Covering a bride?s head with a veil or a hat today is purely an aesthetic decision but the history of bridal head decoration is a lot more complicated and quite bizarre.
Imagine your hair twisted and waxed into a punk-like spire coming straight from the top of your head; an attractive look for your wedding day? Well, ancient Romans used to do this to the bride in order to protect her from ?horned demons? and keep her pure. Funnily enough the trend never really took off.
Historically, hair was considered unclean and headdresses were often used to hide it since it was only fairly recently that regular bathing caught on. In the 1600s conical headdresses were placed on the bride?s head, possibly in place of the ancient Roman ?spike? look, and a full-length veil was attached at the tip.
The historical significance of the veil is three-fold. Firstly they were worn to confuse evil spirits and goblins which, for some odd reason, were thought to hang around brides on their wedding day. Secondly, as most marriages were arranged, the veil was used so that the groom wouldn?t bolt before the ceremony if he didn?t consider the bride attractive enough. It was also considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony so the veil helped obscure her from his vision. This latter superstition is something that many brides still adhere to today.
Time has dictated the trends in terms of what is hot for bridal headwear. In the 1920s the cloche cap veil was popular and was decorated with lace and satin or velvet ribbon. During this time, headpieces were generally more elaborate because the dresses tended to be more simple and formless.
The flappers of the 20s were fond of floral wreaths.
Veils today come in different styles, including centre-gathered, oval-cut, mantilla or drop.
All good wedding shops will offer advice on an appropriate hats or veils to complement your wedding dress.