For some gown shoppers, the moment they truly feel like a bride is when they try on a veil. Whether it’s elegantly perched just over their face or draped down their back, the sheer cascade of lace and tulle transforms a white dress into something fully aisle-ready.
But, for others, a veil can feel like a tie to outdated tradition, or an outsize distraction from other parts of their wedding day ensemble. If you’ve decided a veil isn’t right for you, but are still on the hunt for another way to elevate your bridal look, you’ve come to the right place.
From simple headbands and hair combs to glitzy tiaras and dramatic dress trains, we’ve gathered 15 ingenious wedding veil alternatives to suit every style—and are answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the topic as well.
A Bejeweled Tiara
A tiara doesn’t have to read like it belongs at a royal wedding! If you opt for a colorful and chunky style and wear it with loose, face-framing layers, the hair accessory becomes a bohemian twist on a more formal look.
A Beaded Barette
If your wedding gown includes a major shoulder moment, a veil will only compete with the look. Instead, accent your hair with a well-placed barrette. Worn high on the head, it will complete the fashion-y aesthetic without distracting from your dress.
Barely-There Hair Pins
Want to let your long hair float freely in the wind? Accessorize with a few dainty hair pins. They’ll let your locks be the star of the show, but still add a little extra dazzle in photos.
A Simple Headband
A waterside affair calls for an easygoing look. A headband will keep your hair off your face during an unexpected gusts of wind, and it also makes a more simple bridal look feel sweet and special without adding too much drama.
A Spray of Baby’s Breath
Wedding hair florals don’t always have to come in the form of crowns and garlands. For a more organic, ethereal look, cascade a spray of baby’s breath down one side of your hairstyle. It’s an especially stunning choice when paired with loose curls.
A Blingy Headband
A crystal-encrusted headband is a beautiful way to add a jolt of glamour to your wedding-day look. Added bonus: For two looks in one, you can easily pair it with a veil for your ceremony, and then wear it on its own for the reception.
A Statement Bow
Whether they’re bejeweled, velvet or satin, bridal bows are trending hot right now. Use one to secure a loose ponytail, or to accent a romantic half-up hairstyle.
A Floral Garland
If you’d like to do a bloom-forward look but don’t want to go full-blown flower crown, a simple floral garland is a lovely compromise. Keep the blooms small and simple in the front so as not to detract from your face, then position a few larger, more colorful flowers towards the back.
A Crystal Headpiece
Somewhere between a headband and a tiara, more substantive wired headpieces are a beautiful wedding day hair accessory. They’re typically held in place with a sash or ribbon that is tied underneath the hair.
A Flower Crown
A trendy and carefree option for boho and beachside brides, a flower crown can be made with fresh or silk blooms. Unlike a floral garland, it’s typically characterized by a variety of larger flowers incorporated all around the crown.
A Hair Vine
Whether it’s wrapped around a bun or snaked through a braid, a wire hair vine is a pretty and easy way to add interest to a wedding hairstyle without adding a veil. It’s flexible form allows it to bend to a variety of styles.
Artfully Askew Hair Combs
With their tongs tucked deeply into an updo, hair combs both keep a hairstyle secure and add a bit of sparkle to a wedding day look. As one of the most popular hairpieces on the market, they’re available in a wide variety of designs, which means you’re sure to find something to match your aesthetic.
A Decorated Braid
When you don’t wear a veil, your hairstyle can take center stage. If you’ll be opting for a long braid, play up the look by weaving in beaded pins all the way down the plait.
A Gilded Crown
If there’s any day to feel like a queen, it’s your wedding day. So why not wear a gilded crown dotted with jewels?
Why do brides wear veils in the first place?
The history of the veil is rooted in some less-than-savory traditions. In ancient times, the veil was believed to protect a bride from evil spirits and to symbolize her sexual purity; in arranged marriages, a veil strategically hid a bride’s face until after a couple was pronounced husband and wife. These days, the meaning is significantly less loaded. A veil is simply a bridal fashion accessory.
If I do choose a veil, does it have to cover my face?
Definitely not! Like all wedding traditions, this is one you should feel free to make your own. The part/style of a veil that covers your face is specifically known as a blusher, and it is a more traditional version of a veil. If you prefer the garment to instead secure to the back of your head and flow from there, you’ll be in good company! Many brides these days are opting to ditch the blusher.
Can I pair a hairpiece with a veil?
Absolutely! Many brides choose to wear both hair accessories and a veil. An especially popular look is when the veil is secured underneath a comb or barrette and cascades over the hair from there.
How much do hairpieces and other veil alternatives typically cost?
Costs can vary greatly depending on material, length, and handiwork. While simpler barrettes and hair combs can be found on Etsy and Amazon for $25 and under, more bespoke and substantive pieces from brands such as Jennifer Behr and Twigs & Honey can run between $300 and $1,000. Pieces with a significant amount of crystal work can fetch even higher amounts.