Veils & Headpieces
"Veil down, please!" - CARRIE BRADSHAW to SAMANTHA JONES
VEILS & HEADPIECES
Yet another decision for the Bride! Once you have selected your dress and settled on your “style, ” you will also need to decide how to wear your hair, and whether you want to wear a veil, flowers, hat or other headpiece. Of course, the options are endless. Whatever you decide to put in your hair, or on your head, it should compliment your dress. Not overshadow it-or you. And of course the headwear should be compatible with the style and the degree of formality of the dress.
We have heard a variety of explanations for the wearing of a Bridal veil. Some say that the veil had its inception in days long past when a bride stood beneath a canopy to signify that she was under the protection of her groom. And, to symbolize a wife’s submission to her husband. It was also thought to be a symbol of youth, modesty, and purity. Many religious traditions call for Ladies to cover their heads in places of worship.
At one time, it was believed that the veil would protect the Bride from evil spirits or goblins. Others contend that the wearing of the veil was to conceal the bride’s face until after the marriage. In an arranged marriage, the groom often did not see his wife until the wedding. By the time he lifted the veil, it was too late for him to run away if he did not like what he saw!!
We LOVE the explanation we found on www.chabad.org about why Jewish Brides wear a veil. Here is the explanation found there:
“The Torah continues to say that Moses' face was so bright with holiness, no one dared look at him. He had to wear a veil whenever he spoke to the people in order to filter the divine glare.1
This is also why a bride wears a veil. The souls of both bride and groom are in an elevated state under the Chuppah (marriage canopy), as they are about to unite as one. In the bride, this elevated state is more revealed. She radiates a special holiness…the feminine aspect of G-d, shines through the face of the bride.
This light is so intense that it must be veiled, just as the light emanating from Moses' face had to be covered. Holiness needs privacy.”
Whatever your background or beliefs, most brides choose to wear a veil or other headpiece for their wedding, even if they remove it for the reception following the ceremony.
You can purchase wedding headwear from bridal salons or special event stores. You can find tiaras, headbands and barrettes with bling at department stores, boutiques, and places like Sam Moon. But, if you are trying to make eco-friendly choices or you like the “buy small” movement, you may prefer other options. You can also have headpieces made by someone local. Or you can check out the many, many options available through www.etsy.com/category/weddings.
(If you are not familiar with Etsy, they describe themselves as a global handmade and vintage marketplace.) You can find more than 270,000 items in the Weddings category, some of which are Bridal headpieces. Even though an Etsy purchase is not local, we like the idea of buying small from individuals or small businesses.
http://www.veilshop.com/popular_bridal_veils.html FOR TUTORIALS ON LENGTH, NUMBER OF LAYERS, ETC.
As with everything else Bridal, veils come in many styles. Here are some of the basics:
- Center Gathered-May be made with tulle cut in a circle, folded in half and then gathered evenly at the fold and attached to a comb.
- Top Gathered-May be made with tulle cut first into an oval shape. Then, cut in half so that the top edge is straight across, and gathered all the way across and attached to a comb.
- Cascade Cut Veils-cut from a pattern that creates a cascading side effect resembling gentle waves down the sides.
- Drop Veils are cut like a round table cloth. The center of the circle lies flat on the head and drops down evenly all the way around. Covers the face, sides and back evenly.
- Mantillas-very little or no gathering at the comb. Usually one layer and tend to lie flat on the head.
- Cage Veils tend to be very short, just reaching the chin. Often cover the face and back of the head. Sometimes cover just the face.
Veils are usually attached to a comb, but this is not always the case. The Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton’s veil appeared to be worn without a comb. A veil can be pinned behind a tiara or headpiece, especially if there is something to rest the veil on-something for the pins to grip. Your hairdresser should be able to help with this, although if you want to channel Catherine’s look, it may be easier to have your veil attached to a comb, but only slightly gathered.
We found veils starting as low as $25, but many simple veils ranged from $50 to $160, depending upon where you shop, and the style you select. You can easily find veils trimmed with lace for $650 and more. Clearly, the more costly the fabric and the embellishments, the more hand-made lace, the higher the price tag. As always, the sky is the limit.
Check out http://www.antiquelaceheirlooms.com/VEILS2.html to see some magnificent antique lace wedding veils handmade from Brussels Lace or Tulle embroidered with 3D roses, leaves, wines, scrolls…Some are described as Museum quality and you can call for pricing. Definitely out of our price range, but gorgeous to “window shop.”
BLUSHER: The Veil may or may not come with a “blusher.” The blusher is a short veil worn over the face usually until the end of the wedding ceremony. The Groom would typically lift the veil and kiss his Bride. However, we have also seen the Bride’s father lift the veil before kissing her on the cheek and taking his seat. Blushers range in length from 20 inches to 30 inches and often are the top layer of a two-tier wedding veil.
