the right length wedding veil

Wedding veils 101: How to choose the right length wedding veil

There are many different options available when deciding on the right length wedding veil to wear for your big day. Some brides have always pictured themselves in a long flowing Cathedral length veil, others just never even considered they were the wedding veil wearing type of gal.

It’s rarely the main focus when you get engaged – mostly, it’s all about the dress. But, when you finally get to finding your perfect gown, the accessorising begins!

Sometimes, it can come down to what your bridal assistant pops on your head whilst you’re mesmirised by the vision of feminine perfection staring back at you in the mirror. You don’t want to change a thing now that everything has fallen into place and that can be great, especially if you’ve got yourself a good bridal assistant who has listened carefully to what you want and knows your style.

Lately, we find that many more brides are shopping online for wedding dresses and having their alterations done separately instead of getting the whole thing done in one place, which is great as we have so many more options these days with ecommerce becoming the everyday norm.

One drawback of this is that you don’t always get to try on your veil with your dress and this can lead to some expensive mistakes when it comes to a non-returnable veil that’s made to order.

We’ve covered how to choose the right colour wedding veil in a previous article, so now lets tackle another very important factor in determining the perfect veil for your dress – the length.

For those independent ladies, we have a few tips and things to consider to make sure you choose the right length wedding veil for your gown.

Should I Choose A Short Veil or full length?

This depends on a few things: Are you having a big or small wedding? How long is your wedding dress? Are you going for a particular style or theme? Is you wedding indoors or out? Do you plan to keep it on the whole day?

Practicality will have to play a part, I’m afraid, so we’ll cover a few of these questions here. Here are a few things to really think about to make sure you choose the right length wedding veil and help you finalise your decision on the matter.

When To Choose A Short Wedding Veil

Short wedding veils
Left to right: Two-tier pearl stitched edge shoulder length veil, Posie lace elbow length veil, Juliet lace fingertip length veil

Just because your wedding isn’t going to be a big one, and your dress isn’t going to be the typical bridal ballgown style, it doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of looking like a “proper” bride.

To quote bridal designer Randy Fenoli…

“Without a veil, you’re just a pretty girl in a white dress.”

It may sound a little harsh, of course people will know who the bride is and veils are just another thing you have to buy for an already extravagant, one day thing, aren’t they?

Well, we say to you: think of the pictures! Those wedding day photographs together with your family and friends, everyone dressed to the nines and you there, kind of fading into the background.

It almost could be any other celebration in those pretty pics. A bridal veil is your crowning glory, so just go with it. You definitely won’t regret it.

“Pretty girls in white dresses”

It’s totally fine if you choose not to wear a veil, it might not be your style or you think you’d feel “stupid and awkward”, but then again, you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you’re on the fence about it.

We’ve had brides that were adamant about not wearing a veil, but once they’re in the dress and a sneaky ‘lil veil is casually placed in their hair…it’s like magic. The transformation into bridal queen extraordinaire is complete!

A wedding veil definitely doesn’t have to be full length to have this wonderous effect. One of the most popular veils we sell is the Fingertip length (43″/110cm). It’s just perfect with so many different dress styles. Ideally, falling below the hips and bum – creating a most elegant silhouette.

Do I need to measure for a short wedding veil?

Every bride’s proportions are different, so it’s still advised to measure for this kind of veil too. No need for the heels or even the dress. Just measure from the comb position down to the most flattering point around the bottom area and that’s it. If the standard Fingertip length will do then order away. If you’re taller than average with beautiful long lines then contact us to adjust the size.

If your dress is tea length or shorter, then we’d recommend going for either a Shoulder (20″/50cm) or Elbow (30″/75cm) length veil. These are the shortest veil lengths available (apart from the birdcage veil, of course).

Usually, the Shoulder veil ends mid upper back, just below the shoulder blades and upper arm. The Elbow length is also sometimes referred to as Waist length and for this reason, we feel should be measured for to ensure it cuts you in the right place so as to accentuate your waist. This veil looks fabulous with a short A- line or ballgown style as it really enhances the hourglass shape.

What Are The Different Long Veil Lengths?

