As a hippy Boomer mother of a Millennial bride-to-be, I have rediscovered the obscure, yet expensive, costs associated with apparently mandatory wedding attire such as the bridal veil. Unbeknownst to me, over the past thirty-five years, the veil has become, or has been reinstated as, THE bridal must-have fashion statement. My daughter’s insistence that she must have an $800 item made of netting that she would wear for thirty minutes of one day then forget about in some box in my attic caused me to research its history.
According to Cambridge historian, Karen K. Hersch, Roman brides wore bright yellow and orange veils. My research didn’t indicate the symbolism of these colors, but certainly they did not indicate modesty. American women through the nineteenth century didn’t even wear white to their weddings; they wore their best dresses in a variety of colors. Queen Victoria in 1840 wore a white silk dress and a white lace veil for her wedding to Prince Albert, and just like American women rushed out to copy Diana and Kate’s fashions after their highly televised royal weddings, well-heeled American princess-wannabes copied Queen Victoria in the 1800s. However, for the rank-and-file brides-to-be in America, the trend for white dresses and white veils didn’t become wedding de rigueur until after World War II. The war eras and the Great Depression limited the common woman from imitating the rich when it came to weddings.
Today, apparently many brides wants to imitate Angelina Jolie’s bridal veil at the cost of $3,600. I supposed I should be happy my daughter wants one that costs $800, but it hurts me to spend that much on fish netting.