How to Pick Your Veil Based on Your Wedding Dress

Photo: Matt Andrews Photography

While a veil is no longer an absolute must for the modern bride, many engaged women are still choosing to wear them, mostly because, well, it makes them feel like a bride. The trick is knowing what type of veil to pair with what type of wedding dress to make the most impact. We asked several renowned bridal experts to share their top secrets.

A Heavily Embellished Gown

If you have your heart set on a heavily beaded or embellished dress, you can go one of two ways with your veil. For the princess-y bride who loves sparkle, a classic, raw edge cathedral veil with scattered Swarovski that will ‘twinkle' as you walk down the aisle is absolutely stunning, says Carla Imbriano, lead designer at Boutique de Voile. Another fitting option she suggests is “a veil with minimal matching beadwork along the edge.”

A Simple but Stunning Dress

If a bride has a simple dress and wants to amp up the drama without any embellishments, an angel cut veil trimmed in satin, horsehair or organza is always a good choice, notes Kleinfeld Fashion Director Terry Hall. “It will frame the face of the bride beautifully, and when it cascades down, you'll see a spiral of fabric on the edge that gives you that dramatic look and feel.” A veil with touches of light lace is also very elegant styled with a simple dress, says bridal stylist and wedding expert Renée Strauss.

A Dress with a Statement Back

A breathtaking ornate or sheer illusion lace back is a popular trend. To show off your backside, Imbriano recommends a special custom cut cathedral without any accents (beadwork or crystals) in the body of the veil. Think sheer and chic and remember to steer clear of multiple layers of fabric.

A Gown with a Long Train

As long as your gown doesn't have a ton of back detail, you can pretty much wear any type of veil with a dress that has a long train, tells Hall. His favorite, however, is by far a cathedral veil. “It's so interesting and creates a dramatic, ethereal look.” Just make sure the veil extends past the train, he advises. This is particularly important if the train on the wedding gown is heavily beaded, adds Strauss.

A Modern Dress

For brides opting to go the contemporary route (think fit-and-flare, mermaid gowns and tea-length dresses), a more modern style veil is perfectly appropriate, points out Elisha Caplan, Designer and Owner of Elisha Caplan Veils & Headpieces. “These are the short, layered, square-cut and blusher styles. A short veil (shoulder to elbow length) is great for a tea-length dress or a city hall dress,” she says.

A Vintage Wedding Dress

If your something borrowed happens to be your wedding dress, why not go all out with a birdcage veil to match? “It will become the ornate part of the ensemble,” says Strauss.

A Short Wedding Dress

The shorter the dress, the shorter the veil! “For a sassy, cocktail length gown or shorter, we love a birdcage veil, or better yet, a whimsical multiple layer veil in a shorter length … something reminiscent of an Audrey Hepburn movie,” say Imbriano.

A Beachy Bohemian Dress

Getting hitched oceanfront? According to Strauss, a chapel veil is great for a beach wedding when you want the veil flowing in the wind but not to be too cumbersome.

This article was written by Elizabeth Mitchell for

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