If you’ve ever gone wedding dress shopping or watched an episode of Say Yes to the Dress, you know that when you get close to finding the right dress the sales consultant will quickly slip a veil on your head in an effort to complete the “bridal look” (and close the sale). If you’re me, they may even tell you something like, “Eighty-five percent of men surveyed identified the veil as the biggest signifier of a woman looking like a bride”—which is pushy, bizarre (are these men trying to identify brides in a police lineup?), and I’m pretty sure completely made up. If you’re me, you went into dress shopping completely set on getting a tiny, practical, not-too-bridey birdcage veil, so maybe you spend a few minutes laughing with your best friend over the full-length cathedral veil and blusher currently on your head. You look like a Magazine-Ad Bride or a Movie Bride, not a Real-You Getting-Married Bride.
But then, a few months later, after the dress has been purchased and fitted, the ceremony written and the reception details finalized, you have a dream about your wedding day. In the dream, you’re standing outside of yourself, watching your ceremony. And when you see yourself, you’re wearing a veil. So maybe, if you’re me, you go out shopping again and find an elbow length veil trimmed in sparkly crystals and this time when you put it on with your dress, you really do feel like a Real-You Getting-Married Bride.
The veil was initially (for whatever reason) a symbol to me of a frou-frou traditional bride who wanted to be a princess on her wedding day. It was a symbol of everything about being a bride that I didn’t want to be. But over time, as our engagement progressed, I became more comfortable with the fact that I got to define what kind of bride I wanted to be; I wasn’t defined by what I put on my head. So I chose to put a sparkly veil on my head and on my wedding day I looked exactly how I had wanted (literally) in my dreams.
With that in mind, here is a roundup of veils that (really) don’t suck, for those of you who have suddenly decided that a veil won’t make you part of some patriarchal veil-selling conspiracy, but will instead make you awesome.
1. Juliette Cap Veil by JulesVeils via Etsy ($99 and up for cap and veil) 2. Draped Tulle Veil by sibodesigns via Etsy ($225) 3. Chapel-length Lace Veil by sibodesigns via Etsy ($295) 4. Drew Veil by Sara Gabriel via Bella Bleu Bridal ($157) 5. Charisse Veil by Sara Gabriel via Bella Bleu Bridal ($157) 6. Ellen Cathedral Veil by Wedding Belles New York via Nordstrom ($115) 7. Mantilla Veil by SmithaMenonbridal via Etsy ($105 and up) 8. Kate Veil by Sara Gabriel via Bella Bleu Bridal ($277) 9. Dotted Fingertip Veil by MelindaRoseDesign via Etsy ($250) 10. Beaded Scallop Juliet Veil by danani via Etsy ($230)
Editor’s Note: You’ll notice most of these veils are from Etsy. If you see something you like, but it’s not quite there, lots of Etsy sellers are happy to create a custom piece for you. Just ask!