The Mother of All Veils | Everything you need to know about cathedral veils
The mother of all wedding veils, cathedral veils offer a regal formality and sophistication like no other length of veil. As you can guess from the name, cathedral length wedding veils are designed to be worn in a cathedral style church or a similarly grand setting where the aisle is long and wide and your wedding dress and veil will be on full display.
If you’re planning your wedding in a small church or chapel, or a more modest venue, a chapel length veil might be better suited.
Not all veils are created equal and there’s no standard ‘cathedral veil’. They come in various lengths and widths, fabrics and cuts. We’ve pulled together everything you need to know about cathedral veils below!
Above: LOUVRE cathedral veil | Bespoke veil for bride Sara
1. If you want to make a statement, this is your go-to veil
The cathedral veil is grander than the versatile chapel veil and is best suited for cathedral and large church weddings with long aisles.
Often a cathedral length veil will be what your guests will notice the most as your back is facing them at the altar or as you stand sideways at the end of the aisle next to your beloved. A cathedral veil acts as an extension of your dress so a beautiful lace trim detail, crystal accents or pearl elements will be a striking focal point that will bring together all the elements of your bridal look.
Above: Bespoke veil for Sara | bespoke Alannah veil for Hollie | bespoke Margeurite veil for Elyse,
2. It may not be practical for your wedding venue
Let’s be honest, a 3-4 metre long veil may not be the most practical wedding accessory if you’re planning a beach wedding, a backyard gathering or a small intimate wedding in a restaurant or a quiet park.
But for these venues, a floor or chapel length veil can create a beautiful silhouette and offer a breathtaking finishing touch without the excess fabric. Floor length veils are often cut to 180cm and chapel length veils are generally cut to 230cm. Better lengths for more modest venues and locations.
3. A cathedral length veil is generally for the ceremony only
If you’re worried about your partner tripping or falling onto your veil during the bridal waltz, keep in mind that your cathedral veil is worn for the ceremony and wedding photos only. Your bridesmaids would have already removed your veil and packed it away safely.
A lot of our brides will pair their wedding veil with a headpiece or tiara, so that when they remove their wedding veil, their hair still looks beautifully adorned and complete.
4. Ensure your wedding hairstyle can support your cathedral veil
A cathedral length veil isn’t necessarily heavy, but depending on the cut and fabric of your cathedral veil, it can be quite tricky to manoeuvre if you’re weaving between guests or hopping in and out of cars. You will need to ensure your wedding hairstyle is strong and stable enough to support the weight and length of your veil.
A cathedral veil will need to be reinforced in your hair with bobby pins crossed over the teeth discreetly under the hair. This will prevent it from falling out if someone accidentally steps on it or the wild winds try to blow it out of your hair.
Above: THEODORE pearl wedding veil
5. Single tier versus 2 tier veil?
It’s a very common question – what looks best with my wedding dress? A single tier veil or a veil with a blusher layer?
Our response depends a lot on the dress, the venue, the personal style of our bride, cultural considerations, and of course, the vision of our bride.
For a lot of brides, a veil isn’t a veil without the blusher layer. The ‘lift and kiss’ is what the veil is all about for a lot of brides. In fact, we have worked with quite a few brides who personally don’t like the idea of a blusher layer but they know that their partner has always dreamed about lifting the veil to reveal their beautiful wife so taking that away from them is something they wouldn’t dare to do.
For some brides, the blusher layer has cultural significance and is also a religious requirement. For Christian or church wedding, covering the face and shoulders is important to show respect.
But when it comes to the dress itself and recommending single tier vs 2 tier veils, we like to look at the lines of the dress, the style of the gown and general proportions. A statement veil is the perfect finishing touch to accentuate the lines of the dress as it creates a beautiful silhouette.
6. Cathedral veils can vary in length
Generally speaking, a cathedral wedding veil is 365cm or 144 inches long. But it can vary between designers. This is a fairly standard length (give or take 25cm) but some wedding dresses with significance trains might be better suited to regal or royal cathedral veils.
A regal or royal cathedral veil is cut to 455cm or 180cm. This length is only recommended if you’re planning to wed in a large cathedral.
And of course, wedding veils are completely customisable so if you’re looking for a veil that’s somewhere in between these measurements, do get in touch as we can certainly accommodate.
7. Longer veils aren’t necessarily wider
A 3-4 metre long veil isn’t necessarily double the width of a standard veil. The width depends a lot on the style of the veil itself – i.e. whether it’s a full and gathered veil with lots of volume at the comb, or whether it’s more clean and modern, such a drop veil which features no gathers or volume at all.
It is possible to achieve a modern and minimalist look and feel but still have the grandeur of a cathedral length veil. Our favourite veil to customise is our AUDREY veil in this instance. As you can see with the AUDREY veil below, a simple wedding veil without any gathers at the comb, or a blusher layer, can look just as dramatic as a 2 tier gathered veil.
It’s important to take into account the proportions and style of your wedding dress when deciding on the best length and width. We love to work with our brides to create their perfect wedding veil and love to work through these details with them before they order to ensure they are 100% comfortable with their veil before its scheduled into production.
Above: AUDREY veil in chapel length (can be customised to cathedral length)
8. If you’ve fallen out of love with your wedding dress, a cathedral veil can add touch of magic to your bridal look
Sometimes we’ll work with a bride who has fallen out of love with their wedding dress. They may have loved the simplicity of their dress 12-18 months ago when they first tried it on but when they picked it up from the bridal boutique, it just didn’t wow them anymore.
The good news is if the dress fits, there’s many ways to fall back in love with the dress and often this is through finding the right accessories.
An extra wide and long wedding veil (shown below) can create a dramatic silhouette for a dress that might be on the simpler side. It can also be handcrafted with beautiful embellishments such as pearl or crystal elements for a look that’s glamorous and luxurious.
9. You don’t need to find a 3-4 metre tape measure
It can be hard to find long measuring tape. Try using a long piece of ribbon, string or yarn instead and then measure that piece of string against a ruler or tape measure. You might also find it easier to measure it in sections – a section from the head to the bottom of the dress and then a separate section from the bottom of the dress to where you’d like your veil to end.
Now you might be wondering how to measure once you’ve found some string or your improvised measuring device?
- Grab a measuring tape (ribbon, string or yard) and wear your wedding shoes, if you have them handy.
- Start the measurement where the top of the veil will sit. If you’re wearing a mantilla style veil, that will be at the top of your head. A veil comb will depend of your hairstyle – usually they’re worn at the crown, under or below your updo.
- Now let go of that tape and measure roughly where you would like that train to end.
If you aren’t sure what length veil will best suit you and your wedding dress, do get in touch. Please send us photos via our contact page of your wedding dress, your height and heel height measurement and we’d be happy to offer some advice and recommendations.