VEIL LENGTHS: You should be aware that different manufacturers refer to veil lengths by different names, but we will offer some of the more common labels. Also, there are no industry standards regarding length, so one manufacturer’s Knee Length may not be the same number of inches as another. Take into account the height of the headpiece, the hairstyle and where the veil will be placed on your head. It really doesn’t matter too much exactly how many inches the veil is-as long as you achieve the overall look you want.
- SHOULDER LENGTH: From 18" to 27". Often worn combined with other lengths.
- ELBOW OR WAIST LENGTH: From 25" to 36". Some consider this length best worn with short or informal gowns.
- FINGERTIP LENGTH: From 36" to 50" depending on your height.
- KNEE LENGTH: Usually 45" long.
- WALTZ LENGTH, BALLERINA OR WALKING VEIL: From 54" to 60". The bottom of the veil should hit somewhere between your calves and just above the ankle
- CHAPEL or FLOOR LENGTH: This veil just touches the floor. It can range from 60" to 90". Commonly 90". According to this definition of Chapel Length, the new Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wore a Chapel Length veil at 72 inches. See: http://whatkatewore.com/2011/04/29/its-two-mcqueen-wedding-dresses-for-kate-middleton-day-and-night/kate-veil-up-down-mid-shots-getty-l-reuters-r/
- CATHEDRAL LENGTH: Traditionally used only for the most formal weddings held in a large venue. Best worn with gowns that also have cathedral length trains. Some experts say that one foot or more of the veil should extend onto the floor, past the train of the gown. This veil is dramatic as it trails after the bride. From 100" to 110"
- REGAL LENGTH: The longest of all veils. They can be as long as 144"-- or longer. Television personality Starr Jones is reported to have worn the longest veil on record at over 300 inches: a 27 foot tiara-topped crystal-encrusted veil.
COMMON WEDDING VEIL COLORS: The first wedding veils were reportedly often yellow or red with silver or gold threads. The modern Bride however, usually wears a veil that is white or a shade of white which can be labeled as off-white, cream, ivory, winter white, antique white, diamond white, candlelight, pearl, or champagne. That is only are partial listing of some of the color names applied to the various shades of white. Obviously, pick the shade that looks best with the color of your wedding dress. Be aware that different manufacturers will refer to the same shade of off-white by many different names or labels. Also, be aware that the color will look different depending upon how many layers of fabric are present. A single layer veil will have very little color to it as compared to a 3 layer veil. The highest of concentration of color in a veil will be where it is gathered at the comb or elsewhere.
- TULLE-Sometimes referred to as netting. The look varies with the openness of the “weave.” It can be made of silk, nylon, polyester and cotton. It is a sheer, transparent fabric with crispness to it.
FUN FACT: The name comes from Tulle, a city in the southern central region of France where the first un-knotted lace was made. The original tulle is called Bobbinet and it reproduces the hand movements of manual lace makers.
-Bridal Illusion. A label used by some veil makers to indicate a very fine netting which a diamond shaped weave, made from polyester.
-English netting. Made of cotton with a hexagonal pattern weave.
-Silk Tulle. Very sheer with a hexagonal weave. More soft and fluid.
- Embellishments such as pearls, crystals, thread which can be used along the edges and/or as scattered accents.
Take a look at VeilShop.com’s link below for sample fabrics, trim and embellishments.
TIP: If you are nervous about pressing your veil, ask the store where you brought it if they will steam it for you a couple of days before the wedding. But, be cautious if you are wearing a veil that is old or otherwise fragile. Make sure that anyone who handles the veil has a LOT of experience with working with delicate fabrics. You can transport your veil home covered in a pillowcase or a duvet cover depending upon its length.
MAY WANT TO COPY THIS SECTION TO WEDDING DRESSES
Note: The use of silk is not without conflict.
Some eco-conscious Brides will choose to wear what is known as Peace Silk, Ahimsa Silk, or vegetarian silk. Check out the Green Bride Guide for more info. In a nutshell, the controversy centers on the fact that conventional silk production calls for the cocoons to be processed with heat in order to kill the pupa. Ahimsa cocoons are all allowed to hatch and breed, but even this method is not without controversy.
According to that most exalted of sources, Wikipedia, the best known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm which is reared in captivity. The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fiber. Silks are actually produced by several other insects such as bees, wasps, ants, flies, spiders and even fleas. But, usually only the silk of moth caterpillars has been used for textile manufacturing.
According to Microscopy U, Silkworms are a type of moth, and they live only in captivity at present. They are grown in commercial operations around the world. All wild populations are extinct. Silkworms have been domesticated so long that they have lost the ability to fly and can no longer survive independently in nature.
