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Vintage Wedding Veils and Headpieces

Updated on August 15, 2017

For the soon-to-be bride, finding the perfect veil for your particular style of wedding dress demands a little bit of patience and research, especially if you are very particular about how your wedding theme should come across.

A wedding themed after a vintage setting demands the right kind of dress or gown, paired with the right style of a veil to achieve the best effect, meaning your choice of veil must be in total harmony with your wedding dress.

Apart from giving you that 'something old' classic appearance, wearing a vintage inspired headpiece brings historical meaning and a characteristic beauty to the bride on her special day.

Cathedral Wedding Veil Style
Cathedral Wedding Veil Style | Source

Classic Bridal Veils

Classic veils care either simple and elegant, or elaborate and dramatic, but mostly, it’s all about the length of the headpiece, its embellishments, and its exclusivity.

Simple ones include short shoulder length or elbow length veils while dramatic ones include those with ornately decorated skullcaps with ‘falling’ fabrics and sweeping floor-length trails such as the Chapel style genres.

Most authentic antique and vintage wedding veils are white, pearl, or off-white, but coloured varieties also are known to be popular among brides who wish to wear wedding outfits with colour.

1. Cathedral Wedding Veil

If you desire a regal stately look on your wedding day, the Cathedral styled veil is for you. Extending to a minimum of 12 inches (30cm) beyond a wedding gown's train, this ‘super-size’ vintage headpiece makes a bold statement and portrays a wedding that’s not only stylish but elegantly formal as well.

This long sweeping wedding veil drapes naturally to the ground and comes in single, double, or triple layers.

Also referred to as the ‘shimmer veil’, the Cathedral veil it’s best worn if you are getting married in a large formal church with a long and fairly wide aisle. They look absolutely wonderful in the dim light of many traditional churches and large chapels and ‘come to life’ as the bride walks out into the sunlight and under the flash of paparazzi camera lights.

This veil can be worn either at the top of the head or just at the back of it and for a very dramatic effect, a tiara can be added to give an elegant and royal touch.

(A good fabric to use is premium quality tulle and not the ones used for discount veils!)

Best styles of wedding dresses (in satin, silk, or lace) that work perfectly well with Cathedral veils includes:

  • Ball gowns
  • Trumpet style long gowns
  • Mermaid style bridal wear

2. Cloche (or Cap) Bridal Headpiece

Cloche headpieces were the rave of the 1920s bride with many young ones favouring those made from lace fabric.

This bridal veil has a cap section that fits snugly over the entire scalp, sometimes encircled with beautiful fresh leaves and flowers (back then of course) that matched or complemented the bride’s bouquet.

Many were also made from silk materials which falling gracefully beyond the fitted ‘cap’ and down over the shoulders.

Today’s vintage inspired cloche (cap) veils are usually made from the finest lace and silk tulle fabrics with net backing. Popular trimmings and decorations include satin details, velvet ribbons, with faux flower blossoms at the ears.

3. Birdcage Bridal Headpieces

Simple yet stylish, birdcage bridal veils made their appearance in the post-war era of the 1940s.

Quite a popular choice of today’s brides, it’s a headpiece that kind of ‘hints’ at what beauty lies beneath the bride’s veiled face. Other names associated with this style of bridal veil is:

  • Cage veils
  • Cage blusher
  • Face bridal veil
  • Net veil
  • Pouf wedding veils

Birdcage veils can be worn with many different wedding dresses and gown styles; formal or informal, and for a more dramatic look, pair one with a feathered fascinator.

Birdcage veils are very easy to DIY, and it is not uncommon to find brides who prefer to have theirs custom made, especially by those who are good at crafting clothing accessories.

4. Elbow Length Veils

Elbow length veils are best worn with long floor length wedding dresses and though some may wear them with shorter dresses, they don’t look half as good! Short wedding dresses look better paired with shoulder-length veils.

Their design connects from a headpiece and extends down to the elbows and not an inch further.

You will find that many who wish to have a simple informal wedding mainly opt for elbow-length bridal veils. This is because they lend a graceful look to a bridal outfit without that ‘overpowering’ or ‘overshadowing’ effect most veils may have on some wedding gowns.

5. Gothic Style Veils

Sometimes dark and dramatic, but mostly worn as costumes, the Gothic style wedding veil is commonly referred to as 'vampire' veils. They are exotic medieval styles made from plain or patterned fabrics. Gothic veils are mostly worn around Halloween.

