So what’s all the fuss about the wedding veil and is it still relevant for today's bride?
The veil dates way back to when bride’s were untouched, pristine, virginal maidens being wrapped up, with their faces hidden and delivered for “arranged”marriages. The veil also was thought to hide and protect her from any evil spirits that might try to cause her harm or unhappiness. Today the veil is the oldest and ultimate wedding dress accessory and may or may not have a “blusher” veil that hides the face.
Veils are usually made of tulle (course open weave through to silky fineness), but can also be made of chiffon, lace and have pearl or beading decorations or even floral appliqué. The length and style is usually selected to compliment the style of your wedding gown, the formality of the wedding and the dramatic impact your are going for, the hair style you want to wear and combine with any other head pieces or hair accessories. Veils come in various sizes - bird cage (4-9 inches) Shoulder Length Angle Cut (20 - 22 inches), Modern Blusher (30 inches) Elbow (32 inches) Fingertip (38 - 40 inches) Knee Length (48 inches) Waltz (60 inches) Floor Length (72 inches), Chapel (90 inches) or Cathedral (108 -120 inches). ALWAYS try on a range of veils with the wedding gown you have decided on, to make absolutely sure they compliment each other and give the overall look you want.
The traditional wearing of a veil has lessened a bit in modern times, with some brides choosing not to have one at all - opting for alternatives of fascinators, flower crowns, tiaras or other blinged up hair accessories or head pieces. Some brides choose to incorporate these with a veil as well. From your wedding photography and videography perspective, wearing a veil, especially a long veil, can be SPECTACULAR!
Veils are very softening and give a romantic feel to your images. There are so many amazing shots you can get with a veil - through it, under it, behind it, wind catching it, even just walking with it can look AMAZING!
So if you do decide you want to wear one, here are some tips and tricks on how to ROCK IT!
It’s not as simple as you first think. If you just walk towards the camera front-on your veil will bunch up behind you and your dress and not really be seen, so I tell my brides to hold the edges of their veil gently between their thumb and forefinger around hip height, or a little lower, with a gentle bend in their elbow and walk, with a natural movement of the arms. This looks like wind is picking up the veil around you. You can also try to walk on a single track - one leg crosses over each time to stay on the same imaginary line - this gives a catwalk swing to your hips and looks absolutely fabulous!
WRAP IT UP BABY!
I ask the bride to wrap the veil around herself and move it from side to side, open and close it and basically forget I am there. Just have fun with it and look off to the side, look up to the light, look at the camera and just keep it gently moving and having fun with it. This can be done both with the blusher veil over your face (if you have one) and without.
ILLUSIONAL WIND SHOTS
You need an “assistant” for this (it can be a bridesmaid, guest or even the groom if he’s not going to be in the shot). The trick is for the assistant to not be too close to the bride so the fall of the veil looks natural. You also don’t want to try to throw the veil up in the sky as again the fall will not look natural as to how it would if it were actually being picked up by the wind. All they need to do is pick up the veil at its full length and stretch it out just a little bit and let it go when the photographer counts them in.
DOWN AND DIRTY
This is where I lay down on the ground with my Sony G Master 16 - 35mm wide angle lens around F16 and actually shoot from underneath the veil - an assistant can hold the veil out to help and create a gentle wave movement in the veil, as I lay underneath it, and I get the bride to slowly walk away from me - moving her veil as instructed in the WALKING tip.
I use my kiss arse portrait lens that I absolutely love, my prime Sony G Master 85mm F1.2 to get that creamy bokeh and shallow depth of field. The trick is to have the veil flow in an out of the lens as much as possible, causing it to be in and out of focus on the frame edges and create gorgeous leading lines. I hold the end of the veil with one hand and the camera in the other and shoot on high speed continuous! There will be some crap shots I obviously cull and reject but there will be some truly awesome and spectacular shots as well.
I hope that this helps you decide on whether to wear a veil or not, and remember you don't have to wear it all night long - you can always take it off!