Should You Wear a Long or Short Wedding Veil?

           Do you ever feel like bridal terminology is a foreign language? All those phrases like "fingertip length", "cathedral length" and "drop wedding veil" are enough to make your head spin!

          Well I am here to break it down for you in this simple and easy guide that will help you to decide whether you should wear a long or short wedding veil. 

wedding veil lengths style guide


There are 2 main factors that go into determining the best length for your veil. You should consider:

     1. the silhouette of your wedding dress 
     2. the style and formality of your wedding and venue

We will be discussing both of these in more detail as we figure out what the best length and style is for you and your wedding dress. 

1) Silhouette of your wedding dress   

Fuller A-Line and Ballgown Wedding Dresses

In general, ballgown style wedding dresses or fuller gowns look more balanced with veils that are longer and more voluminous. You need a bit of volume and length in your wedding veil to look balanced and proportional with all that fabric of your wedding dress. Your dress is already dramatic, so you need a veil that matches the drama of your dress by elegantly extending beyond the train of your wedding dress. Long veils are perfect for the princess bride, the Cinderella-inspired bride, or for the bride who really wants to make a statement.

Cathedral length veils (that are generally beyond 100 inches in length), chapel length veils (that are around 90''), and floor length veils (that just gently skim the floor) are the most popular long veils. All of them will drag on the floor, making a striking visual impact that will impress your guests.

Let's take a look at a few examples of fuller gowns with longer veils...

spanish hacienda wedding with bride in long wedding veil on staircase

A line wedding dress with long cathedral wedding veil

 outdoor spring wedding with bride in classic wedding dress and elegant cathedral veil

 resort wedding with french lace dress and royal length wedding veil

classic elegant wedding with groom in blue suit and bride in lace and long wedding veil

Sheath Dresses and Other Slimmer Cut Wedding Dresses

Dresses that are more form-fitting and without a lot of volume work beautifully with shorter veils so that the veil does not overshadow your dress. So if you have a column style dress, a mermaid dress, a trumpet dress, or basically any slim cut dress then you should look into a mid-length or shorter wedding veil. Consider a fingertip veil (that ends at the fingertips), or an elbow veil (that ends at the elbows) to match the more modern look of your wedding dress. 

Let's take a look at a few examples of slim wedding dresses with shorter veils...

simple wedding veil for garden ceremony

moody vintage chic wedding inspiration with long sleeved dress and elbow length veil

woodsy boho wedding with bride in lace sheath dress and short veil

classic bride and groom with long sleeved wedding dress and simple raw edge veil

2) Style and Formality of Your Wedding   

What is your wedding style or feeling that you are trying to evoke? Are you having a more formal church wedding or is your ceremony and reception more laid-back and casual with a boho vibe? Different wedding veil lengths can be more appropriate for different styles of ceremonies and receptions.


Longer veils 

Long veils are more traditionally worn for formal and elegant weddings where brides want a sense of ceremony and royal opulence. Extravagance, formality, and grandeur are the name of the game for chapel and cathedral veils, and they make for an incredibly dramatic walk down the aisle. Not to mention they allow you to capture some stunning wedding photos!

You should ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you getting married in a church or cathedral?
  2. Are you having a "black-tie", formal wedding?
  3. Are you having a huge wedding with lots of guests in a grand, spacious ceremony space?

If you answered "YES" to any of the above, then maybe you should consider the more traditional long veil so that your wedding day look is just as formal and grand as your event and venue. 

formal black tie wedding at resort with bride in royal length lace applique wedding veil

Shorter Veils   

Maybe you are more of a "go with the flow" bride who wants a rustic, casual party vibe for your special day. You want something chic, stylish, and no-fuss. A shorter blusher, elbow or fingertip veil has your name written all over it.

Basically, you want a veil that is not so long that it touch the ground so that you are able to move around freely. A short or mid-length veil is a bridal accessory that is ideal for the fun, flirty, playful bride. It also works for brides who are nontraditional and who want a bridal day look with an alternative flair. 

fun playful boho bride for mountain wedding in lace fingertip wedding veil

If you are having an outdoor wedding, then a shorter veil is easier to move around in. A long veil can get caught up in the wind more and be a bit more cumbersome as you walk around. It's not that you cannot do it - I have had plenty of brides who get married outside who do choose a long veil. It is just that you will require the help of your bridesmaids a bit more as you move around.

So Long or Short Veil?

So in conclusion, long cathedral and chapel veils are more suited for wedding dresses that are fuller and for ceremonies that are more formal in nature. Shorter elbow and fingertip length veils are more appropriate for slimmer wedding dresses and for weddings that are more casual and relaxed. 

But please keep in mind that these tips are not hard and fast rules! These are just general style tips to get you thinking about what you may want for your fairy tale ending.

I wholeheartedly believe that your look is more unique than a set of simple guidelines. If you want a free styling recommendation from a bridal expert, then you can contact me HERE for a more detailed suggestion.