From the time they were young, some brides have always imagined a long billowing train flowing out behind them as they walk down the aisle. Long and dramatic, this type of wedding veil is known as a cathedral length bridal veil. It's a striking addition for any wedding day look and is a popular and stylish choice for today's modern (yet traditional) bride. Often associated with more formal weddings in a church or cathedral (think Princess Diana), these type of veils make a statement piece for any wedding day style.
What exactly is a cathedral veil and what are some things to keep in mind when trying to find the right one? The following lists some key considerations that brides should keep in mind when looking for the perfect cathedral length veil.
What is a cathedral veil?
A cathedral veil is the longest type of wedding veil a bride can wear. It is usually associated with the image of a long train of tulle flowing out behind the bride as she walks down the aisle. Worn attached with a comb or fascinator to the back of the bride's head, these veils stretch out and often extend pass the end of the bride's gown to the floor behind them as they walk down the aisle. Long and sometimes billowing, these veils make quite a statement as part of a wedding dress ensemble.
How long is a cathedral veil?
There are differing opinions on what is the exact length for a cathedral veil but most agree that the standard length of this type of veil is around 120 inches. In general, it will measure out about 2-3 feet from a bride's waist. Longer cathedral veils can measure around 144 inches depending upon the look the bride wants to achieve on her big day. Custom made veils can be created in any length, of course, but the generally accepted length for a cathedral veil is around 120 inches. This measures from the bridal hair comb to the end of the veil.
Things to consider when selecting a cathedral length wedding veil:
There are certain things to consider when looking for a cathedral length bridal veil. How wide should it be? What type of edging is appropriate? How many tiers? How long is it planned to be worn?
Width: A bride should consider the width of her wedding veil. As with other types of bridal veils, cathedral veils can come in a few different widths. The width chosen can impact the overall look of the veil and it can impact the “maintenance” needed by others to place and arrange it for a bride once she walks down the aisle.
– Narrow Width: A narrow width cathedral veil (generally thought to be around 54 inches) will work well for a bride who wants her veil to trail directly behind her. This type of cathedral veil is especially practical for walking down aisles that are limited in space. This also will work well in aisles that would have items in wider areas that would snag or catch the veil when walking past (such as a rocky pathway for an outdoor wedding). Note that with a narrow width, however, a bride may not be able to wrap the veil around her shoulders. The veil will primarily stay behind the bride in a rectangular sort of look.
– Standard Width: A standard width cathedral veil (generally thought to be 72 inches) is the most popular choice for today's brides. This width allows the veil to not only to flow out in a circular fashion behind the bridal gown but also to wrap around the shoulders of the bride should she want to take photos with her veil from the front. This is the most popular type of cathedral veil width for today's modern bride.
– Wide Width: A wide width cathedral veil (generally thought to be 108 inches) has the largest statement of all when it comes to cathedral veils. Fanning out behind a bride, this type of width allows the veil to arc out in all directions, creating a beautiful semicircle behind the bride. Note that this veil will have a lot of material in which the bride and her attendants must deal with in terms of placement during and after the ceremony but it can make a beautiful statement piece for a wedding day look.
Edging: There are many types of veil edging that one can choose for a veil. In terms of edging, a bride should first and foremost choose the look that she likes. In addition to the look of a veil, a bride should also consider the weight that an edging can give to a veil. Having no edging at all (known as a “cut edge”), allows the veil to be as light as possible for the bride. This look is great if the bride would like the veil to “float” as it makes the veil very light. A simple corded edge allows the veil to have a finished look but it won't add too much weight. A ribbon edge or a satin corded edge (sometimes called a rattail edge) will give the veil a little bit of weight and might be more appropriate for an outdoor wedding where a bit of weight might help with wind type of issues during the ceremony. Brides can also chose a decorative or beaded edge which will add cost and weight to the veil but will look beautiful in any setting. A general guideline to remember is that the more edging and material chosen, the more weight that the veil will have.
Tiers: Cathedral Bridal veils can come in a single tier (one layer of material), two layers or sometimes even three or more. Most standard veils are either one tier or two tiers. If it is a two tier cathedral veil, the bride can use it as a blusher or just enjoy the look this type of veil conveys. Choosing between one tier or more is up to the preference of the bride for her wedding day look. In terms of a two tier cathedral veil, the bride should consider the extra weight that a two tier veil will add to her overall look. While it won't be an overwhelming addition of weight, certain hairstyles may work better than others to help keep the veil up and in place.
Length of Wear Time: Because cathedral length veils are designed to be long, a bride should consider the length of time in which the veil will be worn. Often this type of veil is worn for the ceremony and for pictures but is taken off for the reception. The bride should have a plan on how she wants to deal with her wedding hairstyle if the veil is removed for the reception. Often a wedding hair comb or other wedding hair accessory is purchased to give the bride a focal piece for her hairstyle once the veil is removed. Some brides purchase a secondary shorter veil to wear in place of the cathedral one.
Cathedral wedding veils are a beautiful choice for many brides today. The long, flowing look of a cathedral veil can accent many dress types and wedding hairstyles and can make a dramatic statement for a bride's wedding day look. With some thought regarding the overall look of a veil and thoughts regarding how long, how wide and the general weight of the veil, a bride should be able to find and purchase the right cathedral length veil for her wedding.
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