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What is the history of the bride's veil? And could you enlighten me on when and if it should be raised. My groom wants to unveil my face before the kiss. But I've also seen it where the person giving away the bride unveils her. What is customary and what would also be not permittable. Or is there such a thing? If I sound confused....I am. I am also a first time bride who just turned 50....(a very young looking 50, I might add:)

Our wedding is September 6 of this year and it is an after 5, elegant wedding. Please help! And thank you for your time and expertise..

Excellent Question!

Congratulations on your engagement and a bride is a bride regardless of her age.

Now... on to the history of the veil.  

As in many similar issues of lore and tradition, the story of the origin, history and purpose has more than one variation.  

However, the most accepted is that the veil represents the hymen, symbolizing the bride is a virgin. Older civilizations would obscure the bride's face to hide her from evil spirits, Victorian culture used it to give the bride a place to hide those oh so unbecoming emotions.

And before you ask...the white dress of the bride symbolizes never married, while the veil indicates a virgin bride.  

The Father of the Bride would pull back the veil at the presentation during the beginning of the ceremony so the groom could see her face.  This ties in to the biblical story of Jacob being deceived into marrying his intended Bride Rachel's sister because her face was obscured by the veil.  Over time, the veil would remain in place over the shy bride's face during long ceremonies so that when the groom would lift it prior to the kiss it would symbolize the breaking of the hymen.

Hollywood encouraged the romance of the veil being pulled back right before the kiss at the end of the ceremony...because isn't that such a great visual moment?  

But, let's talk REALITY....

First, most people really don't understand what the traditions and symbology of all the wedding elements mean anyway so in today's very modern era, it is the advice of most wedding professionals that any couple should really only keep and use the symbols and traditions that mean something to them personally.

Second, the chances are pretty good that if you're having a full wedding with a veil and all the other trappings, you are hiring a professional photographer.  Someone you will pay a great deal of money to capture the emotion and moments of the day.  The emotions you most want to catch will be yours and the groom's.  Do you envision using photos in your album or home that have your face covered by a veil or would you rather have photos of you in all your bridal splendor?

Third, think about visual perspective.  Your family probably wants to see your face during the ceremony rather than that piece of fabric.  You probably want to be looking into your soon to be husband's eyes directly as you exchange vows rather than through a veil.  He may prefer to see you as well.  What do you want to see most during those fleeting but important moments, the obstructed view or every image you possibly can?

There isn't a right or wrong answer, but, the veil is no where near as critical as it once was.  It is far more important that you focus on what you want out of the day than it is to continue a centuries old and arguably out dated tradition.

But, let's say that you love the idea of at least the walk down the aisle with that old world vision of yourself in a veil.  Let's also say that the groom really is looking forward to the Cary Grant moment of pulling back that veil to give you that Hollywood version of the first married kiss.

Consider a layered approach to your veil.  One that has a longer veil that your Father can pull back at the presentation of the bride, leaving a very short blusher that won't obstruct your face but still leaves just a hint for the groom to dramatically lift at that picture perfect first kiss.

An alternative could be a Birdcage or Russian veil.  Instead of full fabric, just a hint of large open mesh that allows the sparkle of your eyes to shine unhindered without any of that pesky hiding but still give him something to lift before the kiss.  Incidentally, most Fathers that have the daunting task of the veil are rather nervous about doing something 'wrong' in that second right before the ceremony and are relieved to be free of the burden.  Veils that get lifted often end up in some awkward back of the head clump that is a distraction or creates odd photos.  You could end up with a bridesmaid messing with the back of your head while juggling two bouquets or a kite like flyover hovering somewhere back there.  The well meaning attempts of others to correct the veil for you will draw attention to their efforts and away from the two of you.

A final a wedding expert, I personally consider a wedding veil to be one of the most overpriced element of wedding attire.  Some of these veils are literally hundreds of dollars and when the ceremony is over, most brides remove them hours before they had planned for comfort's sake.   Are you planning to dance and eat your wedding dinner with all that fabric on your head still?  Your beautiful hairdo could be hidden most of the day by the veil or the veil could end up doing a number on your style as it does get removed. Or, are you going to wear it only for the ceremony, leaving that very expensive bit of fabric resting in some backroom on a chair?  If you examine it from the how many minutes am I going to wear it, it could actually be something like $50 a minute or more (if you wear it for a 30 minute ceremony, and photos only, it could be worn for only 90 minutes.)

I won't get into the likelihood of most women these days being a virgin bride in the first place, by the way.

If, when you envision yourself in your wedding finery, a veil is a must have, by all means, wear one.  They are lovely and nothing makes a women feel like a bride more than gorgeous lace or tulle cascading down her back.  However, I advise you to take the time to consider the logisticial realities of the ceremony, the day, and the photos you want to have available to you after the BIG DAY when you consider when it gets lifted.  If a veil is still part of your plan, embrace it.  You only have to make yourself and your groom happy.  But, if you can think of somewhere else in your wedding you can spend S300 to $900 (or higher) and get more satisfaction, there is a great deal of very charming bridal hair jewelry for you to consider.  As long as you aren't using REAL diamonds, these are often pretty and affordable.

So, think it through and you will know what you want to look like and look through on your wedding day!  I think you'll make a choice you are very excited about.

Let me know what you decide to do in the end!



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Ronni Johnston


I can easily answer any questions related to wedding planning, bridal consulting, wedding officiating including ceremony and vows ideas. I have a strong suit in discussing decorating, logistics and theme weddings. Discussing the issues of budget, maximizing the value of the budget and avoiding unnecessary expenses is a common subject. As a bridal consultant issues involving family issues and social expectations fall into my epertise as well. I can answer many questions involving wedding vendors but would be limited to the 'end user' side of technical services such as wedding photography, videography and various forms of digital services, like the specifics of setting up a slideshow. I understand and can answer questions involving when it should be used, who we should hire to do it, but the set up and which equipment to best use I would be referring to a vendor.


I have owned and operated my own Bridal Consultant company, Perfect Touch Custom Weddings since 2004. I have worked, and continue to work as a wedding officiant for over 17 years. I am an Accredited Bridal Consultant and Certified Wedding and Event Planner. I teach a wedding and event planning class at the local community college through Lovegevity's Wedding Planning Institute. I am the director the the Association of Bridal Consultants Local Networking Group - Wichita. Outside the wedding industry, my event planning experience is extensive including planning 3 yearly educational conferences in a multi-state union, album/cd release parties, concerts, renaissance fair in a private setting, trade shows, wakes, funerals,memorial service, retirement parties, high impact birthdays and much more.

Association of Bridal Consultants, current status Accredited Bridal Consultant.

The KS/Mo current edition of the Knot Winter Issue of WedPlan KS

In this industry, my educational credits are the designation and training for Accredited Bridal Consultant with the Association of Bridal Consultants. I also have the designation of Certified Wedding and Event Planner.

Past/Present Clients
We do about25 to 50 weddings per year as either full service or day of only. We perform well in excess of 100 wedding per year as officiants. My clients have ranged from elaborate weddings with budgets in excess of 100K and 8 hour receptions to simpler affairs with tight budgets - sometimes even the cake and punch variety. We've had clients with unique themes and clients who ask for most or all of their wedding planning to take place in very short periods of time. Our typical wedding is 175-200 guests, a budgget in the 30K-50 range. This past year, there have been smaller weddings with guests of 100-150, budgets in the 15-25K range. The largest wedding guest count we've handled was just over 600. We've handled several wedding with more than 200 and 300 guests. "We" means my company where sometimes my partner has to handle the day of details because I have one of my own but I have been responsible for all planning and supervise all details for each wedding.

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