Bridal Veil



When marriages were arranged by family members, the newlyweds very rarely were allowed to see one another. Family members exchanging a dowry were afraid that if the Groom didn't like the appearance of the Bride's face, he might refuse to marry her. This is why the Father of the Bride "gave the Bride away" to the Groom at the actual wedding ceremony. Only after lifting her veil just prior to the ceremony did the Groom see the Bride's face for the first time! Early Greek and Roman Brides wore red or yellow veils to represent fire, and to ward off demons.

The bride’s veil and bouquet are of greater antiquity than her white gown. Her veil, which was yellow in ancient Greece and red in ancient Rome, usually shrouded her from head to foot, and has since the earliest of times, denoted the subordination of a woman to man. The thicker the veil, the more traditional the implication of wearing it.

According to tradition, it is considered bad luck for the bride to be seen by the groom before the ceremony. As a matter of fact, in the old days of marriage by purchase, the couple rarely saw each other at all, with courtship being of more recent historical emergence.

The lifting of the veil at the end of the ceremony symbolizes male dominance.  If the bride takes the initiative in lifting it, thereby presenting herself to him, she is showing more independence.

Veils came into vogue in the United States, when Nelly Curtis wore a veil at her wedding to George Washington’s aid, Major Lawrence Lewis.  Major Lewis saw his bride to be standing behind a filmy curtain and commented to her how beautiful she appeared.  She then decided to veil herself for their ceremony.

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