Photo by Amanda Temple
While many people believe that wearing a veil on one’s wedding day began as a religious tradition meant to signify the purity and obedience of the bride, you may be surprised to learn that the veil has been around much longer and has a greater significance in relation to the concept of marriage than you’d think!
Bridal veils actually predate modern religions such as Christianity, with ancient Romans wearing a veil called a flammeum, meaning “fiery” or “flame-like,” in a deep yellow colour that was highly esteemed and granted as an exclusive privilege to women to wear for their bridal veils. The flammeum left the face uncovered, instead enveloping the rest of the bride’s body. Understood as a good omen for a lasting marriage and fidelity, the flammeum was the most prominent feature in a Roman wedding, with the bride considered as being “clouded over with a veil.” The word “nuptials” actually comes from this idea of the bride being in a cloud of a veil, with the Latin verb nubere “to be married” linked to the Latin word nubes, or “cloud.”
It wasn’t until the advent of Christianity and other religions that the bridal veil came to represent purity and modesty, with the groom’s lifting of the veil to symbolise his taking possession of his wife. The veils also went from being colourful to white, corresponding with the increased popularity of white dresses in the nineteenth century after Queen Victoria wore a white lace dress to her wedding in 1840.
Nowadays, you can opt for a more modern blusher, which is much smaller and covers just the face, or a veil that elegantly falls down your back without covering your face at all. Or, break from the tradition entirely and go veil-less! Whatever you decide and whatever traditions or beliefs you plan to incorporate into your wedding ceremony, find something that makes you feel beautiful and confident.