BUT, perhaps that is about to change! Take a look at the link below for Discover Magazine under Not Exactly Rocket Science for a discussion of genetically engineered silkworms with spider genes. This process can allegedly spin super-strong silk.
Worn with or without a veil, headpiece options are (yes, as always) limited only by your imagination and budget.
CLICK ON THE GOOGLE LINK BELOW FOR ABOUT 2,700,000 IMAGES OF EVERY STYLE OF HEADPIECE YOU CAN IMAGINE!
HERE ARE SOME BASIC HEADPIECE TYPES:
- Crown. For our purposes, we are defining a crown as a headpiece that fits atop the head with the part that rests on the head being a complete circle. Usually, a crown will have a more prominent “silhouette” and is likely to be “taller” with a higher profile than its more subtle counterparts. We found crowns (some were called tiara’s) that were up to 13 inches tall. But these crowns appeared to be made for pageants and most were not featured as part of a bridal ensemble. Most of the crowns we saw were on average 2 to 4 inches.
- Tiara. These can look more like a headband and fit relatively flat on the head. Or they can be several inches tall and resemble a crown. Most tiaras are about 8 to 10 inches wide and attached with combs in the center or at both ends. Quite a few we saw were an inch to 2 1/2 inches in height at the center front.
- Headband. Can be made from hard plastic or stiff metal and covered with satin or any combination of embellishments. Or a headband can be made of fabric or ribbons which tie at the nape of the neck.
- Halo. May also be called a Hair Wreath or Hair Ring.
- Combs. HI hair
- Hair Picks. Also called hair forks. Can be functional to help hold a hairstyle in place, or they can be ornamental-or both. These accessories most often come with 2 prongs, but others have 3 or 4. The forks or prongs are typically about 4 to 5 inches in length and work well tucked into a hairdo. In some cases, the forks are smaller and are used to help hold a French Twist or other up-do in place. They can be made from metal, tortoise shell, wood, or hard plastic, and decorated with every bauble or material imaginable.
- Forehead Tiara or forehead band featuring crystals or other ornamentation which dangle or rest on the forehead.
- Hairpins. We are picturing bobby pins which are usually functional to help hold a hairstyle or other ornamental hair accessories in place. But some are decorative also.
Any of the headpiece types can be embellished with any combination of materials:
- Crystals. Both Swarovski and Czech Crystals are popular. Swarovski tend to be pricier.
- Faux or real pearls-often freshwater,
- Semi precious stones
- Repurposed vintage items such as pins, buckles, necklaces, cameos, stones, crystals, lace, tulle…
You can find headpieces at the same salons or boutiques where you purchased your dress. There are also hundreds of on-line stores offering every headpiece imaginable. We found hair accessories for as low as $15, for very simple pieces, but you will find a large selection of clips, combs and headbands in the $80 to $200 range. There are a few tiaras as low as $30, but you can find a much larger selection of tiaras ranging from $125-$500. Naturally, specialty items are available and the price will vary according to the materials used, the designer and many other factors.
For ideas, you might check out http://www.headpieceheaven.com/SO200.html. They have more headpieces that you can count. (Well, almost.) You can purchase a standard piece, or a vintage one-of-a-kind piece. We saw one made from a 1950’s Czech filigree pendant for $485, another made from a vintage rhinestone buckle for $145.
You can find many beautiful hand-made options on www.esty.com. We have included just a very small sampling to give you some idea of the endless variety:
RUBY AND PEARL MULTI-GEMSTONE FLORAL MOTIF GOLD TIARA. Offered at $600 and pearls, tiny rubies, citrine, peridot and crystals.
BRIDAL RHINESTONE HEADPIECE-STYLE 245-Offered for $325 and made with pearls, rhinestones, crystals and charms.
VIOLA-145-Offered for $145 and described as a pearl bohemian head wrap. It is a simple piece made from 5 feet of pearl chain that is connected to mini alligator clips.
LUX EXTRA LARGE ROSE HEADBAND-O86- Offered for $275 and made from silk organza petals and attached to a think silk wrapped headband.
ART NOUVEAU ZARINA TIARA HEAD PIECE WITH WHITE TOPAZ-Offered for $790 and handmade from sterling silver. This piece is very elegant with simple lines inspired by the fabulous jewelry of Russian czars.
THE MERMAID BRIDE HEADPIECE-Offered for $1,320 and made with moonstone, freshwater pearls, snakeskin, abalone, starfish, seashells and coral. This is a dramatic, one-of-a-kind piece that would not appeal to the average bride, but it is truly unique and spectacular in its way.
