When you choose a veil for your wedding, one of the most important things to consider is how long you want it. The length of your veil will have a big impact on your overall bridal style and will also make a statement about how formal your wedding will be. Here are 9 of the most popular lengths for veils that you will find at wedding boutiques.
A birdcage veil refers to a very short veil that usually covers just the face or part of the face and offers a dramatic look. It is often attached to a pillbox hat or similar headpiece, but can also be paired with a barrette, headband, or tiara. The veil may be just a few inches long or may be up to about 9 inches.
This type of veil goes well with a vintage wedding and looks great with a tea-length or knee-length wedding dress, although it definitely works with a floor-length gown as well. It is also sometimes worn by bridesmaids or the mother-of-the-bride while the bride wears a longer veil. This is especially true at weddings where all of the women in the wedding party are wearing hats.
This type of veil is between around 18 and 30 inches and hangs over the front of your face when you appear at your wedding. Either the person who walks you down the aisle or your partner will take the veil and flip it to the back of your head during the ceremony. This is, of course, a reference to the old tradition of the groom not seeing the bride's face until they are married. A blusher can be worn alone, or it can be paired as a second tier with a longer veil.
An elbow-length veil is just the way it sounds. It hangs down to about the same spot as your elbow and is around 25 to 36 inches long. This is another more casual veil that can be worn with a dress of any length, but looks best with a gown that just reaches the floor.
Consider an elbow-length veil if you want to show off the detail on the skirt of your gown or if your skirt has layers of tulle, feathers, or another dramatic element. A longer veil may take attention away from that area.
A fingertip veil hangs around the same area as the tips of your fingers and is around 36 to 50 inches long. This type of veil is a little more formal than a shorter veil and is perfect for showcasing the bodice and waist of your dress. It also creates a beautiful silhouette.
These veils are between 45 and 60 inches and should fall somewhere between your knee and your ankle. Wear this with a dress that is at least floor-length. A ballet-length veil is excellent for creating a more formal look when you don't want to deal with a train or have a dress that does not look right with a train.
This veil is customized to fall in exactly the same spot as your floor-length gown, making it look almost like it is part of your dress rather than a second piece. This veil will bring some bridal bulk to your look while still allowing you to wear a sleek or fitted gown. It is a nice compromise when you want a slimmer silhouette but your mother, or someone else, wanted you to wear a ballgown.
A chapel-length veil will be around 90 inches long and creates the suggestion of a train without the extra fabric. It usually falls just beyond the hem of the gown if the dress is floor-length. It can also be worn with a gown that has a small train or just a skirt that flows out slightly onto the floor.
This is a formal veil with a name that comes from its use in cathedral weddings. This veil is between about 108 and 120 inches and is intended to glide behind you along the floor as you walk down the aisle. It is most appropriate for weddings in a church with a long aisle but can be made to work in just about any venue with a long area to walk. It should be worn with a long gown, and the gown itself will almost always have a train as well.
Keep in mind that a veil with a long train needs some attention. Your maid of honor will need to keep an eye on the veil to make sure it looks right at all times, and that no one steps on it and it doesn't get caught in anything.
This is the longest of the veil lengths and may be up to 157 inches or longer. It is, of course, named for the traditional veils of royal brides that stretched down the huge churches where they would traditionally get married. Recent royal brides have decided against this veil length, but that doesn't mean you can't go for it at your formal wedding.
The same responsibility applies to a royal-length veil as a cathedral-length. Someone needs to be assigned to take care of it, and it will need to be arranged before you walk down the aisle as well as every time you stop or move.
Bridal veils come in all kinds of lengths, so you should be able to find something that works for you and your gown. When you choose your veil, keep in mind which areas of your dress you'd like your guests to focus their attention on, and pick a veil that falls somewhere above or below that area. Also, remember that you don't have to wear a veil at all. Many modern brides choose to go without one and are stunning.
Whether you wear a veil with a flowing train or no veil at all, the important thing is that you have the look you want on your big day. Try on some different veil lengths with your gown to determine your favorite.