Photo by 515 Photo Co
As a traditional milliner, I have always loved birdcage wedding veils. There is something so beautifully romantic, yet sexy and demure about them at the same time. Moulding and shaping the flat netted fabric and giving it 3 dimensional life is so really so thrilling! Birdcage veils tend to be cyclical in fashion. When I first started designing in 2009, they were really having a resurrection. Romantic barn weddings and rustic weddings were at the forefront of wedding inspiration and tea length dresses and lace gowns were the star. Small assymetrical birdcage veils usually topped with jeweled combs or feathers were the perfect accessory for these types of gowns and weddings. Like everything though, styles and trends changed and over the years, birdcage veils fell to the way side to make space for long dramatic fine art style tulle veils.
A few years ago, the world experienced the Pandemic which had a massive impact on the wedding industry. Weddings were forced to be small intimate events with a few key people involved. This brought rise to non traditional wedding attire and the birdcage veil, deemed appropriate for smaller less formal but intimate affairs, made its long awaited return, but in a more modern fashion, and this little designer couldn't have been more thrilled!
Birdcage veils come in so many different styles and materials, and can quite honestly be a bit intimidating. We are here to chat, all things birdcage veils.
Different styles of birdcage veils
There are quite a few types of birdcage veil silhouettes, let's explore!
The Mini Birdcage Veil
This beautiful petite veil is usually 9" in length and sits on a diagonal for an assymetrical look and covers one or both eyes slightly. This beautiful veil is hand gathered and either stitched to a metal comb or threaded together and placed in the hair with bobby pins. We use combs here at Blair Nadeau Bridal. It usually runs in line with the the wearers nose. This is the most traditional of birdcage veils. It gives the most classic look. A perfect style to pair with a lace gown or a tea length dress and a bright red lip. This style is also non committal and can easily be worn all night. Many brides like to pin the veil back into their hair for their reception with a few bobby pins to create a bunched up look and keep the veil out of their eyes as they dance the night away!
Add a feather headpiece or a beautiful jeweled comb to this veil to elevate the look.
Photo by Mango Studios
The Bandeau Birdcage Veil
A bandeau style birdcage veil is a bit more of a committed veil as it covers half of the wears face. A bandeau veil is generally 9" - 12" in width depending on how much of the top of the head the wearer wants to cover. Bandeau veils are hand gathered on both sides of the long veiling and stitched to a comb (or again threaded and held in place with bobby pins). The combs are placed behind the wearer's ears and tucked into their hairstyle for a seamless finish. The veil wraps across the front of the face across both eyes and the nose, resting just above the lips.
Bobby pins are needed to secure the veiling at the top of the head to create the soft sculpted effect.
Photo by Melissa Joan Ho
Bandeau veils, as they are simple and elegant can also be embellished with pearls, crystals, even lace!
The Full Face Birdcage Veil
One of my current birdcage veil obsessions is the full face birdcage veil. This is a veil that we designed a few years back and just fell in love with how modern and sleek it looked. This beautiful veil is 18" long and is gathered onto 3 small combs to create the cage shape. The combs are pinned into a wearers updo (this style works best with hair up) and then bobby pins are placed around the combs to create this sleek shape.
This full face birdcage veil & the bandeau veil look so stunning paired with a chic sleek shealth gown or midi dress, pant suit or blazer dress.
Photos by Whitney Heard Photography
The Headband Birdcage Veil
The headband birdcage veil is one of my personal favourites. This veil is so easy to wear, so versatile, it's a crowd favourite. Headband birdcage veils can be made of so many any style of netting or tulle. They are hand gathered and stitched usually to a ribbon wrapped headband. They are usually 8 1/2-9" long and frame the face similiarly to the bandeau veil where it covers the eyes and nose, but because it is on a headband, no pins required! Just pop the veil into your hairstyle like you would a normal headband and voila!
Photo by Jess Imrie
What we love about headband birdcage veils is that they can be paired and stacked with different headbands to create a whole bridal look! Because they are so versatile, you can pop a padded headband, pearl hairband or crown on top of the narrow headband and no one will be the wiser, it'll look like one piece, and then for the reception, you can easily take off the veil, put the headpiece back in voila, a whole new party look!
photo by Marissa Joan Ho
Headband veils also look great veils for added embellishments like the pearl beaded headband veil above and this gorgeous crystal embellished veil. The added elements give drama and luxe.
Photo by Melissa Sung
The Tulle Blusher Veil
This veil is not technically a birdcage veil, but it tends to get lumped in with birdcage veils. This beautiful veil is made of tulle and is usually fuller then a birdcage veil due to the stiffness of the gathers. There are many different versions and styles of this type of blusher veil. They can range in any length from super short (9") to a full face veil at 18". They can also be worn backwards, like a cute little retro bubble veil.
Photo by Whitney Heard Photography
I especially love tulle blusher veils in black silk tulle!
Photo by Rust and Bark
Different Types of Birdcage Fabric
There are many types of birdcage fabrics. They all have a slightly different vibe to them to create a slightly different look. Some of them (like the standard 9" netting) comes in a rainbow of colours, so if you want to add some colour to your wedding, adding a birdcage veil in a fun shade is always a great way to go. Let's start off with the traditional netting.
Traditional French Veiling
The traditional french netting is the birdcage netting that you see everywhere. It's delicate, it's petite and it has the signature solid square between each diamond. This is the most classic birdcage veiling style (for modern times).
This veiling comes in many lengths from 9" - 18" so most birdcage veil styles can be created with this netting. It holds crystals and pearls well and is a very romantic netting.
Photo by Marissa Joan Ho
Merry Widow/Russian Veiling
This style of netting is very similar to the french veiling, however it is slightly larger in the diamonds which makes the connecting squares a bit bigger. This netting is a bit more bold, a bit more dramatic and will stand out in photos much more. It does hold embellishments well, but sometimes its too much. The netting is bold enough, it doesn't need it!
This netting somes in a standard 12" length, but it can be cut shorter. This netting works really well for headband birdcage veils and bandeau veils. It doesn't come in a wide variety of colours, so you are more reserved here in standard bridal colours and black. There is also a size between French & Russian veiling that comes in metallic gold & silver!
Photos by Whitney Heard Photography
Tiny Vintage Inspired Netting
This style of veiling is not seen very often. It closely resembles vintage veiling and has very small diamonds and no squares. It tends to be more structured as it is a tighter knit net, so it works best for structured veils like a bandeau veil, a headband veil or on a fascinator hat. Because of the closeness of the diamonds, it has a more dense look visually.
This netting somes in a standard 9" length and only in standard bridal colours + black. It is nylon though, so it can be dyed!
photo by Whitney Heard Photography
Large Diamond Veiling
This style of netting is not seen often either in the traditional bridal space. It is generally reserved for millinery (hats/fascinators) but it is a really interesting and modern, yet vintage style of netting. It has the same formula as French & Russian/Merry Widow veiling but the diamonds are MUCH larger, approximately 1". This veiling is great for embellishing as it holds decent weight and the squares are much larger.
This beautiful veiling does come in a few different colours and is dyeable!
Photo by Memoires En Or
All in all, birdcage veils are not just limited to these designs and netting styles. There is no limitation to what can be created using this vintage inspired netting. Designers are constantly dreaming up new and exciting ways to manipulate this pliable fabric to create something new and unique! We just wanted to take the guess work out of the most common silhouettes and fabrications to help you on your birdcage veil journey!