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veil glossary

Here's a brief glossary of options, organized from shortest to longest.

  • Flyaway: This supershort style, which hits just above the shoulder, will give you a playful, flirty look. It's most appropriate for daytime weddings and looks best with a simple gown with clean lines, a minidress, or a wedding suit.
  • Elbow-length: As the name implies, this veil reaches just to your elbow. It's a sweet, simple style that can work with virtually any wedding gown, although you should pick something a bit longer for a formal evening wedding.
  • Fingertip: A veil that falls to your fingertips when your arms lie straight along your sides, this length is perfect for the indecisive bride -- it's dressier than shorter styles but doesn't have all the drama of longer ones.
  • Waltz: This type of veil falls between your knees and ankles and, unlike longer veils, it allows you to dance with ease.
  • Chapel: A veil that reaches to the floor and extends up to three feet past your hem falls into this category. It's a romantic look that's been growing in popularity for the past few years.
  • Cathedral: Think Princess Diana -- yards of tulle extending down the aisle behind you. This is the choice of brides who want to feel like royalty, but keep in mind that it's not a low-maintenance look. You'll need at least one bridesmaid or flower girl to tend to your veil as you enter and exit the ceremony. It looks most appropriate in a grand church or other house of worship, and works only if the aisle you're walking down is a long one.
short wedding veils

Wedding Accessories: Veil Tips & Trends

Get ready to top off your wedding day look with a veil that's perfect for you.

Photo: Paul Sunday

Congratulations, you finally found your wedding dress! Next step: Select a veil that's every bit as gorgeous. Luckily, we've put together a guide to everything you need to know to perfectly top off your wedding day look.

The first and probably most important decision to make is how long you want your wedding veil to be. Check out the box at right for a rundown of the most popular veil lengths.

What you will or won't wear in your hair is as important as veil length. Your options range from dramatic pieces such as sparkly tiaras and crowns to jewel-encrusted barrettes, combs, and pins. You can have your veil attached to one of these accessories, or keep the two separate and attach the veil to your wedding hairstyle via a simple comb that disappears into your 'do.

If you want to remove your veil after the ceremony but leave your decorative headpiece on throughout the reception, have the veil attached to the headpiece with hook-and-loop closures, which will make it easy to remove.

Tulle and other veil fabrics come in many shades. Bring a swatch of your wedding gown when selecting your veil.

Another important thing to consider is whether you want your veil to be visible in your photographs. If you attach it with a backpiece (a barrette or comb that fastens to any wedding updo hairstyle) then little, if any, of the veil will show up in your wedding-day portraits. This is a good option if you want to keep the focus on your hairstyle or jewelry.

For photos that really say "It's my day!" you'll want a veil that makes a statement from the front as well as the back. One such variety is a fountain veil (also called a waterfall), which rises up from the top of your head. This style adds height, which may be desirable to petite brides, but it's a poor choice if it will make you taller than your groom.

The classic material for a veil is tulle, though lace, silk, and satin are also options and make a more original statement.

For a very lush, romantic look, consider a veil with more than one layer of tulle -- some veil makers suggest a minimum of two layers.

If you wear a chapel- or cathedral-length veil, you may want to pair it with a fingertip-length veil as a top layer. That way, you can remove the floor-length layer for the reception but leave on the shorter top layer -- and you’ll still look very much the bride in photos.

The embellishments you can choose for your veil include embroidery, tiny pearls, and sparkly stones such as rhinestones and crystals. As a general rule, if your wedding dress is heavily decorated, your veil should be clean and simple, perhaps with just a bit of the gown's beads or stones echoed around the edge of the veil, or with no extras at all.

If you pick a simple, streamlined wedding gown, feel free to go to town with veil decorations (though you can also choose a veil that matches your dress in elegant understatement). The embellishments on your veil don't have to match those on your dress exactly as long as they don't clash. For instance, a sequined veil would strike the wrong note next to a romantic wedding dress embroidered with tiny pearls.

One popular, simple veil embellishment is a ribbon edge, which gives a sleek, clean line to the rim of the veil. However, this may not be the best choice on a veil that's fingertip length because it creates a horizontal line across your body, visually chopping you in two. If your goal is to appear as long and lean as possible, contemplate before choosing this option.

A blusher is the part of the veil that covers your face during the first part of the ceremony and is swept back either by your father as he gives you away, or later by your groom before the kiss-the-bride moment. It's a beautiful touch that ups the drama and romanticism of your look.

The blusher should fall between the bottom of your neck and your bust and can be worn with any length or style of veil in back. Choose one that falls at least an inch above or below the neckline of your wedding gown -- if it hits right at the neckline it will look awkward -- and make sure it’s long enough to be swept over your head.

Take all of your hair accessories to your trial wedding hair appointments. If you want to wear a tiara or crown, it's essential that it work with your veil.

You can have fun and let your personality come through with your veil choice. A mantilla, for example, is very fashion-forward. This Latin-inspired style frames the face nicely because it is made of a circular piece of lace with a feminine scallop-edge border.

As we always say at The Knot, balance is key. Make sure whatever style and length veil you choose works to complement, not compete with your entire bridal look.

Want to wear your mom's veil but you're afraid it's dated? Take it to a trusted tailor to readjust the style. Trims, shades, and lengths can all be reworked to your taste, and you'll still have that sentimental "something old and borrowed" as you walk down the aisle.

After reading these tips, you're sure to love your veil. Ask at the shop where you purchased it for storage and preservation specialists. While it might seem costly or unnecessary, you never know -- vintage wedding veils may be totally chic for the next generation too.

-- The Knot

See More: Wedding Accessories + Wedding Jewelry