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Choosing a veil can seem like a very daunting task if you don't know what you're looking for. One-tiered or two? How long? Beaded, ribboned, or unembellished? The wearing of the bridal veil dates back to the days of Ancient Rome, and though its style and cultural meaning has changed over time, it continues to create an overall aesthetic that is both feminine and elegant.
Of course, the style of your gown is also important when selecting a veil. Styles are now available that have crystals and pearls worked into the tips, which tie in beautifully with gowns with lots of beaded embellishment. For a lace gown, try to find a simple veil, or one edged in a lace with a similar pattern to your gown. There is no one style of veil that suits all gowns. There are many different styles, and each results in a different effect when paired with your dress.
Elbow-length veils are the most popular in bridal fashion. Their length highlights any embellishment at or around the waist of the gown, and is ideally paired with a gown without a train. This style looks best with full-skirted gowns, especially in princess style, and is mostly used for formal and semi-formal weddings. This veil is a good choice for taller brides. Women who are shorter in stature should avoid this style because it hits right at the waist and does not compliment their height.
A fingertip-length veil is long enough that the end of it rests at the bride's fingertips when her arms are relaxed at her sides. It is best worn with full-length gowns, and is not recommended for dresses with trains. Like the elbow-length veil, this style is ideal for formal and semi-formal weddings, and is not advisable for the shorter bride.
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A chapel or sweep-style veil is more formal, and drapes all the way down to the floor. As it is more voluminous, it is best suited with a mermaid or column-style gown, or something with a cathedral-length train, and can be paired with a blusher. For convenience, brides who favour this style may want to order this veil so that it is detachable and can be removed before the reception.
A cathedral veil is the most formal style. Often called a "royal" veil, it is ideal for a grand church entrance. Approximately 126" in length, it is most suitably paired with a gown that has a cathedral train. This veil extends at least six inches past the train for a very dramatic look. Like the chapel veil, it looks best with a gown that is slimmer fitting, as this particular style can be paired with a blusher and has up to three layers. If you want to pair this style with a fuller skirt, try using only the single layer of tulle to avoid looking like a frosted cupcake. Keep in mind that this style can be difficult to maneuver in, and brides may consider finding a style that is detachable so they can take it off before the reception.
A mantilla veil is an oval-shaped veil, and is either made from lace or lace-edged tulle. This is an alternative option to the more formal and traditional veils, and is best for formal or semi-formal weddings. Mantilla veils usually range in length from elbow- to calf-length, and when paired with a smoother hairstyle, a timeless and elegant look is achieved.
For a more informal, playful look, try a birdcage veil. It's perfectly suited for creating a more classic look reminiscent of the 1940's and -50's. This particular style has been very popular over the last few years, and is characterized by a stiffened layer of loose-weave French net, fastened to a small hat or hairpiece. Ideal for short hairstyles, it fits close to the face, and is usually just long enough to brush the chin. However, different looks can be created depending on where the veil is pinned. For a flirtatious look that covers only the eyes, secure the veil towards the back of the head.
For those brides who really do not want the fuss of a veil, try working sparkling bands and clips worked into your hairstyle. Jeweled and feathered combs can be secured at any angle to compliment an up-do, or be paired with long, loose hair for a sleek and elegant appearance. For the outdoor or destination wedding, fresh flowers create a look that is both natural and romantic.
Make sure to bring a friend with you who can help you examine all of your options. That way, you are sure to find a style that that not only flatters the shape of your face, but also compliments your chosen gown. Have fun trying different styles and veils, and comparing the looks. Every choice you make takes you closer to that moment when you take that long-awaited walk down the aisle and into his arms.
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