Alternative brides looking for a retro-chic wedding veil to complete their bridal look, may want to know the answer to the question 'What is a birdcage veil?'. Taking a different approach from more traditional longer bridal veils, a birdcage veil is a sophisticated way to inject your personal style into your bridal outfit.
Here we look at which features make up a distinctive birdcage wedding veil and the best ways to style one, so you'll look timelessly gorgeous on your big day.
A birdcage veil is a short veil that covers part of the face, measuring approximately 30-45cm from the comb to the edge of the material. Its name is derived from the form it takes once attached at the top of the head, with the fabric falling into a hanging birdcage shape around the bride's head and face.
They're also seen as a more informal wedding veil option for brides compared to longer veil lengths, so would suit a small chapel wedding or a registry office elopement.
The birdcage veil originated in the 1940s when veils were made shorter due to a shortage of fabric during the second world war. With a birdcage veil, wartime brides could add some extra style and elegance to their bridal look, which often consisted of their best formal suit or dress.
A birdcage veil is typically made of Russian net or translucent tulle, allowing the bride to see from underneath it. Fixed in position with either a range of hair accessories or various types of millinery, birdcage veils give brides the opportunity to add extravagant details and elements of sparkle on a small scale.
Birdcage veils are frequently confused with bandeau wedding veils, due to their similar appearance. If you are looking for a truly authentic birdcage look, it's recommended you check the label and description thoroughly, or try the veil on first before making a purchase, where possible.
A little bit quirky, a little bit classy, a whole lot gorgeous, there are a few options for styling a birdcage veil on your wedding day to complement your overall bridal look and suit your personality.
A birdcage veil can be worn at the crown of the head. From this position, the net or tulle will fall forward across the bride's face and should rest just above the tip of the nose or in line with the cheekbone.
A birdcage veil can also be worn at an angle, creating a chic yet romantic look that frames the face and eyes.
The short length of a birdcage veil means it shouldn't get in the way too much on your big day, so you can wear it all day and all night if you wish to, and make the most of being a bride until the early hours of the next morning.
Originating in the 1940s, brides may instinctively think that a birdcage veil will only work with post-war inspired wedding dresses. And although they do look fantastic with retro wedding outfits, birdcage veils actually lend themselves to a range of modern and alternative wedding dress shapes and styles.
Short veils work wonderfully with short wedding dresses. Channel your golden era glamourpuss with a mid-length wiggle dress bridal gown, or opt for a fun and flirty full skirted tea length wedding dress.
The short length of a birdcage veil can also help to elongate the appearance of your neck and your silhouette, so take the long clean lines of a luxury minimalist gown into consideration when looking to match the veil with a modern wedding dress style.
The birdcage veil also allows the bride to show off every detail of her wedding dress, letting any intricate lace or beading or stunning back detail take centre stage.
Because this type of veil sits at the top of the head and is a shorter length, it shouldn't interfere too much with most popular modern bridal hairstyles.
Birdcage veils complement pixie cuts and shorter hairstyles beautifully, but their absent length also gives the chance to reveal an intricate updo or perfectly tousled bohemian waves. Basically, pretty much anything goes when it comes to choosing a bridal hairstyle to go with this type of wedding veil.
If you're searching for a wedding veil but remain undecided check out the Britten Guide to Wedding Veils to help you in your search or explore the exquisite range of traditional, modern, and alternative bridal veil styles in our wedding veils collection.