Starting a new mini-series on wedding traditions – where they come from, why we have them and how to modernize them. Today, we'll look at the wedding veil, as iconic a bridal item as the white dress.
Why? Roman brides wore bright red veils called flammeum to ward off evil spirits. Later, they were symbols of purity and subservience, the lifting of the veil by the groom at the ceremony symbolizing his taking 'possession' of the bride from her father.
In ancient Judaism, the lifting of the veil took place just prior to consummation of the marriage. A story in Genesis speaks of how Jacob was tricked by Laban into marrying his homely daughter Leah, instead of the lovely Rachel whom Jacob was in love with, since the heavy veil was not lifted until the couple was in the bedchamber. This story resulted in the inclusion of the bedecken in Jewish wedding ceremonies, where the groom lowers the veil before the ceremony and lifts it again before the kiss.
Queen Victoria was the first bride noted who did not wear the blusher veil (which covers the face) when she married in 1840. Many modern women still wear the blusher out of the romantic tradition or opt for a veil that does not cover their face.
Options? If wearing a veil doesn't appeal to you, consider wearing a tiara, a cute cap or some flowers in your hair.
Photos courtesy of Brides