It is Wednesday….time for some wedding trivia!
Veils come in many shapes and sizes…and yes, even colors. This has been a part of wedding tradition for many, many years. But where did the tradition come from? It turns out this lovely fashion accessory worm by most brides comes from a devious past.
Not always white…
Veils first came on the scene in Roman times and it was in fact red. A red sheet, called a ‘flammeum’, was used to cover the bride in her entirety. This red sheet (or sometimes yellow) was made to look like fire. This was a way to ward off evil spirits that would come about to ruin her special day.
As time wore on the veil became a way in which to disguise the bride from the evil spirits…I guess they were none to bright and therefore did not need the entire red sheet trick. The veil was still in place as the husband was not supposed to see his bride until the nuptials competed and the marriage consummated. The unveiling of the bride was done by the groom to show the transfer of “ownership” from the father to the husband. Sounds kind of creepy to me!
Veils were also used for some trickery! In days of arranged marriages, it was prudent for the oh-so-unfortunate looking bride to hide her face away until the deed was done! By hiding her face, her groom could not look upon her and decline the marriage offer. Once the marriage was consummated there was nothing for this poor groom to do but to be content with an ugly wife.
As if all this was not enough many veils worn in the “dark ages” were weighted down. This was to prevent the bride from being able to run away. Imagine a long veil covering most of your head and face. Now imagine it stretching for several feet behind you, weighted down with rocks and other material to make it next to impossible to run.
In today’s society, the reason for the veil is more of a fashion choice than any sort of warding off of evil spirits or tricking your husband to be. Veils can be long or short. Worn over the face or just tucked in the back. A bride-to-be has endless choices for her veil. I myself, I wore a lovely veil that was tucked under my mounds of curls and cascaded down my back to just below my waist. It will be a lovely keepsake that I shall pass along to my daughter if she chooses to wear it on her wedding day.