Communion veils, with their billowing fullness and flowing beauty, are rich in religious symbolism. The veil is associated with innocence, purity, and respect for the sacraments. Sometimes today's girls may wear ornate bows, splendid headbands, or exquisite tiaras in place of the veil. Yet a recent 2008 study suggests that 98-99% of girls still prefer the communion veil.
Styles Of Veils
Communion veils come in a vast variety of styles. In the past, communion veils closely resembled the wedding veils of the day - a full veil, all the way around, with a tiara-like headpiece. The miniature bride look was the most popular fashion.
Modern veils don't cover as much of a young girl's face. Some girls even wear their veil at the back of their head. Today's retailers of communion fashions offer a wide range of choices. Yet one factor remains the same throughout the years. Communion dresses will always have an air of timeless elegance.
10 Most Popular Styles Of Veils
1. Crown Veil
A two-tier veil, with a sprinkle of pearl dust, can cascade from a crown of satin, pearls, and flowers. A pearl beaded crown with rose buds is perfect for any 'queen for a day.' Crown veils often use white ribbons and satin bows. A beaded roses crown communion veil can have a ribbon bow at the back. A crown of clear rhinestones is a clear winner!
2. Crown/Tiara Veil
What could be better than a crown veil - only a crown/tiara veil! Satin flower tiaras with beading can top spectacular double veils. Pearl flower tiaras lend a touch of elegance to communion veils. A tiara veil of any type is a terrific choice for any young girl. A rhinestone cross tiara veil is perfect for First Communion. This veil mixes style and symbolism in perfect harmony.
3. Wreath Veil
These fashionable veils have wreaths of flowers - often rosebuds, baby's breath, or antique roses. The blooms can be accessorized with classic pearls, sparkling sequins, or pretty ribbons. A daisy and rhinestone veil is a divine combination.
4. Bow Veil
A bow veil can have a large bow at the top and a sprinkle of tiny bows down the length. Through the years, white bows have been a very popular theme at First Communion. Instead of a veil, modern girls often wear just a wonderful white bow in their hair. A satin and organza bow with faux pearls is a fabulous choice for a bow veil.
5. Bun Wrap
With a bun wrap veil, the veil is worn at the back of the head. Satin rosebuds, lace, pearls, and rhinestones can encircle the 'bun.' The veil (often two-tier, sometimes with a daisy or other flower motif) cascades softly towards the shoulders. Although a pretty style, many do not favor this veil for a very petite child.
6. Comb Veil
A comb veil has a comb attached to the fabric. Yet this comb isn't any ordinary one! It can be a hand-beaded crystal back comb. A comb in a veil is always decorated with lovely touches such as satin flowers, bows, and ribbons.
A comb veil can have various degrees of fullness. A 'no gather', such as a mantilla veil, sits flat on the head. The more popular 'half gather' or 'drop shoulder' has the fabric gathered onto the comb. The straight part falls down over the shoulders. With the 'center gather', the fabric is gathered in the middle section.
The 'full' gather has the most fullness. The side folds are gathered right across the fabric and up into the comb. A 'full gather' veil is full around the head. The shorter 'full gather' styles have the maximum fullness.
7. Clip Veil
Similar to comb veils, clip veils are attached to an impressive item - an ornate clip. A flowing white veil can be attached to a hand-beaded crystal clip. A clip veil looks great with long hair or a pulled back hairstyle.
8. Headband Veils
A beaded flower or a tuxedo bow headband with tulle netting isn't just any headband. A headband veil can hold its own when it comes to elegance. Sometimes a veil will have a wide band. A braided satin and pearl band is a beautiful addition to any veil.
9. Irish Shamrock Veil
The Irish Shamrock communion veil is a traditional Celtic style. A double tier veil, topped with a beautiful bow, can have scattered shamrocks on its fine fabric. There are various similar designs to match any dress.
For many girls of Spanish heritage, the mantilla is a preferred choice. Yet everyone loves a mantilla! Its fabric can be tulle or chiffon but is usually lace. The mantilla is shaped in a circular design. The beautiful fabric lies close to the head and falls softly over the shoulders. A mantilla can be a simple, short style but it can also be an elaborate, full-length veil.
