Bridal Veils Pt. 1

May 3, 2010 — Leave a comment

Whenever I’ve been at a wedding where the bride has worn a veil, I’ve felt like I had to be extra good – no whispering, no turning back to see who’s behind me, kneeling when I’m suppose to. Well that’s how if felt to me.  Obviously I haven’t shaken off my growing up Catholic.

I’m not a wedding historian and I’m not trying to become one.  However, I love finding out the stories behind a lot of our traditions.  My interest for next couple weeks is the bridal veil.

The origins of the bridal veil isn’t really clear and there seems to be a number of theories of its’ purpose.  It’s had it’s own evolution and has stood the test of time.

I think what I’m most familiar with about the bridal veil is it’s representing purity, virginity, submission to the husband – the presentation of the bride to her groom.

But Did you know?  Or more accurately this is what I’ve read….

  • Veils weren’t originally white (just like wedding dresses) – Greek brides wore a scarlet veil.  Scarlet was associated with the God Hymen – the God of Marriage.   Brides of Roman times wore the color Saffron.
  • People believed that veils would protect the bride from evil spirits.  My question there would be why are the evil spirits only going after the brides?
  • The veil also came in handy in arranged marriages as it could keep the bride hidden from the groom before the deal was sealed. I can only imagine how stressful the lifting of the veil for both parties.  Now, if  I was the bride back in those days I think I’d close my eyes to avoid seeing his first reaction.   I’m just too sensitive.  Hmmm I’m sensing a new Reality Show.
  • It’s possible that the veil originated in the Middle East.  Bridal parties traveled under a canopy of sorts.  And the veil became the mini version of that.
  • A second theory is that the veil originated in ancient tribes who would cover their brides up completely as a symbol of purity.
  • The bridal veil popularity did dip at a point (more about that later).  But it does seem popular now.  Well that’s what I conclude from  Say Yes to the Dress. But I’m guessing not for the same reasons.

Why do you think brides wear veils today? Is it because it completes picture of the bride? Is it more of a fashion statement then tradition? What do you think?

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