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Do Brides Have to Wear a Wedding Veil?


When it comes to the question 'do brides have to wear a wedding veil?' the short answer is 'no'. If you firmly believe that wearing a wedding veil isn't for you, then don't worry, nobody will try to force you to wear one on your big day, even if members of your family might be expecting you to. 

But you may be curious about the reasons for wearing a veil, and why so many brides choose to do so. If you're undecided over whether to wear a wedding veil as you say 'I do', you might make up your mind as you find out more about the origin of the bridal veil and how the tradition of wearing one has evolved over the years.   

Two tier semi lace edged ivory wedding veil - 'Prudence' | Britten Weddings

So, When Did Brides Start Wearing Veils? 

Wedding veils have appeared, disappeared, and reappeared in one form or another throughout history, making them the oldest piece the bridal outfit. Dating back to ancient times, the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans regularly wore religious headpieces made from lengthy fabrics, the equivalent of wrapping up the bride as a present for her new husband.

Since the 18th Century, when Queen Victoria wore a veil for her royal wedding, wedding veils have become firmly established as part of the iconic bridal look for the modern age.  

What Does a Wedding Veil Symbolise? 

If you ever wondered why do brides wear veils, the answer might be clearer when you understand the historical symbolism behind them. 

Veils are symbolic mostly of the innocence and purity of the bride and were commonly believed to protect her from evil spirits before the wedding ceremony. 

In the case of arranged marriages that would benefit both families financially, veils were also used to cover the bride's face to prevent her husband-to-be from running away if he didn't appreciate her unique beauty. 

Most modern brides would agree though that they simply choose a veil because they look elegant, feel lovely, and make for wonderful photo opportunities.  

Wedding Veil Etiquette

It's often stated that veils shouldn't be worn for a second marriage or if the bride is pregnant on her wedding day, again, in keeping with traditional beliefs around the virgin bride. But every marriage is a cause for celebration, and the opportunity to wear a beautiful dress accessorised with luxury fabrics should be embraced by all. So if you want to wear a veil, go ahead, wear one.

Horsehair two tier wedding veil - 'Atlas' | Britten Weddings

To help you decide whether you should wear a veil rather than whether you have to wear one, consider the following:

Have you always dreamed of wearing a wedding veil?

If you've always wanted to wear a wedding veil, then the biggest problem you'll face is choosing your favourite from the range of styles, fabrics, finishes and lengths available. Check out our beautiful selection of wedding veils for inspiration or discuss your ideas with a Britten Weddings designer to create a bespoke option that's completely unique to you. 

Does the veil work with your overall bridal look?

With your wedding dress carefully picked out, you might want to try on a few different styles of veils to find the perfect wedding veil to complement the shape and style of your bridal gown. Learn how to choose the perfect wedding veil with Britten Brides so you can find your ideal match. 

Will you feel comfortable wearing a bridal veil on your wedding day? 

If you're concerned that a wedding veil will be a distraction or inconvenience on the day, we suggest trying on a few different styles and lengths first to get an idea of how each one feels and moves. You never know, you might surprise yourself. 

If it's still out of the question, remember brides don't have to wear a wedding veil, then alternative bridal headpieces are available in the form of bridal hair pins, wedding hair vines, weddinghead bands, or bridal hair combs to name just a few.