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How to choose the perfect veil

A wedding veil is the ultimate bridal accessory, but which type to choose?

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A veil will complement and enhance any style of wedding dress, instantly adding an air of innocence and epitomising the traditional idea of a fairytale bride. You only have to conjure up an image of Grace Kelly in her stunning cathedral veil when she married Prince Albert of Monaco to understand why many brides feel compelled to wear one on their wedding day – especially as they are often family heirlooms, handed down through generations. But it’s important to remember that some lengths are more flattering to certain dress styles and figures than others.

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  • Blusher Measures about 20in and is traditionally worn over the face and sits just below the chin.
  • Shoulder This veil measures about 30in and hangs to the shoulders. It’s a good choice if you’re wearing a simple sheath dress.
  • Elbow At 54in, this length is more eye-catching than a shoulder length veil and looks great when teamed with a contemporary or full-skirted dress.
  • Fingertip This hangs to the fingertips and usually measures 72in. It’s not recommended for petite girls under 5ft 4in as it ends mid-thigh and can make legs look shorter.
  • Waltz At 108in, this veil hangs to the knees –long enough to take the emphasis away from a wider waist. It’s also called ballet or princess length.
  • Chapel This length – about 126in – needs to be measured carefully as it should just touch the floor. Make sure you wear your wedding shoes to the fitting.
  • Cathedral This floaty fairytale veil measures about 144in. It looks stunning with a full-length dress and is perfect for a formal wedding, but it may overshadow all but the most elaborate dress.

Little extras

It’s not just the length you need to think about when it comes to choosing your veil. Once you’ve decided on the length you need to think about the quality. Fine silk veils are more expensive than man-made materials such as nylon but will drape softly, whereas nylon is stiffer and usually better for short, bouffant veils.

On the edge:You can choose between scalloped or straight edges, or a lace or satin trim.

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Veil decoration: Lace, crystal, diamanté, sequins, pearls, feather, embroidery… the list goes on.