Wednesday, August 18, 2010


The bride has just made her way down the aisle and is standing next to her groom. The officiate is a stately man with a strong voice and forced sense of humor. He is standing right in front of the couple with his broad back to the audience.

My clever and naively humorous boyfriend says in what he thinks is a whisper but I perceive as a stage whisper, “The priest looks like he is going to spit on them. Is that why she wears a veil?”

What? No that is not why she wears a veil! My immediate “I’ll explain later!” hushed him for the moment.

But it occurred to me that I never did explain why a bride wears a veil.

Where did the tradition come from?

The olden days of course. These wedding traditions all came for centuries prior. Some of them don’t make sense anymore but we still carry them out anyway.

Most, if not all, marriages were arranged back in the day. Arranged to the point that the man hadn’t even seen his bride until they were getting married. Unfortunately, women back then were treated as property so typically their father was getting something in return for his daughter. Perhaps land or animals. If the man’s daughter was not attractive, he had to literally hide that fact under a veil. No sense in sending the groom running or the whole business deal could fall apart. Nauseating.

But even the attractive ancient brides wore a veil because it was considered bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other on their wedding day, even during the exchange of vows. To an extent, that tradition stands true today. At the end of the ceremony, the man would lift the veil to show that the woman was his subordinate.

And that is where this great tradition of wearing a bridal veil comes from. Romantic isn’t it? Kind of makes you want to rethink your veil. Oh and if you think that is bad, stay tuned for why bride’s traditionally carry flowers. It is even more romantic.

-The perennial bridesmaid

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to add in a tidbit from Jewish wedding traditions related to the veil. In the Bible, Jacob was set to marry Rachel, but since Leah was the older sister, she was supposed to get married first. The family pulled a switcheroo on him, and he married Leah. He couldn't tell it was the wrong girl because she was wearing veil!
    Now, some Jewish weddings have a pre-ceremony ritual called the Bedeken in which the groom puts the veil on the bride himself. It's his chance to check her out and make sure it's the right bride, and not her spinster older sister.