Origins: These days we view wedding veils as a charmingly anachronistic accessory that completes the expected bridal attire. They were originally worn to conceal the beauty of the bride from both easily-tempted evil spirits and "friends" of the groom who might otherwise be moved to make off with her. It was felt (at least ritualistically, under the same canon that dictates "All brides are beautiful") that a bride's shattering loveliness put her at immediate risk of abduction. Veiling her was a way of hiding her from lusting eyes until she was safely married off.
Superstitions regarding staying veiled stem from that "belief." Once donned, on no account should the veil be lifted prior to the end of the ceremony.
As for the veil itself, the older, the better, says folk wisdom, with the best veil one that is borrowed from a happily-married woman. (Heirlooms from the bride's family are also way up on the sought-after veil list.) It is said the good fortune and fertility of the previous wearer will pass to the bride who next wears
If it is unlucky to wear or see oneself in one's wedding gown before time, it is doubly so when it comes to the veil. Except for utterly necessary fittings, the veil should never be donned prior to the wedding morning. Even at necessary fittings, it must not be put on in combination with the gown. If the bride looks at herself in the mirror whilst wearing her veil for anything but the most necessary of fittings, the marriage will be unhappy, or the groom might desert her, or even die before their wedding day.
Even on the big day, the veil must be left off until the last possible second. The bride should take pains not to see herself in it until she takes that one last look into the glass seconds before starting for the church.
Barbara "veiled reference" Mikkelson
Last updated: 27 June 2005
Hole, Christina. The Encyclopedia of Superstitions. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1996. ISBN 0-76070-228-4. Opie, Iona and Moira Tatem. A Dictionary of Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-19-282-916-5. Pickering, David. Dictionary of Superstitions. London: Cassell, 1995. ISBN 0-304-345350. Tuleja, Tad. Curious Customs. New York: Harmony Books, 1987. ISBN 0-517-56654-0.