History of the Wedding Veil

>> Thursday, June 02, 2011

I was thinking the other day, how did wearing a veil during a wedding ceremony get started? I always assumed it was symbolism for discretion or to create mystery and a dramatic edge to walking down the aisle. Once the veil is lifted this is the reality of who you get; all my love and sacrifice, thus the vows. This is the point to no more hiding or holding back. We are about to become one.

My on-line research gave some interesting facts how the wedding vial came to be. There is controversy of where the idea originated. One tale is that it started in arranged marriages when the fathers of the bride would cover the daughter. During bargaining with the prospective suitor, it kept him from backing out of the deal. The daughter would be revealed only after the the wedding ceremony.Then the veil was lifted to reveal his bride.

Some believe the veil originated in Ancient Rome where bad spirits are attracted to the bride so the veil obscured her features to ward them off. Roman brides used a red veil and Greek brides often used a more yellow colored veil. Others believe the veil originated in the Near East for protection against natures wind and sun, to protect and keep her modesty and to protect her husband from being killed due to her beauty. For Christians in the 13th century common women and prostitutes were forbidden from wearing veils. In England bridal hats and bonnets were worn then later the veil was rekindled and worn as a short tulle veil with the hat. According to Ann Montserrat, an English historian, wearing the veil over the face returned to style in the 1860's.

She also stated, “There is a superstition that an old veil is luckier than a new one, and that luckiest of all is a borrowed veil, especially if on loan from someone who has been happily married, or from a member of the bride’s own family. But superstition is no match for fashion.”-Ann Montserrat. It is recorded that the longest veil was worn by Princess Dianna at 25 feet until Star Jones made wedding veil history. Her veil was her two feet longer than Princess Dianna's veil. It is now known as the longest veil to be worn by a bride and thus named the "Star Cathedral Veil".

In Medieval times the veil protected the bride from evil and was a sign of modesty and purity. In biblical times there is a scripture that I always enjoyed reading as I find it romantic. It is about Isaac, who it is believed, was getting along in years, so his elderly father Abraham sent his senior servant in charge of all he had, to go and get his son Isaac a wife. After the senior servant found sweet-hearted Rebekah and convince her to meet Isaac, she gets on her camel for the long journey. This is the account of her response upon seeing Isaac (Genesis 24:62-67):

62 Now Isaac had come from Beer Lahai Roi, for he was living in the Negev. 63 He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. 64 Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac. She got down from her camel 65 and asked the servant, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?”

“He is my master,” the servant answered. So she took her veil and covered herself.

66 Then the servant told Isaac all he had done. 67 Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Isaac was probably praying and hoping for a wife as he went out into the field to meditate. He sees them approaching. Rebekah sees him and he must have taken her breath away as she climbed off of her camel and whispered to the servant who was with her, "Whose that?" When it was confirmed by the proud servant that "this is who I was telling you about" She made a significant gesture and pulled her veil over her head to cover herself. (Sounds like the whole process of our modern day wedding ceremony)!

Very interesting huh? Today, in my opinion, the veil is the crown of the wedding gown. I leave you with an image of a beautiful modern day bride in her stunning veil: My good friend Lady Jennie from A Lady in France.


Unknown June 9, 2011 at 2:18 PM  

Awwww you sweet thing! I only just got over here now, although it's been on my mind to visit.

Love you.

Catherine June 13, 2011 at 3:58 PM  

A beautiful veil really does make a wedding gown even more stunning. I love weddings. Everything about them. I love the traditions, and I love the blushing brides and the nervous grooms. Ahh.. love is so grand.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for leading me to yours.


HeartsMakeFamilies June 20, 2011 at 12:17 AM  

I've always heard that the veil was to show respect from one family to entering the new one. I love the veil and wore one myself.

I need to put more on the jokes blog. I'm not sure if I met with Shannon or not. What blog does she write?