What’s in a wedding veil? It’s the iconic headdress you see at traditional weddings, usually overshadowed by the bride’s dress. Some have a mile-long embroidered train running behind them while others opt for a chin-length style that requires less maintenance. The thing is, you probably haven’t noticed much more than these broad characteristics when it comes to celebrity wedding veils. Veils, as recognizable as they are in wedding fashion, are not appropriately respected as works of brilliant craft and skill. As summer wedding season rolls in, take some time to pay these painstakingly-made pieces the attention they deserve. Look at the ornate lace. Notice the structure of each design – how it falls over the bride’s head and towers above her hair at the top. To help you start appreciating this signature woven piece, here are some of the finest celebrity wedding veils in history.
When Marilyn Monroe married playwright Arthur Miller, she wore a simple beige dress to the backyard celebration. Her veil was similarly unembellished, though it was speckled with clumps of shiny white fabric. Legend has it to make the veil match her dress, Monroe dunked it in coffee shortly before the ceremony. Fact or fiction, it’s a brilliant little anecdote in Marilyn Monroe mythology,
Elizabeth Taylor wore veils to all four of her weddings to actor Richard Burton, but none of them could match the glistening headdress she wore to marry Conrad Hilton. She enlisted Hollywood designer Helen Rose to create 10 yards of airy silk netting, then slipped it over her head attached to a pearl Juliet cap. Over time, it has become the finest celebrity wedding veils ever to grace the aisle.
When Grace Kelly approached the altar to become the new Queen of Monaco, no one could help but stare. Her stellar veil left all others in the dust. Made from 90 yards of tulle, the edges were appliquéd with lace lovebirds and delicate flowers. At the top, it was fastened to her head with a blossom-bordered Juliet cap. Long enough to notice but short enough to easily reveal Kelly’s face, there is no doubt this veil will live long in celebrity wedding veils lore.
People expected Bianca Jagger to do something unexpected and original with her wedding outfit and she didn’t disappoint. Dressed in a smoking jacket and wide-brimmed hat, her veil felt casual yet fashionable to the 1960s crowd. It’s still quite unconventional to wear a hat as you walk up the aisle, but if that floats your boat go right ahead. Maybe it will land you in the wedding veil history books.
Hopefully the gorgeous 400-foot crinoline and tulle wedding veil Katie Holmes wore for her marriage to Tom Cruise lasts longer than this celebrity couple’s romance. Made by Giorgio Armani, it took dozens of artists 70 hours to stitch together the layers of flowing lace. Rarely do celebrity wedding veils come this thick. In design terms, it’s probably the most energetic veil every made.
There’s never a dull fashion moment when you’re working with John Galliano. Gwen Stefani’s veil spotted with appliqué florals was beautifully crafted before the famous designer joined in, but his finishing touch was what made it a style legend. Galliano dip-dyed Stefani’s dress and veil pink before the ceremony, solidifying its status as a celebrity staple.
Nicky Hilton’s cathedral-length veil mixed vintage and modern lace into a classic train of stunning proportions. Matched with her lace bodice and frill-hemmed dress, it was a heyday for wedding florals and traditional attire. Unfortunately, the veil stretched so far it got trapped under a Bentley during the festivities. Grandeur isn’t always easy to manage.
Celebrity wedding veils come in all colors and sizes. If you’re in the hot seat this summer or advising a friend on their perfect veil, take these famous designs into consideration. You don’t have to pay a fortune, but imitating the best looks a little never hurt anyone.— Scarlett Price