Women love their accessories and on their wedding day its no different. The shoes, the flowers, the embellishments on the dress or the jewelry they wear is all meant to add something extra, add a pop of color or some drama to the traditional wedding garb. Even though the modern wedding accessories have left behind their traditional meaning or purpose most of them still find their way into wedding days here in the 21st century. One of those accessories that have stood the test of time with or without it’s historical use is the veil.
Dating back to biblical times and probably even before that the veil was used in wedding ceremonies. Typically used to symbolize virginity or to present the bride to the groom by revealing her face at the alter, the veil was an important “accessory” even back then. Like I said, here in the 21st century the veil is still widely used even without its original symbolism or meaning. Many brides use the veil more as fashion than purpose and I am totally ok with that. I would say about 75% of the weddings I have photographed have had a veiled bride. With all of those weddings and veils I have discovered my two favorite types of veils. The cathedral length and the bird cage. Why these two? Because they are so much fun to photograph! The cathedral length veil can always add some dramatic elements to the photograph and serve as a accessory and a prop! The bird cage veil while still less seen is probably at the top of the list for me. It’s simplicity elegance draws me (and a lot of people) to them. When I find out one of my brides will be wearing a bird cage I get really excited! The look is just so classic and timeless.
What I have done is gone through my weddings from the past few years and picked some of my favorite veil shots to share with everyone. I hope you enjoy the images!
(in no particular order)
1. Stacy and Damon under the veil. I love this shot because the veil serves as a cover for both the bride and groom and draws your eye to them without being too distracting. The soft leading lines take you from anywhere in the photograph directly to the couple. It softens the rest of the image to make you focus on them.
2. Kerri in the windy city. A lot of times when a bride has a long or cathedral length veil I help that veil get some volume. It may be my assistant or a bridesmaid holding up the veil and releasing it at the right time. But with this photo I didn’t need help, I just needed what Chicago is known for. Wind. Up on the terrace of the hotel we were playing around with the veil and after some lackluster attempts to make the veil “fly” the wind came up and showed us how it is done. A soft yet strong breeze picked up and took the veil for a ride.
3. Paris. The only bird cage to make my list. Its classic and timeless look begs for the black and white treatment. I don’t think any other veil would have worked for Paris. She was destined for a bird cage veil. This shot immediately became a favorite of mine, not just because of the veil but I love the look in her eyes and body language. But that veil just sets it off!
4. Ashley & Rossi. Much like Kerri’s photo, nature helped in this one. Right at the end of Ashely and Rossi’s first dance the breeze picked up Ashley’s veil and showed it off beautifully. While the veil isn’t extremely dominant in the photo I think the slight lift of the veil off the back of the dress adds so much to the photo. It helps the viewer focus on Ashley and her embrace on her new husband instead of sunset (even though that is beautiful as well).
5. Jennifer. This is the photo that inspired this whole post. My most current photo of this set and another one of those photos that stole my breath as soon as I looked at the back of my camera. After a couple of failed attempts to get this shot (including the veil coming out of her hair) This image was the last photo I took of this pose. My assistant Alisha helped the veil take off, but right before I pressed the shutter a slight gust of wind pushed the veil towards me. This was the result, a gorgeous portrait of Jennifer on the steps of the cathedral.