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
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
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
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
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.
Have you ever wondered about the history of marriage?
Photo by Nicole Kipar
Many years ago the process of marriage was simple and straight forward, and in fact, a contract of sorts. Marriage took place in 2 steps:
capture and purchase.
First, the groom would gather his “bridesknights” and ride off together to another village to capture his bride.
Next he would purchase that bride, which included legal contracts involving a bride and her dowry. The bride was sold by her family for land and livestock.
Photo by Ephemera Obscura
Years later, arranged marriages came about. Arranged marriages united families in an effort to either gain power or change their social status. Single women had no place in society. Sadly, this was not a marriage based on love.
Unequal marriage, a 19th-century painting by Russian artist Pukirev
My, how times have changed.
Today we are blessed to have the opportunity to marry the person we fall in love with and live happily ever after!