traditions The Bridal By Alana Douglas VEIL was actually for the groom's protection. By wearing the veil, his bride’s beautiful appearance was hidden from jealous and violent rivals who could kill the groom and steal his intended bride. Centuries ago, in arranged marriages, it was not unusual for the first glimpse of his bride to be when the groom lifted the veil, after the marriage vows had taken place. By that time it was too late for second thoughts — “no return once opened”! History, Facts & Trends VEIL VERBIAGE If you’ve been shopping for a veil, you’ve already discovered that different terms are used by various designers for similar veils. These descriptions might help in your search. • A Cathedral Veil is a very long, formal veil that extends well beyond the train of the gown, ideally suited for an elegant wedding in a grand location. You will need to walk down a long aisle for this look and enlist at least one bridesmaid to arrange and manage the veil. • Chapel or Sweep Veils are full-length veils that drop right to the floor and even extend beyond the hem of the gown. This length is formal but very “walkable”. • Waltz Veils and Ballet Veils extend from just below the knee to just above the ankle and are very versatile. • Fountain, Cascading or Waterfall Veils include folds of different lengths to achieve fullness or they can be a single layer with cascading folds. • Fingertip Veils, Waist Veils, Elbow Veils and Shoulder Veils are named for their length, ranging from 46 inches to about 20 inches long. • Blusher Veils can be just long enough to cover a blushing bride’s face. When T he wearing of a veil is one of the oldest wedding traditions, popular centuries before the appearance of the wedding gown. The bridal veil is iconic. For many women, wearing a veil is a once-in-alifetime experience. One of the most intensely emotional times for a bride-to-be is when she sees herself in a bridal veil, as she transforms from a woman in a beautiful white gown into a bride....a transcendent moment. HISTORY Some historians trace the origins of the veil to Roman times, when flame-coloured cloths were thought to deter evil spirits from abducting the bride. As a further precaution, families brought “decoy” young woman to the celebrations. Today’s bridesmaids must consider themselves lucky! Later, with Arab influences in Europe, including the return of the crusaders bringing customs and treasures from the east, the veil became a popular head-covering for women. It was equated with purity and modesty and if white, with virginity. That is why the custom was, until fairly recently, for only first-time brides to wear a veil. Another tidbit from history shows the veil SYMBOLISM For centuries, when a groom lifted his bride’s veil, he symbolically took possession of her. A man “took a wife” and that a bride was “given away”. Modern brides often lift their own veils, a tacit statement of equality in the marriage relationship. MULTIPLE CHOICES To veil or not to veil — that’s your first decision. Next, decide how long you want your veil to be. Will it be a whisper of fabric, or the focal point of your wedding attire, or something in between? Simply chic or embellished? Don’t worry about matching wedding gown details, just be sure that your veil complements your gown. Wedding Essentials 2013 95