© Melissa Nowakowski 2008

The white bridal veil has been a long standing tradition for brides. In fact, most brides assume it’s a requirement in wedding attire – a piece that’s as necessary as the shoes. Whether it’s a veil with a blusher, a lengthy cathedral veil or a bundle of tulle attached by a hair clip, the bridal veil is often considered a “must-have” in conjunction with the bridal gown.

So how did we wind up with this scrap of see-through netting attached to our heads when we walk down that aisle? In ancient societies where marriages were arranged by the parents of the bride and groom the veil acted as a barrier between the future hubby and wife. The groom was not permitted to see his bride until they were married and so the veil covered her face until they were officially wed and the groom removed the veil.

In ancient Rome, the veil was used to protect the bride from evil spirits. The bride wore the veil to disguise herself so that the evil spirits (who were jealous of the bride’s happiness) could not know who she was and cause trouble.

But just because history sets the tradition, brides really don’t need to stick with it. After all, in most cases it’s merely tradition, not a rule (depending on your religion of course). In fact, more and more brides are opting to unveil and choose accessories that are much more dramatic, stylish, or provide the ultimate comfort (you’d be surprised at the number of times I’ve had clients beg me to remove their veil after the First Dance!)

Here are just a few super-chic alternatives you can adopt should you choose to unveil for your wedding:


I remember the day that one of my brides walked up to me wearing a fascinator…I practically squealed with delight. Fascinators are my all-time fave bridal accessory but believe it or not they’re only beginning to catch on as a trend. Whether you choose a simple, classic design. an uber-dramatic piece, feathers or crystals, fascinators not only add that “oomph” to your look but are as easy to wear as tiaras.


Oh how endless are the possibilities for bridal hats! From modern chic to classic elegance to historical flair, bridal hats provide the ultimate in comfort. Not only can they shield you from the elements but they can be easily removed at any time! Of course the style of your gown will determine the style of hat…and there are many styles. Here are just a few:

Picture hats are the beautiful wide-brimmed hats best worn for outdoor wedding. Adorned with ribbon, flowers or feathers these hats are sleek, use clean lines and add a classic elegance to your look.

Pill box hats were all the rage in the 1930s and today are considered a vintage gem. Worn alone or with a birdcage veil, to the side or at the back of your head, pill box hats can add a sophisticated chicness or a funky twist to your style.

Cocktail hats can be the most simple or the most edgy of hats. Because of their flat round shape, they can rest pretty much anywhere on your head and secured with bobby pins. Cocktail hats can decked out with everything from feathers to crystals to flowers and these decorations can sit low on the fabric, simply line it or jut out high above the head for the most dramatic of looks. Not considered as “vintage chic” as the pillbox or as “elegant” as the picture, the Cocktail hat tends to be a rarity. But with that rarity comes its unique and occasionally daring look.


Every bride knows that the tiara can be the perfect accompaniment to a veil or an extremely fashionable stand-alone. From the simplest of crystallized bands to the highest crowns, tiaras are another trendy accessory. But even the tiara can have a makeover.

Assymetrical Side Tiaras are the funky versions of classic tiaras. Worn like a headband (the band on the top of your head is often covered with your hair do), the more festooned portion of this tiara sits at the side of the head. I’ve seen everything from straightforward crystal designs to ornamented butterflies to fans of gems.

Hair vines are crystals, beads, shells, feathers…(anything really!)…set onto wires that weave throughout your hair. Vines can be worn across the head like a head band, at the back of the head for a peek-a-boo effect or throughout the entire hairstyle. Not quite a tiara, not really a headband, the hair vine is a unique twist to the veil alternative.

Wearing a single flower in the hair is most often seen with destination weddings or tropical themes. However, the flower-in-the-hair can be worn for any style of wedding. Wearing a bloom of a classic flower like the rose or orchid can add a romantic feel while a bright, more tropical flower can add a more sunny disposition. Wearing foliage rather than an actual flower can add drama and mystic.


If you hate the conventional look of a traditional veil but like the mysteriousness that it has the potential to bring, the Birdcage Veil is the veil for you! This veil sits over your entire head and reaches no longer than past your chin at its greatest length. Some brides wear it to the bridge of their nose, some to their chin, some at an angle, some straight forward, some with netting fabric, some with tulle, some wear it alone and some wear it attached to a fascinator, pillbox or cocktail hat.