 102 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:36 am

    I’m glad you look good in your veil. I hope I am as lucky as you have been.

  16. eagle Member
    eagle 1552 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:37 am

    If you don’t care for the photos of OTHER brides in veils… will you care for the photos of yourself in a veil?

    Veils tend to make brides feel like brides. Thats why they “jack you up” with a veil, it helps them sell the dress. But you yourself said that you don’t like bride in veil photos. I know how important wedding photos are to you (and most other brides) so maybe you should re-think this… you don’t want to regret your veil choice for years to come.

    That being said, I love veils. And I think all brides look beautiful in them, and I LOVE the photos of them! Those were some of my favourite photos to take.

  17. Member
    kbiceling 298 posts, Helper bee @ 9:07 am

    I wasn’t planning on having a veil. My skin is really sensitive so the thought of more material brushing against it freaked me out. The first time I tried one on, I was still anti-veil. But then, suddenly, I put on a veil the third time I was out shoppping and suddenly I had to have one.

  18. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 11:39 am

    I’ve always loved the look of veils on brides, there’s only so many times where such an accessory is appropriate and I wanted my chance to wear one.

  19. Member
    Red Poppy 31 posts, Newbee @ 12:00 pm

    When you think about it, veils are definitely an old-fashioned, kinda weird accessory. But if you don’t wear one on your wedding day, when will you??

  20. bluewhale Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 1:08 pm

    @krislynn_sd: It’s crazy how that happens, right?! I would try a few on at your fitting to see if you have the same reaction again!

    @Mrs. Eagle: Ooooo. You’re so incisive! I’m hoping that the right veil for me will be something I love. Maybe it’s just that the veils I see in a lot of pictures are not really my style… I’m going to have to give some thought to why I’m not totally crazy about them.

    @Sunnybrook: They are ridiculously expensive, considering it’s sometimes just a piece of tulle. I think a decent amount of bees have found cheaper ones on etsy or ones that brides are selling. Maybe you should check the classifieds!

  21. Member
    ChicagoDreamer 509 posts, Busy bee @ 4:22 pm

    I feel like at this point in time I don’t want one, but strangely I feel like my touts might change!

  22. Member
    shirasagi 899 posts, Busy bee @ 4:52 pm

    First of all, you looking STUNNING in the dress and veil. Secondly, now you are making me second guess my choice to not even bother trying veils on. Maybe at my fitting I will have to see my dress with a veil now!

  23. Member
    village_skeptic 1861 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:34 pm

    I felt similarly — wasn’t a huge fan, bought a cheapo one to try it out, STILL wasn’t a big fan but my FI liked the idea — so I bought a couple yards of tulle to mess around with to see what length and fullness I might like, and then…

    pretty pretty pretty pretty!

    I made my own veil from that very tulle, and I can’t tell you how many times I tried it on before the wedding.

  24. Member
    ecjohnson 157 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:41 pm

    im still on the fence about what to do so hopefully i have that moment too. i just feel like i am going to feel so awkward in one…maybe its because i’ve always known i’d wear one and then that day is here so it feels weird?

  25. Member
    Gemstone 21879 posts, Honey Beekeeper @ 6:47 am

    “Moms sometimes know best.” I love that!

    I wore a veil for photos and ceremony and then switched it out for a flower in my hair for the reception. In retrospect, I wish I’d kept my veil on all night!

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