Veil or No Veil? (Including Wedding Veil Alternatives)

January 10, 2022

Wedding Veils | Unique Bridal Veil | Wedding Veil Alternatives

To veil…or not to veil? If you’re on the fence about wearing a veil for your wedding or elopement, here are a few options to consider.

You’ve seen beautiful photos of wedding veils on every Pinterest board, Facebook post, and Instagram story–but you’re still not sure whether or not you want to wear one. Here are ideas, images, and a list of pros and cons when it comes to wearing a veil down the aisle.

I’m an elopement & wedding photographer based in the USA, and I photograph clients all around the country and world. One question I hear again and again? “Kathryn, you’re my photographer and I figured I’d ask you…should I wear a veil?

My answer is always this: Buy a simple veil from Etsy or Amazon ($30), and keep it in your dress bag. Based on weather/wind and how you’re feeling, bring it out for some or all of your wedding! Veils are so affordable these days that you can buy one and not use it, then resell it or use it for photos down the line (such as an adventure session or anniversary photos).

That said, there are some places and times to wear veils, and some that may not work quite as well. Read on for wedding veil pros and cons.

(And if you’re thinking all veils are alike, think again! Scroll down for ideas + photos of non-traditional veils and veil alternatives.)

Veil or no veil? Here are my veil pros and cons, with photos to illustrate each point.

Here, I list out:

-Reasons to wear a veil
-Reasons to NOT wear a veil
-Non-traditional veils
-Veil alternatives

+ Reasons to Wear a Veil +

  • Veils are timeless and elegant
  • No longer do you have to spend $500 on a matching lace veil. You can buy veils for $20-30 now, or make one for less!
  • A wedding veil adds variety and beauty to your look
  • Wedding veils mean you get more unique shots with your photographer (see examples below)
  • Wedding veils can add a touch of color + uniqueness that may otherwise be missing
  • Wearing a wedding veil that used to be in the family is a beautiful way to pay tribute to a relative
  • It’s better to have the option of a veil than no veil at all! If you’re doing a mountain elopement or a far-away photo, a veil makes the photo 10x better

– Reasons to NOT Wear a Veil –

  • It doesn’t always go with dresses, such as a short dress and cathedral-length veil
  • Veils don’t have to be expensive, but can be (sometimes as much as a dress–I’ve heard of $1,500 veils all the time!)
  • It’s another item to misplace/forget to bring on your wedding day (hence why I suggest storing it in your wedding bag)
  • If it’s windy out, a veil swirling around can be distracting to you and your guests
  • Some people find veils outdated
  • Proud of your shoulders, hair, or back of your dress? A veil could cover it up

Here are a bunch of my wedding photos I’ve taken over the years, featuring couples who did not wear any veils. They all survived their weddings, veil-less 😛

I’ve photographed hundreds of weddings over the past many years, and many couples also elect to wear veils for part of the wedding, then take them off. It’s all up to you!

Want something extra, but you really DON’T want a veil? These unique veils and veil alternatives are a great option!

If you love veils but can’t get behind a standard white one, not to worry. There are plenty of non-traditional veils and veil ideas out there! In fact, when I’m not photographing couples and traveling, I will occasionally make veils for brides (and grooms!) to wear for their celebrations.

So without further ado, here are some awesome, not-your-average wedding veils.

~ Non-Traditional Veils ~

Veils can be any color you want, and can match your outfit…or not. Want lace, sparkles, or flowers? Cool. Want colored flowers, zig-zags, trinkets, or something else? Awesome. Want it to be neon green or polka-dotted? There are no rules, because it’s your wedding!

* Veil Alternatives *

Not a fan of veils, but want to add something unique to your look? This is the list for you! From birdcages to hairpieces, these ideas should help liven up your wedding dress/jumpsuit/wedding suit/romper.

  • Wedding cape – actual, full-on capes are all the rage now. See one below!
  • Birdcage – this vintage-era wedding headpiece is for the edgy, fashion-forward bride or groom
  • Wedding dress “wings” – a newer accessory, much like wedding capes, wedding wings are tufts of light, ethereal fabric that are typically detachable from the shoulder (photo below)
  • Flower crown
  • Crystal headpiece
  • Hats
  • Simple hairpiece
  • Wedding parasol
  • Flowers in the hair
  • Bridal corsage
  • Peacock feather headpiece
  • Hippie headpiece
  • Dupatta – A colorful, adorned, traditional veil worn by South Asian brides
Epic floral display in Arizona - Indian wedding

So…to veil or not to veil? Hopefully this little guide helped you choose. Looking for more veils and wedding touches? Look at this article on unique wedding accessories! With plenty of veil vs. no veil wedding inspiration for you to consider, which will you end up picking? Just go out and get one already!~

Kathryn Cooper Weddings: California Wedding Photographer | New York Wedding Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographer

More about me


I love shoot clients with veils so much that it kind of kills me when they opt out of them, but I’m sure it’s so helpful for brides to see their other options!

Such a valid question….I personally love hats…they are my favorite unique details….easy to hang on to while on a hike!

Such a cool idea for a blog post! And love all of the unique photos and styles you included!!

This is a bloody brilliant post! I love the idea of a ‘safety’ veil, but am currently torn between the wings and the birdcage. Amazing alternatives to veils, Genius, thank you so much for writing this.

I totally feel this, and love this post! Veils are gorgeous, but come with steep price tags and there’s nothing worse than getting it pulled out of your head!! Buying a cheaper one, even just for pictures is such a great idea and I love all your alternatives to veils too! Wedding capes are my new favorite trend!

What a thorough blog post!! I love it!! The idea of having a veil on standby if the mood is right, the environment is suitable and weather allows it is genius!! I also like how you go an extra step with sharing alternative options!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

This is such an excellent blog outlining all the great pros and cons of veils. But I seriously love how you take it to the next level to outline what else they can wear.

I’m 1000% in for bird cages! Such a fun and vintage feel. But I love all the images you’ve curated to make this such a quintessential example of how we can serve our clients through education. Great work!

Definitely agree a veil adds elegance and variety to the photos but I’d trade for a flower crown any day! Thanks for sharing!

I totally agree with you Kathryn: it’s better to have the option of a veil than no veil at all! You might end up not using it, but if you are on a dramatic cliff or on a mountain, the veil can create beautiful effects and make the elopement photographs so much more creative.


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