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The history and meaning of wedding veils

March 22, 2016

Perhaps the wedding veil is the most symbolic piece of bridal ornament regarding a traditional bride. There are many myths in regard to the history of the wedding veil and its origin can be traced back centuries, even predating the wedding dress by many hundreds of years. Here is a look at the story behind the veil and the reason why it continues to be worn today.

The wedding veil was a custom rooted in the belief that a bride was vulnerable to evil spirits and in need of protection from them. As for Romans of ancient times, a bride would wear a fire or flame designed veil so as to frighten away vindictive spirits who would be jealous of her happiness and might kidnap the wife-to-be before she could be delivered to her groom. The interesting thing is the Roman word used to indicate a woman marrying is “nubo” which can be literally translated as “I veil myself”.

In ancient Mesopotamia and Persian cultures, a husband-to-be was required to cover a veil over his bride’s face in order to declare that she now was his wife. The law of that time also clearly defined who could be veiled and who couldn’t, so being embellished with a veil might be a privilege. For example, it was stated in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi in 1790 B.C. that only high-class, free women were allowed to wear a veil when getting married while slaves, low-class women and prostitutes were forbidden to be veiled.

The veil was also used in arranged marriage during Middle Ages to obscure the bride’s features and not until the ceremony was over did the groom could lift it up. This was mainly to ensure the groom might not back out from the deal in case he was not satisfied with her appearance.

In Christian religion, the meaning behind the veil at first symbolized modesty and obedience. As time passed by, it followed suit when white bridal gowns were worn to signify chastity. And by lifting up the bride’s veil, the groom could state his “possession” of his wife.

The veil became very small by the mid-20th century, sometime just covering the bride’s eyes and coordinating with the simpler of wedding dresses. It could be attached to the bride’s hat or even secured to her hair with a comb.

Nowadays, the veil no longer has it superstitious affiliations and is instead embraced for its association with bridal accessories which can “top off” the bride’s outfit.

No matter what the origins, the veil has evolved over time and become a fundamental component of the traditional bridal attire. Therefore, choose a veil coordinating perfectly with your wedding dress and enjoy your special day – a day to be remembered for a lifetime.

TGW offers you a wide selection of veils under complimentary to match your dream gown – from cathedral to 10 meters long to suit your venue.

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