AS SEEN ON COURNEY LOVE-Offered for $1,200 and made to order with your colors. Unique and beautiful, but not for everyone!
THE SNOW QUEEN-Offered for $1,200 and hand-made from sterling, quartz stones, fresh water pearls, Swarovski crystals, clear topaz. This one may be more in keeping with a themed or fantasy wedding, and fun to look at.
JOSEPHINE BAKER-offered for $2,500. This flapper inspired headdress is all hand beaded using faux pearls and cut crystal and lined in white silk. Not for everyone, and not a good accompaniment to the average bridal dress. But it looks like beautiful handwork and it is very unique.
22K VINTAGE ANTIQUE OLD TRIBAL GOLD HEAD PIECE-OFFERED FOR $2,835, and made from a piece worn by Rajput tribal women in Northern India of 22K yellow gold, glass stones and pearls. A spectacular and exotic piece fit for a queen.
The Green Bride Guide has a section on how to find an eco-friendly option if you want to consider reusing, borrowing, or repurposing. Some of the etsy selections, and some of the on-line stores incorporate vintage items into their designs.
Not being a true headwear fashionista, this category of headwear was unknown to us until now. According to my favorite unimpeachable Internet source, Wikipedia, also called a cocktail hat, a fascinator is “an extravagant hairpiece worn on the side of the head.
Bigger than a barrette, modern fascinators are commonly made with feathers, flowers or beads. They attach to the hair by a comb, headband or clip. The fun, fanciful ornament is often embellished with crystals, beads, or loops of ribbon, and attaches via a comb or headband; some have a small, stiff, flat base that can be secured with bobby pins. Brides may choose to wear them as an alternative to a bridal veil or hat, particularly if their gowns are non-traditional.”
So, we are going to categorize the Fascinator as something between a headpiece and a hat. With the understanding that there is a lot of overlap both directions.
Naturally, you will find Fascinators of every description, price and style.
Really! We are not making this up!
We are including this section because it is somewhat amusing, although HATINATOR is an actual term. It emerged recently to describe the trend for smaller hats worn the same way as fascinators.
We are not at all sure where a Fascinator ends and the Hatinator begins. Or, where the Hatinator ends and the HAT begins. Not that it really matters…
Everything from ostrich feathers, fur, straw, felt, silk, tulle, velvet, ribbons, baubles and beads.
Depending upon the style of your dress and your wedding, you can choose from cloche, bonnet, picture, fedora, pill box, cocktail, beret, boater, cartwheel, Juliet cap, Top hat, Gainsborough…even cowboy.
If you opt for a hat rather than the more traditional headpiece and veil, you can choose from a romantic, traditional or whimsical look. You can opt for a low profile Juliet Cap to a romantic large brimmed picture hat.
In order to find the right hat for you, you need to consider the shape of your face, your hairstyle, the style of your event, and the proportions of the hat relative to your body size and your dress style. The hat should not overpower you or your dress and each should compliment the other.
You MUST try everything on together-The dress, the hat AND your hairstyle.
You should also consider where you will be wearing the hat. For example, if you are having an outdoor wedding on the beach, a large brimmed hat that may work perfectly in a sheltered garden setting will blow off your head in nothing flat on the beach.
To fit properly, a hat must fit your head comfortably, sitting above the ears. The hat should frame your face, not obscure it. You also do not want a hat that will cast shadows over your face and spoil your photos. To determine your proper hat size, wrap a tape measure around your head about one inch above your ear. Then add just a bit for “breathing room.” However, unless you are buying a hat in a specialty millinery shop, the hats you find will likely be sized small through large, or one size fits all.
In the US, we don’t see too many large or brimmed hats for the bride, but you will find a lot of small hats or fascinators with feathers or flowers and birdcage veils. These hats generally attach with a hidden comb or clip option, or are on a headband. Frequently, these accessories are worn to one side of the head and sport 3 dimensional ornamentation with feathers or other embellishment that come out or stream down from the hat.
WANT TO MAKE YOUR HAT THE FOCAL POINT?
If you really LOVE hats, you could choose your hat first, and formulate the rest of your wedding style AROUND the hat. This would be unusual, but not unheard of. You can find hats galore on the internet and if you want a truly unique hat, you might check ebay for vintage hats. Here is a fun article we spotted written by a collector of vintage hats to address the question of why some hats cost so little, and others cost so much!
The writer of the post recommended three books to help you learn more about vintage hats:
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss (JUST KIDDING.)
High Fashion Hats 1950-1980 by Rose Jamieson and Joanne Deardorff
1,000 Hats by Norma Shephard
Women’s Hats of the 20th Century for Designers and Collectors by Maureen Reilly and Mary Beth Detrich
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