A Brief History of Wedding Veils
Today we’re taking a trip down wedding fashion memory lane with a history of wedding veils over the last 100 years. Wedding veils have been an iconic bridal accessory for decades, often reflecting the changing trends and styles of each era. From the glamorous 1920s to the fashion-forward present day, veils have seen remarkable transformations in length, design, and embellishments. In this blog post, we’re going take a nostalgic journey through the history of wedding veils over past 100 years, exploring the wedding veil styles of the last century by highlighting a popular veil style from each decade and examining how these styles have shaped the bridal aesthetic.
Join us on our journey through a century of wedding veil history featuring incredible styles from times gone by!
1920s: The “Flapper” Veil
In the Roaring Twenties, the Flapper style veil reigned supreme. Inspired by the bold and rebellious spirit of the time, this veil featured delicate draped lace or tulle cascading down the shoulders and a fastening straight across the forehead or at the hairline. Often adorned with intricate beading or embroidery, this veil perfectly complemented the iconic flapper-style dresses, adding an air of elegance and mystery to the brides of the Jazz Age.
1930s: The Cap Veil
The 1930s embraced a romantic and feminine aesthetic, epitomized by the cap veil. This style featured a small cloche cap, sometimes called a skull cap, and was often adorned with lace appliques or embroidered details, which framed the face. From the cap, a sheer veil gracefully flowed down, creating a soft and ethereal look. Juliet caps, a later modification, had fewer embellishments than cloche veils and were worn more loosely over the bride’s head. The Juliet Cap veil perfectly harmonized with the era’s elegant and flowing wedding gowns, adding a touch of vintage charm to the bride’s ensemble.
1940s: The Birdcage Veil
During the wartime era of the 1940s, brides embraced simplicity and practicality while still radiating elegance. The Birdcage Veil emerged as a stylish alternative requiring minimal materials that still exuded a sense of stylish charm. Made from netting or veiling, this short veil elegantly covered the face, usually stopping somewhere between the eyes and chin. The Birdcage Veil beautifully accentuated the bride’s facial features and was often paired with glamorous updo hairstyles and tea-length dresses, reflecting the iconic fashion of the decade.
1950s: The Blusher Veil
The 1950s ushered in an era of femininity, grace, and classic glamour. The Blusher Veil became a popular choice, characterized by a short double-layered veil that delicately covered the bride’s face. This veil style symbolized the timeless tradition of the bride’s unveiling, adding an element of anticipation and romance. The Blusher Veil perfectly complemented the sophisticated, modest gowns that were prevalent during this era.
1960s: The Bubble Veil
The 1960s represented a time of spirited exuberance and innovation. The Bubble Veil became a popular choice, featuring a voluminous design that enveloped the bride’s head, creating a playful and modernist look. This short veil was often made from several layers of sheer tulle fabric, adding dimension and whimsy to the bridal ensemble. The Bubble Veil perfectly complemented the short, A-line wedding dresses and bouffant hairstyles that defined the fashionable trends of the era. The most famous bride to wear this style was, of course, Priscilla Presley, after whom we named our own modern take on this short veil style.
1970s: The Bohemian Veil
Influenced by the free-spirited, hippy vibes of the 1970s, brides’ veils in this decade featured lots of floral elements. The bohemian style often combined a crown or headband adorned with flowers, typically daisies or wildflowers but sometimes lace florals, intertwined with a soft, ethereal veil. Or the florals could be found on the veil itself, as a lace or embroidery detail. The Bohemian Veil exuded a natural and romantic aura, reflecting the wild, carefree spirit of the times. The Bohemian, or boho, look made a significant resurgence in recent times and is still a popular wedding day vibe today.
1980s: The Bouffant Veil
The 1980s produced extremes in all areas of fashion and bridal was no exception. The poofy, fluffy Bouffant Veil is a prime example of the over-the-top stylings of this decade. This extravagant veil was often short and extended out in all directions. Often adorned with lace trims or intricate embellishments, along with a headpiece that was attached directly to the veil.
1990s: The Simple Tulle Veil
The 1990s was a real transition decade when it comes to wedding veil styles as we moved from the poufiest, most over-the-top styles imaginable to something much more simple by the decade’s end. In contrast to the elaborate styles of the previous decade, the 1990s embraced simplicity and understated elegance. Gradually moving from full and fluffy to simple and sleek as the most popular veil style of choice. The 90s veils often featured a clean, unadorned design, usually made from sheer tulle in various lengths. The focus was on clean lines and minimalist aesthetics, which harmonized with the more figure-hugging wedding dresses that became popular towards the end of the decade.
2000s: The Cathedral Veil
The 2000s continued the simple and understated trend in bridal fashion but with an emphasis on length. The Cathedral Length Veil became a symbol of luxury and drama in the early noughties. This extra-long veil extended beyond the train of the wedding gown and was often adorned with lace trims or intricate embellishments. As headpieces gradually evolved from floral and lacey pieces to more sparkly metal-based headpieces and tiaras, the Cathedral Length Veil would often be accented with crystal or rhinestone beading to match. This created a regal and breathtaking statement, perfectly complementing the strapless ballgowns and princess-style A-line wedding dresses of the era.
2010s: The Drop Veil
The early 2010s marked a return to romance and softness in bridal fashion. The Drop Veil gained popularity early on in this decade after Kate Middleton wore one to her wedding to William, followed shortly after by her sister Pippa and then, more recently, Meghan Markle. This veil style involved a sheer, circular piece of fabric that delicately framed the bride’s face and gracefully cascaded down without any gathering at the crown. The Drop Veil exuded an ethereal and timeless appeal, often paired with elegant, flowing gowns or form-fitting silhouettes.
2020s: The Statement Veil
As we enter the current decade, brides are embracing bold and unique accessories more than ever before, including the Statement Veil. This modern veil trend overshadows all others in the history of wedding veils with its grand, show stopping designs. Statement veils often include elements of traditional veil styles such as lace, beading and embroidery, but in a longer, much more exaggerated design. Veils of lengths upwards of 5 metres are becoming commonplace (we may need to thank Meghan Markle for that one). Brides are also choosing to make a statement by, well, literally making a statement. Veils with bold stitched writing on them are increasingly popular too.
To see some of the statement veils we have made recently, do check out our Instagram account!
Over the last century, wedding veil styles have evolved alongside changing bridal trends, reflecting the unique fashion sensibilities of each era. From the flapper-inspired veils of the 1920s to the modern statement veils of the 2020s, these iconic accessories have continued to captivate brides with their timeless elegance and ability to transform bridal looks. Whether traditional, minimalist, or avant-garde, veils will always play a cherished role in the celebration of love and individuality.
Note: Although we’ve highlighted one style per decade, there are definitely overlaps and styles that spanned more than one decade or that have since come back into fashion after being gone for a time.
We hope you enjoyed reading our blog on the history of wedding veils!
Credit: All photos via Pinterest,