Veil Lengths: A Complete Guide
Veil lengths can be confusing, and choosing the right one can often be an extremely frustrating experience for brides!
For starters, the terminology will seem rather strange at first. It’s not so bad with shorter veils – they’re called things like “Waist length”, “Fingertip length”… fairly self-explanatory. But as they get longer this changes to “Chapel length” and “Cathedral length”, which isn’t quite as easy to visualise!
Secondly, there’s an old fashioned habit in bridal shops of measuring veil lengths by adding both layers together. The problem with this, in our opinion, is it assumes all brides are ordering two layer veils. Which, nowadays is not the case at all. In fact, we sell an equal number of single layer veils, to two layer veils.
You would only need a two layer veil if you plan to wear the veil over your face for the ceremony, and this isn’t as common as it used to be.
So, what we do is pretty basic. We just tell you the actual length of each layer from top to bottom, in inches. That way, if you’re measuring yourself at home, you know it’s the length shown on the tape measure, and you don’t have to add anything on or do any complicated jiggery-pokery.
In brackets next to the two layer veil lengths, we’ve added the combined length of both layers. We include this so if you’ve been given a measurement by your dress shop, you may find a figure you recognise there.
Our Veil Lengths
One Layer, Shoulder Length: 20″
The shortest and sweetest of our veil lengths. A token nod to tradition without taking anything away from the dress. A single layer shoulder length veil will end just at the top of your dress and provide a touch of softness to your look.
Two Layer, Shoulder Length: 18″+20″ (38″)
The two layer version has a little more fabric that will sit prettily across the shoulders. The size and shape of this short, quirky veil makes a great pairing for tea length dresses.
One Layer, Elbow Length: 25″
Elbow length veils are another great option for brides looking for a short veil, but with a touch more flow than the very short shoulder length veils. This length looks great with a vintage 50s 60s bridal look.
Two Layer, Elbow Length: 20″+25″ (45″)
The two layer version in this length has a 20 inch blusher. If you’re hoping to wear your veil over the face, you may wish to go for waist length which has a slightly longer top layer. The extra length means it’s able able to reach further over your hair and headpiece.
One Layer, Waist Length: 30″
We’re now reaching the more traditional lengths. Often, in dress shops, this waist length veil would be the shortest length available. It’s sometimes described as elbow length as well so just check the measurements. It’s great for A-line gowns with a natural waistline. The bottom of the veil should draw attention to the waist.
Two Layer, Waist Length: 24″+30″ (54″)
Depending on where you wear this length – i.e. right on top of the head or closer to the nape – it will sit around waist level on most brides. If your dress has a corset back or a detail that extends down lower than waist height, we would suggest not visually cutting that detail in half with a shorter length veil. Instead, the hip or fingertip length (or longer) would be more suitable.
One Layer, Hip Length: 36″
The hip and fingertip length veils create a very similar effect. In bridal shops, the lengths typically skip from waist (54 inches) to fingertip (72 inches), but we felt there was a need for an in-between option. Call it a “petite fingertip”, if you will. When we try on veils with brides in our boutique, we often find that for brides 5 foot 4 inches and below, a hip length veil worn at the back of the head, as is currently popular, can actually look more like a fingertip length veil.
Two Layer, Hip Length: 30″+36″ (66″)
The two layer hip length veil is the first length with a full size blusher at 30 inches. It’s a gorgeous, floaty length that you could happily dance the night away in. If you choose a veil that is centre gathered, like our picture, you’ll also have pretty side pieces that will sit around the arms and shoulders if desired. This length would be great with a corset back dress as it would finish just underneath it.
One Layer, Fingertip Length: 42″
One of our two best-selling lengths (the other, chapel), fingertip length is an ideal length for mermaid/fishtail style gowns. This is because the veil ends at fingertip level just before the skirt kicks out at the knee. This creates a very pleasing look as it makes sense visually for it to end at that spot. It’s a great combination of dress and veil styles.
Two Layer, Fingertip Length: 30″+42″ (72″)
Another one of the most popular veil lengths, the two layer fingertip veil is often described as a 72 inch in bridal shops. It’s a great option for many brides. For a short veil it’s still long enough to look flowing and elegant. It should end somewhere arround a bride’s fingertips but naturally this will depend on her height.
