The tradition behind why brides wear veils on their wedding day is quite disturbing.


As women, there’s a bunch of stuff we do that doesn’t… how shall I put this?

Make sense. 

It’s not our fault – there’s a long process of socialisation that eventually leads to me, as a 26-year-old woman, not being able to leave the house without make up on my face, or dreaming about marrying my future husband in a goddamn white wedding dress.

Of course, weddings are one of the events we participate in that make particularly little sense.

Everything from what you wear on your wedding day to who walks you down the aisle is laden with patriarchal meaning that’s been established over hundreds (or even thousands) of years. But for a lot of us, that doesn’t stop us from wanting it. 

I was recently at a wedding where the bride wore her mother’s veil. It was stunning, obviously, but there was something about seeing a woman wearing a piece of fabric over her face that made me interested in where the tradition came from.

Of course, in 2017, veils are excellent. They solve the age-old problem of the ‘ugly-cry’. While the man is standing at the altar trying to not appear emotional, us ladies can have snot running down our faces and no one can see.


But something tells me no one was thinking about the ugly-cry when they designed the veil.

Interestingly, it's thought that the bride's veil and bouquet predates the wearing of white at weddings.


While it's hard to pinpoint the exact reason women started wearing veils, it's believed it was initially part of an ancient Greek and Roman tradition to ward off evil spirits. Covering the bride's face would camouflage her, and having bridesmaids (who originally dressed in the same attire as the bride) would serve as decoys for demons.

Over time, however, the meaning of the veil evolved and was influenced by religion. In many faiths, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the white veil symbolises virginity, obedience and modesty.

Listen to the Mamamia Out Loud hosts discuss a wedding party gone wrong. Post continues after audio.

It's also closely tied to the idea of ownership, with the groom's lifting of the veil signifying the transfer of ownership between a woman's father and her husband.

Historically, the veil was also intended to hinder a bride's vision and movement. Covering her face with fabric meant she was less likely to run away, and when her father walked her down the aisle, he was literally helping her to walk because she couldn't see where she was going.

Apparently trains on wedding dresses were created for the same reason - to stop a bride from escaping.

I'm done.

So, yes, when it comes to weddings, there's a lot that doesn't really make sense in 2017. But if you want to wear a veil, for literally any other reason than as a tool to stop you from escaping, I say power to you.