Brides are more passionate than ever about their veils. Today's bridal designers' top looks allow them to be expressive and artistic with the finishing touch to their dream bridal look. A dreamy and dramatic veil adds stunning detail to the bride's appearance, framing her face with beauty and even enhancing the view of her from behind with an ethereal and dramatic fall of lace. Plus, the fashion blog of Alta Moda bridal boutique puts it perfectly: "A veil can help you complete your wedding day look and complement your gown in ways that no other wedding day accessory can."
This past fall, bridal gown and accessory designers showcased the top new trends and their designs at Bridal Market runway shows in New York City. Wedding magazines and blogs sang the praises of the most beautifully detailed wedding veils they'd ever seen. The editors at Alta Moda summed it up: "From hand-sewn flowers to delicate beading to show-stopping accents, we saw it all."
The overarching trend for bridal veils in 2014 is dramatic, no matter the length or style. A stunning veil elevates a simple, minimalist wedding dress to new heights and lets the veil stand out as the eye-catcher. An amazing, vintage-inspired lace veil provides the bride with artistic wedding photographs, such as the top two wedding fashion photos: the bride standing in a gorgeous setting, extending the length of her veil outward from her body or a sweet photo of the bride and groom kissing beneath the tulle layer of the veil. As an added perk to the new realm of wedding veils: They may be easier to hand down to the bride's future daughter than a current-style wedding gown. A crystal- embellished or romantic lace veil can be very much-adored 30 years from now.
Here are the top trends in dramatic wedding veil looks for 2014:
--Long, dramatic veils. Michelle Davis, founder and editor-in-chief of the wedding blog "Style to the Aisle," says that long veils are popular because they provide a great deal of fabric to embellish. A long veil may be entirely made of a delicate lace or sheer tulle netting accented with lace appliques along the sides and on the bottom edges. Given the enormous variety of unique lace patterns now on the bridal market, thanks to Kate Middleton's trend-setting choice to wear lace, brides have many choices in lace styles, from traditional Chantilly to more artistic, fringed lace and larger lace appliques. A long veil without lace may also be accented with dramatic sparkling crystals throughout the entire length of the veil or just in artistic starburst effects. Long veils may also be cut to drape over the bride's shoulders, with a shorter, upside-down U-shape ending at her waist and the sides arching downward toward the floor or perhaps for a few feet behind the bride.
--Lace veils. They're a category of their own, says Davis. There are a multitude of ways to feature lace in a veil, such as -- again -- one made entirely of lace or one with lace appliques custom-placed along its length. Lace may also be showcased in wide edges along the hems of the veil. A lace veil can match the lace of the dress or give the bride that lacy, romantic, 1930s look that's so popular now, worn with a simpler, less expensive, unadorned wedding gown.
--Appliques. In addition to lace accents, other designs of appliques are shown on this season's dramatic wedding veils, such as hundreds of hand-sewn tiny fabric petal or leaf shapes for a unique look. Petal accents can be subtly lining the length of the veil and then applied more liberally to the bottom quarter of the veil for a pooled effect.
--Boho Veils. Davis mentions boho as a top trend on the bridal designer runways, as well as one of the top looks on Pinterest. This refers to a Bohemian-inspired artistic style. Boho-chic is a more relaxed style, one that became popular in the 1960s and is currently experiencing a resurgence. One style of boho is the veil fabric worn over the bride's head and the veil fabric then gathered and clipped or tied at the side of the bride's head, accented by a trendy fabric flower, a large feather accent, a sparkling brooch or even a peacock feather or other vibrant pin-on. This is one of the most dramatic veil looks, since it's so different from the traditional straight-fall veil. Wedding Bells magazine included in their list of spotlight veils one with the head-covering veil portion slightly poufed up to create an ethereal cloud around the bride's head. The boho style also encompasses the highly popular look of using a lace or jeweled headband worn as an accent around a head-covering veil or by itself. On the wild side of boho veils are metallic head chains that line the bride's hair part and drape across her temples. This is a look that stylewatchers call haute and is a modern spin on 1970s style.
--Birdcage veils. David says that birdcage veils -- shorter lengths of lace, netting or tulle that extend just the bride's chin, framing her face -- are also popular dramatic veil choices this year. Especially when a birdcage veil is attached to a vintage hat, a British-inspired fascinator or a jeweled pin. Birdcage veils may be accented with fabric flowers, a dramatic feather or a vintage-style brooch. And birdcage veils are not always white. Some brides choose to wear a colored birdcage veil to complement their wedding dress. A birdcage veil has some stiffness to the fabric, so that it stands away from the bride's face keeping her makeup free from smudging.
Brides are just as excited about their veil style as their dress style, and they're spending more on this quintessential bridal accessory.
Sharon Naylor is the author of "The Bride's Guide to Freebies" and three dozen additional wedding books.