the change of wedding veils through the decades

When you think about a bride, what do you see? Do you see a woman in a gorgeous gown with a beautiful bouquet and a stunning veil? An iconic part of a bride’s ensemble, bridal veils have enjoyed a real renaissance over the last few years. We love vintage weddings and looking back to see what brides of the past have worn can be incredibly inspiring. So, join us as we step back in time through the decades…

wedding  veils through the decades

Images: Top Row Left via Histomania | Top Row Right via Tumblr | Second Row Left via Chic Vintage Brides | Second Row Right via Buzzfeed | Third Row Left via Off Beat Bride | Third Row Right via Pinterest | Bottom Row Left via Flickr | Bottom Row Right via Pinterest (as before)

The Edwardian era onwards

In Edwardian times, every bride wore a veil. They were seen as a sign of modesty, purity and innocence so were an essential part of every bride’s ensemble. After Queen Victoria started the ‘trend’ for white wedding dresses, the Edwardians increased the size and scale of wedding dresses and veils followed. Brides of this period wore big veils and families showed their wealth by opting for fine lace or embroidered designs. They were often held in place with flowers.

The 1930s saw silhouettes become much sleeker and this trend impacted brides too. Gowns and veils made a statement through their simplicity and Juliet cap styles were popular. Moving on into the 1940s, the bridal accessory changed again, mostly as a result of wartime rationing. Brides from wealthier families usually had an antique design or fabrics that they could re-purpose but as everyone still wanted to wear a veil, lots of creativity was needed to get around the restrictions of the day. Brides would barter for rare fabrics or use alternatives such as parachute silks or net curtains which they would then embroider to make them look more ‘bridal’!

When rationing came to an end, brides went to town and elaborate gowns and accessories were all the rage. Exquisite laces, longer lengths and even multi-layered veils were popular and by the end of the decade, fashion-forward brides had started wearing bridal hats with veils cascading from these. This trend continued on into the 1960s but veils became shorter as hemlines rose. Layered, voluminous designs were really popular as were birdcage designs, beloved of brides looking to step away from the tradition of the trailing veil.

Hats were back in the 1970s with lots of brides wearing large lace hats instead of veils. In an era when feminism was taking hold, women shunned the idea of covering their face with lace to signal their purity and instead wanted a more modern alternative. The 1980s were big in every sense of the word so big veils made a bit of a comeback and, influenced by the Royal bride of the decade, more women wore tiaras and headpieces to mimic Princess Diana.

Then, as weddings started to change, the veil fell out of favour a little. Women were less keen to wear one and, with so many stunning bridal headpieces available, there were opportunities for brides to ‘do something different’ and for a while, the once popular wedding accessory lost their place in a bride’s ensemble.

take a look back at wedding veils over the decades

Images: Top Row via Pinterest (as before) | Second Row Left via Ritzy Bee | Second Row Right via Pinterest (as before)| Third Row Left via Halfway Hippie CA | Bottom Row Left via Brides | Bottom Row Right via Pinterest (as before)

Modern day

However, if we come back to the present day, veils are back. Modern day designs are so varied that whatever style of wedding you’re planning, there will be one that suits you perfectly. From full cathedral length styles to the quirkiest of designs (macramé anyone?), the range available is bigger than ever before. Our love of vintage inspired weddings is also linked to the popularity of veils now because, as we’ve seen, if you’re influenced by brides of the past, you simply have to wear one!

Written by Tamryn Lawrence


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