Wednesday, January 6, 2010

to veil or not to veil?

I've been thinking a lot lately about wedding headgear. It's really easy to get caught up in the hoopla of pretty feathery flowery lacey tulley hair accessories. They're all expensive, though, so I'll definitely be making my own. But what will it be?

The thing I'm having the most trouble with is the idea of the veil. Is it unfeminist to wear one? Would I feel like I'm getting married without one on my head? Though that might seem like a stupid question, I have looked at pictures of veil-less brides and thought "She just looks like a girl in a white dress to me". Now, this isn't true of every bride sans veil that I've ever seen, but it makes me wonder.

I think it's time to consult Google. Here are some of the things that a wedding veil can be or represent; protection from the elements; protection from evil spirits (in ancient Rome, women wore bright red veils to confuse demons - I think this is awesome); and the bride's viriginity/protection of her modesty and purity (only first-time brides could wear veils, because they were virgins, and in pre-veil times women just wore their hair down to symbolise purity).

When the groom lifts the bride's veil, it means that he accepts her. This is why some feminists feel that the veil represents the man's ownership of the woman. A possible compromise to this is having the bride lifting the veil instead, meaning that the couple are equals.

This doesn't really solve a lot of my problem. Veils are worn for aesthetics and tradition now, and you can't really say which one is more significant. Some feminists wear veils because they just like veils. A friend of mine said that she wore her veil simply because she liked the idea of it scaring off evil spirits, and it made her feel pretty. Maybe I'm too concerned about fitting into one definition of "politically correct"?

I decided, on the aforementioned friend's advice, to try some veils on and see how I looked in them and how I felt. I looked through my wedding boutique photos. I tried on a few veils during that quest (and ended up with a dress from a thrift store - best $9.50 I ever spent). The first photo I found was in a cute-ish dress and an albow length, fairly standard white veil. I didn't look terribly impressed. However, in the photo of me in a simple dress and a cute birdcage veil, I look ready to burst into happy tears. I think I may have a winner...

What do you think, ladies and gents? To veil or not to veil? What did you do?
PS: I did consult my fiance on this, and he was fine either way, but did indicate that he thought I'd look lovely in a veil.

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