Blend the Past with the Present

You can incorporate elements of the past with the present to create a personal and unique bridal style that’s vintage inspired. You need not go head-to-toe vintage though

Also, you don't necessarily need to recreate a period costume or even stick to a particular decade. You can mix the bygone creations of wedding veils with today’s new designs of couture bridal gowns and see a transformation in stylish couture. You definitely won’t end up looking like a "high street buy-and-wear dressed" bride.


Make Your Own Bridal Veil

Finding an authentic vintage wedding veil is almost impossible, and even if you do find one, not only would have been an uphill task, it might probably have been fairly expensive too.

So if you are a bride on a tight budget but don’t want that off-the-rack look, you can make your own vintage-inspired wedding veil or get one that’s custom made to your own specifications.

Making a wedding veil is fairly easy and requires only a few steps but if you feel that making your own will be an overwhelming task, you can assign the task to your mother, sister, friend, or your maid of honour; it is certain that at least one of them will have creative ‘fingers’ good enough to sew and tack.

All that’s required asides plain or embroidered bridal fabrics like tulle, silk, lace, or satin are:

  • A pair of scissors
  • Bridal hair comb (or a tiara with a comb)
  • Faux pearls (or diamante)
  • Faux flowers
  • Fabric glue
  • Needle and thread

Ensure you choose soft fabrics; not the stiff and scratchy type materials. After you’ve made a decision on the veil’s length, follow these four tips.

  1. For a shoulder-length veil, you will need 24 inches of fabric
  2. Waist length will require about 32 inches
  3. For fingertip length, you will need 40 inches
  4. Floor length will vary, depending on your height and how far behind you wish it to sweep

If ever in doubt about what style veil to choose, look to the past century's styles and you'll find something that best suits the look you want. And remember, you don’t have to be shy about what you have chosen.

Vintage inspired wedding veils don’t have to be the long lace pieces only, but they must, however, fulfil the age-old purpose of creating a delicate innocent bridal look.

***Image Source: Viryabo@Polyvore

© 2009 viryabo

Your Views are Welcome

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    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 5 years ago

      Thanks Trsmd.

    • Trsmd profile image

      Trsmd 6 years ago from India

      Excellent tips.. Really loved it..

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 7 years ago

      Hello 2uesday, its so nice to see you. Thank you so much for the nice compliment.

      Compliments of the season to you, and GodBless.

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 7 years ago

      Beautiful wedding veil ideas, you are very good at putting together the ideas and styles for these wedding pages.

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 7 years ago

      One of my favourite vintage wedding veils too.

      Thanks for visiting Wedding secret and for leaving a nice comment.


    • TheWeddingSecret profile image

      TheWeddingSecret 7 years ago from Bath, UK

      I love the veil in the second photo down, stunning

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 7 years ago

      Im sure you must have looked beautiful. Vintage veils are so breathtaking.

      Thanks Elayne, and thanks for the visit.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Beautiful veils. Mine went to the floor and was very pretty also. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Wedding Invitation Designs 7 years ago

      Very nice I think they look very gothic in a way.

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 7 years ago

      Hello GmaGoldie, glad you enjoyed this. Thanks for visiting and for your nice comments. Let me know how your test run goes. :)


    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Excellent! Great tips and great video! I would have never thought that the veil hitting at the hip would add pounds! Wow! Practical too! The convertible head band is a neat idea. I have the decorative pins and the veil - will try a test run soon.

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 8 years ago

      Beautiful isn't it? Thanks for visiting silkveil.


    • silkveil profile image

      silkveil 8 years ago from UK

      The veil in the top photo is a silk tulle veil by Ann Guise

    • kezan98 profile image

      Kerrie Giles 8 years ago from UK

      I love the veil in the top photo, so unique

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 8 years ago

      LOLLLL! Hi Candle, thank you so much for your visit and your very nice comments.

      GodBless you.

    • CANDLE profile image

      CANDLE 8 years ago

      Another sexy masterpiece from the generous and exquisite penmanship (or penwomanship) of the one and only: Viryabo.

      What would Hubpages do without you?

      If you didn't exist, Hubpages would have no choice but to create or invent you.

      Well done. Very classy.

    • viryabo profile image

      viryabo 8 years ago

      Hello Oleshaner1, Thanks for your comment.

      That sounds like a great piece of art you have there, and im sure its worth a lot. I know you can sell it on eBay. Are you registered as a seller on eBay? If not, register, get a good shot of the veil, and put it up for an auction.

      There are people out there who would do anything to get a cathedral wedding veil. I know for sure.


    • profile image 8 years ago

      I have a vintage cathedral wedding veil with a daisy patern throughout. I would like to sale it. might you be interested or tell me of someone that is