One Layer, Waltz Length: 60″
Waltz (sometimes known as ‘Ballet’) length is the most recent addition to our fantastic range of veil lengths. It’s essentially as long as it gets without actually touching the floor. At five feet long it’s perfect for any brides who want the look of a long veil without worrying about manoevering it around. It could also be a great option for a dress with no train, or maybe even an ankle length tea dress.
Two Layer, Waltz Length: 30″+60″ (90″)
Along with the potential benefits we highlighted above — having the look of a long veil with none of the hassles! — we also love the way the waltz length veil ends just before the trains starts to flare out. Perfect if you have a detailed train, perhap with lace. If you opted for a cut edge veil in this length it would almost seem to disappear into the dress just before the show-stopping train.
One Layer, Floor Length: 78″
Floor length veils, though perhaps not as popular as chapel or cathedral length, are a great option for those who’d like a full length veil and whose gown is without a train of its own. It’s the first of our veil lengths to fully touch the floor. The length of 78 inches equates to 6 foot 6 inches, so you could use your own height, plus heels, to figure out how much of it would skim the floor. But in general, it creates just a small puddle train. Great for slim boho style gowns which are often without train.
Two Layer, Floor Length: 30″+78″ (108″)
The two layer floor length veil is a pretty option for many brides. The small pudde train effect is easy to manage and the blusher layer means you can do the traditional lifting of the veil. Be sure to check the length of your gown’s train before ordering a floor length veil. We recommend that once the veils reach floor length, they should extend past the end of your gown for the best effect. Most dresses with trains need a chapel length veil at least.
One Layer, Chapel Length: 96″
The most popular length by far, chapel length, and the single layer version in particular, has always been our bestselling style. We have more designs in this length than any other for that very reason. Not only do they look beautiful with any dress, they also make amazing photography props giving your photographer so many fun and pretty pose options to use. Like trailing the veil down a grand staircase, or letting the breeze catch in it. So pretty!
Two Layer, Chapel Length: 30″+96″ (126″)
Could there be anything more classically bridal than a full length veil worn over the face? The reason the longest lengths are named after chapels and cathedrals is because they suit the grandness of those locations perfectly. In your bridal dress shop, you may have heard this length called a 126 inch veil. It’s slightly more popular than the ultra-long cathedral length below.
One Layer, Cathedral Length: 114″
Look. Some dresses, and some brides, for that matter, just need a cathedral length veil, okay? If an ultra-long veil has always been your dream, we say go for it! A veil that extends past the ends of the dress, particularly if it has lacey detail at the bottom, is just about as classically bridal as you can get. And we’re here for it! If you have the veil made in the widest width (108 inches) as well, you can create the most beautiful floor spread that will look ah-ma-zing in pictures!
Two Layer, Cathedral Length: 30″+114″ (144″)
On a slightly more serious note, some trains do genuinely need a cathedral length veil. If you try to pair a chapel length veil with a cathedral length train, it’s going to end a good few inches shy of the end of the dress and look slightly strange. If you’re not sure if you need chapel or cathedral length, send us a picture of your dress. Preferably taken from the side view. We’ll take a look and try to calculate how many feet sit on the floor. We can’t guarantee we’ll be able to figure it out from a picture, but if not, we’ll let you know how to measure up next time you try the dress on.
Something Else to Consider
You may notice, especially in the long veils towards the end there, that the width of the veil also plays a big part in the overall appearance. Look at the difference between our one layer cathedral veil example which is in our full width. And then look at the two layer cathedral in medium width. Quite a difference, right?
For more on this topic, read our Veil Width Guide.
So that’s it. We have imparted all knowledge from our heads into yours and we hope you found our guide to veil lengths super helpful! Of course, there’s nothing quite like the personal touch. If you’re still hopelessly lost and need some one-on-one advice on which of our veil lengths to go for, just send us a picture of your dress and tell us whether you’re thinking of having a long (floor, chapel, cathedral) or short (shouder to fingertip) veil, and we’ll be more than happy to help.