If you’re having a big church wedding with an aisle that stretches for miles and wide enough to park a bus, then we’d say YES, get the longest veil you can (without looking insane and becoming an internet meme, of course).

Usually, this would be the Royal/Long Cathedral (114″/ 290cm) or Abbey (150″/380cm) length veil. The latter being a dramatic statement and not for the shrinking violets out there, but definitely a show stopper that will leave your guests in amazement.

Something to bear in mind with an ultra long veil that trails beyond your dress is that it can be quite heavy if edged with a wide lace and can also feel uncomfortable when walking down a carpeted aisle as it drags behind, so do make sure it’s well secured in your hair.

A long, heavy veil can drag the hair down if not secured in place properly.

On the other hand, if the venue is more on the intimate side, then a Chapel veil (79″/200cm) is appropriate – still reaching the floor and then some, but suits a wedding dress with a shorter train.

We’ve noticed more Chapel length veils were sold last year with recent events (which shall not be named) throwing a spanner in the wedding works.

Some other popular lengths are the “Cath-chapel” or Long Chapel (88″/225cm) and the Standard Cathedral (99″/250cm). Getting the right length wedding veil just depends on how long your dress train is and also your height may be a factor, so we supply these just because we can.

Generally, most brides will end up taking their veils off for the reception, especially a full length one as it does tend to get in the way when you’re trying to have fun and certainly won’t help on the dance floor, that’s for sure!

The veil (and sometimes the shoes) is usually the first thing to go before the party starts.

So get those beautiful pictures with your veil flowing in the wind and don’t be shy to ask someone, even the photographer, if your bridesmaid isn’t around to lay it out properly for you

How do I Measure For A Long Wedding Veil?

When measuring for a long veil, you might find yourself wondering where best to end it. Should it be as long as your train or beyond it a little? It’s personal preference, but we think it looks most flattering when it finishes about 8 – 12″/20-30cm from the hem of your dress train, depending on the overall length of your dress.

This is really important when ordering a lace veil as its going to be more noticeable than a plain edge. The width of the lace can be a factor in determining how far to go past the hemline. For example, with our 6″ wide Clover lace, we recommend allowing at least an extra 10″ beyond the train. It’s all about proportions.

Clover wide lace veil

Have a look at some bridal photos online and see what you prefer or even better, ask your bridal assistant if you have one as he/she will advise on what will suit best. Their job is to make you look as flawless as humanly possible so they should have no qualms about helping you choose the right length wedding veil for your gown.

If you don’t have professional help, you’ll need a trusted friend to measure you, as this is simply impossible to do on your own.

You’ll need to be standing up straight, wearing your bridal shoes, your dress laid out properly and preferably with your hair done (kind of) as you’ll be expecting for it to be on the day, i.e. up or down.

Comb placed above a high bun

Decide now whether you’ll be wearing it on the crown of your head or below a bun as an up do with the comb placed above it can lift your veil by a good few inches, effectively decreasing the apparent length of the veil.

You can hold the tape measure at the comb position whilst your kind helper measures down towards where you’d like it to end. Keep some slack on the tape and remember that the tulle fabric will drape and flow along the lines of your dress.

If in doubt, it’s always better to go a little longer than shorter to err on the safe side. A longer veil will still look fine – a shorter one definitely won’t!

Our Standard wedding veil sizes

standard veil lengths

If you find that your perfect veil is in between the standard sizes, don’t be afraid to ask us for a specific length. All of our veils are custom made for each order so that’s no problem at all. Feel free to contact us for advice.

We always recommend that you be sure of the actual measurement in inches or centimetres because when it comes to choosing the right length wedding veil, there are so many different suppliers/designers and names like “Chapel” and “Cathedral” can vary greatly in length.

Even when asking your bridal assistant what length wedding veil will suit your dress, make sure they give you a measurement too.

Generally, the width of each veil can vary depending on the style and overall length but this can also be customised to your liking. As standard, our longer veils are between 200-225cm / 80-89″ at the widest point.

If you want a sheer veil that shows off the back of your dress then you can opt for a narrower width or we can graduate it in towards the comb. If your train is particularly wide then you can let us know and we can allow for that. We can make our veils up to 118″/300cm wide.

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