8 steps to choosing the perfect veil

The bride’s most iconic accessory is back with a flourish – but where to begin choosing a veil? Here’s how to pick the right one for your wedding dress

Model wearing veil by House of Veils
Santorini two-tier fingertip-length veil with delicate fine-stitched edge, from £60, House of Veils (Photo: Claire Williamson)

1. Let your wedding dress lead the way

Your starting point is the style of your gown, which should really be selected before you choose a veil. “I believe that you should have your dress first,” wedding dress designer Sassi Holford says, who also runs sister label, The Couture Veil.  “Ideally, you’ll also have thought about how you’re going to style your hair.”

Richard Marsh, MD at wedding accessory company Rainbow Club, offers these tips: “Enhance the romance of a tulle ball gown with a hip-length veil that gives the illusion of length without covering any of the skirt detail.

“An A-line gown is incredibly versatile, meaning that many different veil styles will work. If the back of the gown features intricate beading or an interesting design, opt for a shoulder-length veil. For something a little bolder, pair with a longer-length veil.

“If you have a simple dress with no embellishment, you can really play with veils and have fun with Swarovski crystals and ornate laces and trims,” says Nicola McCormick at Scottish bridal accessory specialist Eliza Loves, which has a boutique in Kilmarnock.

Models wearing veils by Blossom and Bluebird and The Couture Veil by Sassi Holford
Left: Mina soft tulle cap veil, £208, Blossom and Bluebird; Right: Sparkle ribbon-edged veil, £POA, The Couture Veil (Photo: Simon Powell)

2. Try on lots of different styles

“We’d encourage you to try on as many styles as you can,” says Nicola at Eliza Loves. “This helps rule out what you don’t like. It’s all down to the full ensemble. We find that, when styling up veils, the process is much smoother when you have all of your accessories and adornments.”

Models wearing veils by Eliza Loves
Right: Flossie veil, £110, Eliza Loves; Left: Maggie veil, £80, Eliza Loves

3. Consider the length of the veil

Veils range in length from birdcage (a small, face-framing net veil) to cathedral (a dramatic option that trails along the ground, way past the gown’s hem). “Although Eliza Loves offers some veils that are even longer than that,” Nicola adds.

Other popular veil lengths include shoulder, elbow, fingertip and hip. These all fall approximately to the body area they are named after.

After something longer? A floor-length veil should exactly match the end of your gown, while chapel-length is slightly less dramatic than cathedral. It would usually be around 90” and reach beyond the hem of your dress.

Many newlyweds remove their veil before the dancing kicks off, but if you want to play bride as long as possible, a ballet veil – which lands about mid-calf, out of the way of boogying feet – could be your other perfect partner on the dancefloor.

Female models wearing veils by Pronovias and Rainbow-Club
Left: Veil with gathered edge, £POA, Pronovias; Right: Gazania veil, £49, Rainbow Club

4. Do you want a blusher – and what exactly is it?

If your heart is set on the time-honoured, romantic ‘reveal’ at the top of the aisle, as your beloved lifts the fabric up and over your face, look for a veil with a blusher.

“A blusher is the layer of tulle that falls in front of your face when you walk down the aisle,” explains Sassi Holford.

Models wearing veils by Halfpenny London and Karen Willis Holmes
Left: Ziggy dress, from £1,200, and Flock Spot veil, from £550, Halfpenny London; Right: Fleur veil, from £1,290, Karen Willis Holmes

5. Think about the placement of the veil and how it works with your chosen hairstyle

If you’re wearing your hair down, securing a veil at the top of the crown could add volume, but you’d want to avoid that placement if, say, your hair was in a bun or chignon.

“Where you place the comb on the head can make or break the look,” says Sassi. “My favourite placement is the back of the crown, so as not to interfere with the hair or face.”

That said, veils like Juliet caps or single-tier Spanish mantillas deliberately sit further forward on the head meaning you can make a statement with the positioning of your veil if you desire.

Models wearing veils by AM Faulkner and Baba-C Designs
Left: Silver Leaf veil, £750, AM Faulkner; Right: Sorcha veil, £POA, Baba-C Designs

6. Pick your other hair accessories accordingly

Veils were originally designed to sit behind a tiara, but now the choice of accessories is extensive.

“Brides wanting to combine a veil and hair accessory should think carefully about the pairing,” suggests Rainbow Club’s Richard Marsh. “A voluminous fountain veil isn’t going to pair well with an equally dramatic tiara. Instead a classic, floor-length style will work best, with a royal-inspired tiara or beaded headband. Floral headbands tend to work best when hair is down or in a low up-do, paired with a simple, lace trim veil.”

Female models wearing veils by Paloma Blanca and House of Veils
Right: Two-tier fingertip-length veil with horsehair finish (style V491F), £POA, Paloma Blanca; Left: Venice veil, from £90, House of Veils (Photo: Claire Williamson)

7. Consider renting

Let’s face it: veils aren’t going to win any ‘wear again’ points after the wedding. What if you could borrow one for a few days? Enter House of Veils, the first veil-hire company in Scotland. It offers an extensive rental range, with the option to purchase if you end up falling in love with it.

The process is simple: visit one of the company’s showrooms in Ayrshire or Fife and select the veil that’s right for you. Each hire is inclusive of five days, allowing you to collect your veil two days before your wedding and return it two days after (although this can be extended for an extra fee).

Two brides wearing veils by Eliza Loves
Left: Grace veil, £160, Eliza Loves; Right: Darcey drape two-comb veil, £220, Eliza Loves

8. Go bespoke

Can’t find a veil that’s just right with you or your gown? Having something made just for you might be the solution – a service that Eliza Loves offers. “We’ll arrange a consultation and take a look at your dress,” says Nicola. “For example, a heavily beaded shoulder calls for a silk veil, as it won’t catch on the claws of the jewels. We don’t want the veil to fight with the gown.”

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