Well of all these questions i find that a lot of the girls i've talked to, one of the things they never really think about is what their veil will look like. It actually took me several episodes of wedding shows and many blogs to reveal there was more than three types of veil. (To me? There was the long one, the medium one, and the holy-crap-you-just-got-attacked-by-tulle) upon further investigation however, i found out there's a rather long list of veils available for choosing. Each can come in several different fabrics even!
Below (because i know you guys just love my list-makin' skillz, lol) is a small line-up of the most common veils and their lengths.
(i found this lovely -- and extremely helpful-- picture on "Theringbearer.ca" which has a wonderful amount of inspiration and helpful links! you should go spend a few hours -- er, minutes -- and check it out ;-) )
- Firstly, We'll start with the blusher. Blushers can be worn or omitted -- it's completely up to the bride -- and are there to cover the face of the bride. It's usually a single layer of material. It can be lifted by the father before "giving her away" or it can be lifted and placed behind the head by the husband for the couple's first kiss. The length is usually below the chin, but above the bust-- but the length is truly entirely up to the bride.
- Another type of "Blusher" is the birdcage veil -- usually a wider mesh material is used. This single-layer blusher typically extends to just below your chin, and can be angled to cover only one eye or both. These are beautiful on more modern dress styles (in my humble opinion of course!).
- Secondly, is the "Flyaway" veil. These are multi-layered veils that just barely brush the shoulders and are typically no longer than 20 inches in length. These can be adorable as long as the tulle isn't overdone. Too much tulle can lead to a more cupcake-topping type effect.
- Second longest, is the "elbow" veil which is exactly what it sounds like -- a veil that's only elbow-length. It's also usually a multi-layered veil.
- "Fingertip" is pretty much the same as the last -- Multi-layered and only fingertip length.
- A "Ballet" veil (also known as a "Waltz" veil) is anywhere between knee-length to ankle-length. Again, these come in a variety of materials, but it seems (and i could be wrong!) that these are more commonly found in single-layers rather than multi-layered.
- The "Chapel" Veil was predominantly designed to be worn with a dress that also has a "Chapel"-length train. (These extend about 4 feet from the waist). These veils are often cumbersome to move in, and usually have a way to remove the excessive length for the reception to allow the bride better movement.
- Last but not least, is the "Cathedral Veil" (One of my favorites... *insert drool here*) These are typically worn with dresses with Cathedral trains. They're also the LONGEST type of veil! Usually used to give a dramatic feel to accompany the long walk down the aisle of a church wedding. (These veils are approximately 120 inches or even longer!)
Now one of the veils i hadn't mentioned (because i'm not sure which category it fits in, or if it's a category all it's own) is a Mantilla. These lightweight lace or silk scarves are worn draping the head and shoulders of the bride. (And can be accompanied by a high comb or not. i prefer not, but that's just me.) These are absolutely beautiful headpieces and were actually used as headcoverings in Spain during the 17th and 18th centuries. They are draped over the head (usually at the crown) and flow gently over the shoulders and down the back. The length varies depending on the bride, as does the color and material.
Of course there are many brides who go veil-less for their weddings! (Which can be equally as gorgeous!) Simple hairstyles adorned with barrettes, combs, flowers, or other headdresses can be seen all over in every shape, style, size, and material!
One of the more popular ideas I've seen lately (or at least for handfastings and pagan weddings...) is the use of cloaks and wings.
Cloaks or Capes are usually made of Velvet, (most popularly crushed velvet...), or Satin, but I'm sure they could be found in all different types of material. They can be dyed to match ANY color out there and are rather gorgeous when accompanied by a hood attached to the cloak and draped over the head -- similar to a mantilla. (They can be held in place by hairpins easily) I've found these are more common in outdoor weddings, as well as more Medieval ceremonies. (And they're fun to wear around the house and scare the neighbors!)
Faerie/Fairy wings -- realistic ones at least -- can be rather expensive and hard to come by for unique ones. However if you're looking for something whimsical and playful, your local costume shop should have them for cheap and readily available. There are rather beautiful wings out there from all sorts of sites such as Deviantart, Etsy, and a few blogs even! Search around Google, Amazon, or E-bay to find some that really call to you.
Another (and last) type of wing I've seen used, are Animal-based. (Bird/Angel wings, Bat wings). While not seen often, Bat wings can give a lovely dark-theme to a Gothic or Halloween wedding, and although a little harder to find, can also be purchased at your local costume shop. Angel wings give more (durr...) "angelic" look to the bride and can be accompanied by a veil or not. These can be found in any shape and length (although i think "folded" over "spread" would work better for a bride so you don't smack your "Great Aunt Beatrice" in the back of the head going down the aisle!) These last two suggestions are also better suited for outside or non-denominational weddings as I'm thinking churches would rather frown upon the idea of you wearing "ridiculous outfits" to a serious ceremony. If your church doesn't, then kudos to them. They're an awesome church and deserve cookies!
Well, that's all i've got for Wedding veils and veil-substitutes. If you wore something different, or have an idea of what else could be used (or if i got something wrong which is HIGHLY possible.. lol) Feel free to leave a comment! :-D