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Wedding Veils: What Veil Length and Width Should I Choose?

Wedding Veils - What Veil Length & Width Should I Choose?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions we receive at Distinctive Veils & Accessories.  There are so many varied designs, lengths, tiers, colors, and materials to choose from that it can get extremely confusing to make a decision.  So, here are a few tips to help you on your search:


The first step in selecting a veil for your wedding ensemble is to know your dress style.  Is it a simple sleek sheath style?  A vintage-inspired empire dress? Traditional A-line,  grand princess or ballgown?  Or is it a highly embellished glamorous wedding gown?  The answers to this question can get you well on your way to selecting a good veil style.  But first, a little about dress styles.... The Ball Gown: The ball gown dress is typically designed with a full-skirt and a fitted bodice. Full-skirted gowns often have visual lines that can guide you in choosing a veil length. Natural lines can be those horizontal seam lines on your dress found at the top, waist, or bottom of your dress or even some beaded lined detail.   For instance, the most popular ball gown styles feature a strapless bodice cinched at the waist.  There are then three natural lines on dress from which a veil length can be decided.  Those "invisible natural lines" are the top of the bodice,  the waistline (or the bottom of bodice ), and of course, the end of the dress or train. Short Veil and the Ball Gown: A short veil would measure about 18" to 20" from the top of the head to the top of the bodice.  Thus, for a bride wanting a sassier, shorter look,  a shorter veil or shoulder length veil as otherwise known would be a good choice as long as you keep to the 18-20" length on the veil.  This is because it will align to the natural line you have at the top of your dress.  Any longer,  the veil length with not coordinate with the natural lines of the dress.  This a great length because no beautiful embroidery, bead work,  or back details gets hidden behind the veiling.  The number of tiers with a shorter style can be tricky.  Sometimes it looks Haute couture but in other cases it looks quite bad.  The best choice would be a single-tiered veil but if you choose a two-tiered veil, be sure you match it with the dress before ordering your veil. If a longer length is desired, an elbow length veil  (one of the most popular and traditional lengths) looks fantastic with most every ball gown style dress.  This veil length normally measures between 25-30" in length and will typically end at the waist line or bottom of the bodice of a ball gown dress.  Most 1 or 2 tiered veils look great with the type of dress.  A two-tiered veil is a great choice if a bride wants the "ceremonial lift" of the veil over the head for "the kiss".   Since this veil length is so versatile and works well with most dress styles, the number of tiers are more of what the bride envisions. Longer Veil and the Ball Gown: Every bride who pictures that elegant princess wedding or grand entrance usually wants to pull out all the stops.  Why stop with the veil?  However, there are still some good guidelines to follow with this dress style and choosing a long veil.  If opting for the cathedral veil, be sure the veil has a wide width such as 108".   A wide width veil will be more in proportion with the skirt and train of fuller dress while a narrow or standard width veil (72" is standard width )can look rather disproportionate to the dress and train.  Onlookers may be more drawn to the paradox they are seeing behind you and not to you!  The longer length veil is the only length with this style of dress that you can wear 1, 2 or even 3 tiered layers with your veil depending on the amount of fabric detail you have on the bodice. [caption id="attachment_39" align="alignnone" width="230"] Example of full ball gown with tulle accented skirt.[/caption]
Ball Gown Design by Ines Di Santo from her Spring 2012 Collection
Ball Gown Wedding dress by Ines Di Santo Haute Tip: Lately, many dress designers are creating flouncy playful skirts that have layers of fabric or fabric flowers adorning the surface of the skirt.  If your veil is also layered, it might compete with those already gorgeous details.   Similar to the rest of your accessories, a veil should finish a look, not battle with it! A-Line:  Closely following the "Ball Gown" style is the A-line gown.  This is probably the most popular dress style.  It is also often fitted at the bodice like the ball gown but not as full in the skirt.  Therefore, it is the most versatile style for choosing a veil.  Most any veil length and width will essentially work with this style because it is not as full as a ballgown style wedding dress.  Therefore, shoulder to cathedral length wedding veils will work well in 54" to 108" width veils. A-Line Wedding Dress by Jasmine Couture The Dropped Waist: This style of wedding dress has the waistline just above or below the hips.  We wrote earlier of natural lines on dresses, and this one can be a little tricky.  A short veil is really not recommend for this style because the eye is drawn down to the waist or hips.   A short veil may look confusing.  Therefore,  a fingertip veil or cathedral length veil would look best with this style of gown.  The best veil widths also would be more on the narrow or standard side, that being 54" or 72" widths. Dropped Waist Wedding Dress by Ines Di Santo Empire: This gown has a romantic "Sense and Sensibility" feel.  Typically this dress style features a scooped neckline with a short bodice and the skirt flows elegantly draping the body ending at the floor or a little bit train going out about chapel length.  A good veil length for this wedding dress style is the floor length (72"L) or chapel length (90"L) depending on the length of the dress.  If a brides goes with a shorter veil one might opt for a fingertip length or special cut style like an angel or flutter cut which looks exquisite with this dress style.  Shorter veils tend to look mismatched with this style of gown because the style itself tends to be more of a vintage vibe and a shorter veil has the feel of a more modern trendy look.  When it comes to choosing a veil width with an Empire style gown,  many brides choose a more narrow veil such as 54" or 72" width veil because these width do no produce a great deal of poufiness or fullness Empire Wedding Dress by Claire Pettibone Mermaid:  A mermaid style gown is fits like glove along the body down to the knee and flares out either sharply or gently depending on the style.  A good match for this style is a long narrow veil such as a chapel or cathedral veil  with a 54" or 72" width and no wider.  Mermaid dress already command your attention.  The veil should add the exclamation.  Not a question mark, so keep the veil sleek like the dress.  If you must go for a shorter length, choose a shoulder length veil that aligns with the top of the bodice of the dress.  This is also a great dress style where you can be more daring in selecting a more stylish veil such as pouf, bubble veil, or "grand puff" (stylishly gathered tulle or french net in a larger pouf worn around the head). Mermaid (also known as "Trumpet")  Wedding Dress by Mia Solano Sheath: A sheath style dress is narrow and fitted all the way down the body.   This is a great dress design for which several veil lengths, widths,  and styles can be coordinated.   As with the A-line dress, shoulder to cathedral lengths veils can all accompany this dress design.  The only consideration is if there is a definite visually obvious seam line at some point on the dress.  This may affect your choice in veil length because you do not want to creating more "lines" for the eye to focus on on such as stealth style as a sheath. Sheath Wedding Dress by Jenny Packham

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