Wedding Traditions and History: The Veil

Did you know, the wedding veil predates the wedding dress by hundreds of years? The word veil means to cover, obscure or mask. Furthermore, the bridal veil has been a symbol of purity and modesty for centuries.

Photo by Jose Villa

Photo by Jose Villa

Brides in ancient Rome wore a veil to cover and protect them from evil spirits. These veils were typically red and painted with flames. By concealing their face, they would hopefully frighten and confuse the spirits prior to the wedding ceremony.  These veils were also thought to protect them and keep them from being kidnapped.

Photo by Gertrude & Mabel Photography

Photo by Gertrude & Mabel Photography

One legend of the veil dates back to Isaac and Rebekah’s love story in the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. Rebekah’s veil, a sign of modesty and respect, was large enough to wrap around her face and body.

Photo by Kate Webber

Photo by Kate Webber

During the days of arranged marriages, it is believed that the veil was used to keep the bride’s features hidden until the ceremony was completed. If the groom saw her before he paid the bride’s price and did not like what he saw, he could refuse to marry her.

Photo by Sasha Gulish

Photo by Sasha Gulish

Today, the veil is still an important part of the bridal attire and one of the oldest traditions to stay true to its origin. Nowadays, many brides still follow the romantic tradition of not being fully seen until her husband lifts the veil during the ceremony.

Photo by Gertrude & Mabel Photography

Photo by Gertrude & Mabel Photography

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