The rich history behind the veil wafting over the bride on her wedding day has been widely embraced for ages and has become somewhat a rite of passage. Some brides go as far as saying that they only felt like a “real” bride the moment they put on a veil.
However, the glorification of virginity and the idea of the bride as something that can be presented as a “gift” to her groom just doesn’t resonate with most modern, empowered brides. Nowadays, more and more brides prefer a personal, creative, and sentimental approach to their wedding rather than sticking to what has always been done just because.
While we appreciate the different takes on the veil as a classic wedding accessory, there’s undeniable beauty in self-expression. Simply put, it’s YOUR wedding and you can wear a veil (or not) if you want to.
The question is – if a veil makes you feel bridal, what else can you wear other than a veil to be the cherry on top?
We’ve rounded up 13 great alternatives that you might just fancy to take with you for a walk down the aisle.
1- Bridal Cape
Gorgeous bridal cape by Sephira Fashion. Check price here.
The bridal cape is the closest thing to a veil, albeit a more functional substitute. Wearing a cape gives you a little more coverage where you need it and the best part – it extends the wearability of your dress. Bridal capes are usually a separate or detachable, and can easily take your look from ceremony to reception in a snap.
2- Bridal Poncho
Bridal poncho by Letthe Bride. Check price here.
This style is worn like a poncho, with one opening at the center of a circular cut tulle that loosely drapes over the torso, usually until elbow length. Although the fabric is sheer, a little goes a long way in covering up the arms which is a common problem area for us ladies. The loose fit is breathable and comfortable and creates a modest balance when worn with a figure-hugging silhouette like mermaid or trumpet dress.
3- Classic Cloak
Think Little Red Riding Hood! Wear a classic cloak style with a fastening around the neck for a regal look, outlining the shoulders and elongating your figure. You’ll notice that this style comes in heavier fabrics such as chiffon, silk, or tulle with lacing on the edges to create a more fluid look. The fastening of the cloak frames and accentuates your bust, so it goes best with dresses featuring a sweetheart neckline. At any point you decide, you can easily take it off and go from delicate damsel to a diva on the dance floor!
4- Shoulder Cape
Shoulder cape by All About Romance. Check price here.
This is the most whimsical and effortless type as it can be easily clasped on to the straps of your wedding dress. It either comes as separate fabrics for each shoulder or as one continuous piece, forming an elegant low back detail. This style is all about drawing attention to the back. So keep it simple and sleek in front, leaving your guests awestruck when you turn around for the big reveal. Since the fabric flows from your shoulders, it will naturally frame your body in an A-shape and will blend best with an A-Line dress.
5- Arm Veils
Arm veil by PT Bridal Handmade. Check price here.
The arm veil, sometimes called bicep veil, is the ingenious solution to achieving a sweet, whimsical look, similar to a shoulder cape, if your dress doesn’t feature any straps. A thin garter, usually embellished with lace or sparkly studs, holds the tulle delicately around your arms and cascades down to the floor (about 45 inches) or to match the length of your dress.
Elaborate tiara by Eden Luxe Bridal. Check price here.
Tiaras are worn by royalty from kings, queens, and even the Pope, to denote their high status. Fashioned from the finest materials and adorned with precious jewels, tiaras are the quintessential luxury accessory that brings out the princess in all of us.
Luckily there are abundant choices of stunning swoon-worthy designs that won’t break the bank: from semi-precious gemstones, Swarovski crystals, rhinestones and more. With an accessory as opulent as a tiara, who needs a veil? Just make sure it matches the overall tone of your wedding, as a tiara can be very dramatic.
7- Flower Crowns
Flower crown by Mimi Princess. Check price here.
There are many meanings that flower crowns hold, revolving around fertility or sexual maturity, peace, honor, celebration, and love. Although flower crowns are largely associated with the hippie culture in the 60’s, these have actually been around since the ancient Greek times – commonly worn during religious ceremonies and on other special occasions and by people with high stature or achievements.
In fact, Julius Ceasar is often depicted wearing a wreath made of laurel leaves symbolizing his power and aristocracy. Nowadays, these dainty headpieces have brides equally beguiled! A wreath of flowers or greenery gently resting over a bride’s head exudes a youthful, free-spirited vibe, perfect for a bohemian or rustic themed wedding.
8- Fresh Flowers
These are perfect for the classic boho chic bride, and perfectly complements the laid-back, au naturel vibe of outdoor weddings. If you’re having your crown made separately, coordinate with your florist so you can match the flowers to be used for your crown with other flower arrangements, for a cohesive look.
9- Greenery Crown
Boho green flower crown by H Botanics Weddings. Check price here.
This is a simple, elegant, and versatile option for any theme or color motif. The beauty about wearing a crown made of greenery is that fresh ones won’t wilt as easily and artificial ones are nearly impossible to identify once they’ve been styled.
While crowns of leaves don’t add the color that flowers do, they have a subdued, very natural look that’s ideal for a rustic themed wedding.
10- Embellished Headbands
Crystal headband by Queen Mee. Check price here.
Headbands have been a part of your life one way or another. As babies, your mom probably couldn’t wait to start accessorizing her beautiful baby. It was also the easy way out of awkward greetings like “oh what a handsome little baby boy!” Growing up, you’ve had a couple of trusty headbands to keep loose hair at bay. Now who’s to say we cannot bring back your love for headbands on your wedding day?
These can be made of fabrics or crystals or both, adding sparkle and detail to your hairdo. A headband can also be worn in a few different ways, that changes up the vibe. Wearing it around your head has a sweet, innocent look to it while around your forehead gives Greek goddess vibe.
11- Statement Pearls
Pearl headband by Mermaid Acsin. Check price here.
These exude a delicate, angelic look which is perfect for a classic white ensemble. The more dramatic the size of the pearls, the better it goes with simpler dress silhouettes and designs. Pair it with drop pearl earrings for look that’s oozing with ethereal appeal!
This is a great way to look neat and well put-together with minimal effort. If your hair is not long enough to be braided, go for faux braid bands that match your hair color. Braids can also be styled in many ways giving you multiple looks to choose from.
13- Hair Vines
Hair vines are all the rage due to their versatility and elegant appeal. They are made of malleable wires in varying lengths and thickness, often intricately designed with crystals, beads, or pearls. A hair vine can be easily cut, connected, or twisted into place, which gives a bride plenty of room to be creative. If you’re already set on a particular hairstyle, your hairdresser can easily work around it to make the vines compliment your look. The possibilities are endless with these beauties – but here are some ways you can wear them:
- Across the forehead: You can wear the vines all the way around your head like a halo or hide the ends with bobby pins. This style works perfectly with either an updo or with your hair down in loose waves for a modern hippie look.
This will go perfectly with a side-swept hairstyle, as an accent to the side which is swept back, or with a low bun. Simply have the hair vine attached to the one side to accentuate the beauty of your hair.
- Around the back
Use hair vines to hide any pins sticking out of your updo or simply add them on as an accent to lose waves or a half-up do. They’re perfect to add sparkle and a touch of contrast to your hair and soften a strict hairdo.
If you’ve got long locks, try weaving hair vines into a loose braid, channeling Rapunzel. The intricate pattern will create a magical look befitting a lost princess.
If you’ve got some other unique and fun ideas to wear on your wedding day in place of a veil, we’d love to see how you worked it!