Mantillas are also available in ivory - a perfect color to wear with a silk dress or a heirloom headpiece. Ivory isn't as popular as white for communion veils. Other styles of veils, however, are also available in ivory. For off-white headpieces and dresses, an ivory veil is a must. Never use a brilliant white veil with an ivory dress.
How To Choose Veil Lengths
There are different lengths of communion veils. A 19.5" veil falls almost to the shoulders. A 36" veil will reach the elbow/wrist area. A 45" veil falls approximately to the hip. The measurements refer to the length of the bottom tier. Take into consideration that heights and arm lengths vary according to girl.
Always check with your parish about their guidelines regarding communion fashions. Also, always consider your daughter's preference. This special day is her day!
How To Measure For A Veil
Accurate measurements will ensure that the veil falls to a specific point. Measure from the point where the girl will be wearing the veil to the desired length. Remember that the hairstyle for the special day will slightly affect the measurements.
How To Wear A Veil With A Tiara
There shouldn't be any gap between the veil and the tiara. Gently bend the tiara band (not the comb) to fit the shape of the head and ensure a perfect fit. If a tiara has pin loops, use hair grips through the loops to keep it in place. Always place hair over the exposed ends of bands.
When a little girl wears her hair down, there can be worry about the veil slipping through the hair. If you form a knot at the scalp and push the comb downwards and in place, there shouldn't be any cause for concern. To form a knot, move the comb in tiny circular movements close to the hair roots.
How To Make A Veil
Throughout the years, many mothers have made their daughters' communion veils. With such a variety provided by modern retailers, today's veils are usually purchased in a store or online. Yet some talented individuals are still sewing veils at home.
It is easy to find a beautiful tiara to use in a veil. For sewing a communion veil, you will need a minimum of one yard of tulle as well as two yards of 1/2" wide white satin ribbon. Accents such as pearls and sequins are optional but add that extra special touch.
History Of Veils
Throughout the centuries, women have worn veils in church. Stylish scarves and trendy hats replaced the veils in recent centuries. Yet until the 1960s, women attending church were required to cover their head in some manner. Lovely veils are still the standard for weddings and First Communion.
At the turn of the 20th century, elaborate headpieces were in style. The communion veil would entirely cover the girl's head. During Mass, just a wisp of hair was allowed to seen from underneath the veil.
The veils could fall to the hem of the dress - even to the heels of the girl's shoes. Girls often wore dark ankle boots and dark stockings. White shoes and stockings were the exception rather than the norm.
A variety of communion fashions were seen during this decade. Headpieces could be a very elaborate fashion or a rather simple style. During this period, some girls even wore a veil (similar to a mantilla) without any headpiece. A large white bow was often tied under a girl's chin. Similar bows were often used in young girl fashions during this era.
There was more of an uniform style during this period - especially during the 1920s. This decade is famous for the 'flapper' look. This fashion extended to the communion headpiece. The entire head was covered in a 'flapper' hat style. A young girl's hairstyle was often similar to an adult's 'flapper' cut.
Long veils were popular during these two decades. By 1940, however, the veils were shorter than in the past. A floral coronet headpiece was a stylish choice. These headpieces were often made from stiff tulle.
The miniature bride look became very popular in the 1950s. This style continued to flourish into the 1960s. Hispanic tradition favors this lavish look. Whether or not you have a Hispanic heritage, this style is still preferred by some girls in this 21st century.
Shorter veils appeared in the 1960s. Sometimes these veils would have a single layer of fabric. Often they didn't have much ornamentation other than their edging.
During recent decades, communion veils come in diverse styles. The veils are usually accessorized with divine details - such as pearls, sequins, and satin flowers. Since we entered the 21st century, more subtle hints of color are being seen on veils. Sometimes the tiniest pale blue flower or a small pink rosebud adds a touch of color.
Whether a communion veil has a simple bow or elaborate detail, every little girl feels like a little princess at First Communion. That special feeling is just enhanced by the pretty fashions. At First Communion, the veil is lifted in more than the literal sense. Each young girl realizes that she is part of something which transcends the material world. The true revelation is the unveiling of Faith, Hope, and Love!
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