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Author Topic: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil  (Read 7009 times)

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tabitha

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To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« on: March 20, 2016, 12:29:16 PM »
I'm spending my afternoon knitting and drinking wine with my lovely friend who I was close to about twenty years ago and have just re-kindled our aquaintence. 
She's getting married in June and is arguing with her mother about a veil.  Friend doesn't want a veil.  Friends mother wants her to have a veil.

Friends mother is Jewish and joined us for a bit to explain why there must be a veil.  Something about a man being tricked into marrying Leah instead of Rachael, or the other way around, and something about Moses being too bright to look at.  I'm sure the Jewish among the E-hellions k is what she is talking about, but friend doesn't and I do even less. 

Friend asked me why non-Jews wear veils when they get married.  My assumption is fashion. But is there some other reason for this?

My friend is not religious, nor is her father, nor is her mother, really.  I suspect mom, (who is a wonderful and funny woman, as well as very stubborn, much like her daughter) is more of a traditionalist than anything.

But she really, really wants the veil.  But friend really, really wants her face showing when she is married.  Does anyone know anything significant in terms of having a veil? We're trying to find a way to compromise, that she can wear the veil only for a few moments during the ceremony.

Thanks for your input.  Also, friend is throughly confused about a veil having something to do with Moses, but now is NOT the time to push her mother for a further explanation, so feel free to shed some light on that.

HannahGrace

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2016, 12:36:32 PM »
This does not seem like an etiquette question to me. That said, there are veils of all lengths and styles and quite a few that don't cover one's face. I didn't wear a veil because I don't care for them. Your friend should do what she wants to do as it is her wedding.

#borecore

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2016, 12:38:29 PM »
What about wearing something like a fascinator or birdcage veil that is more ornamental and less of a shroud? I made one for my wedding for about $2 and didn't end up wearing it at the last minute because I found a headband I preferred, but in trial runs, it didn't block my face or impede my vision at all.

Many brides today wear their veils back from the start, not covering the face as they go down the aisle or at any point; and the veil is typically flipped back pretty early in the ceremony, too. Your friend's sect may do it differently, but I don't know. I wouldn't jump to "wearing a veil" = "getting married with your face covered."

For a guide to veil types, see http://www.southboundbride.com/southbound-guide-veil-speak/

I think you should do some googling if you want the whole history of veils. There's a lot to it in a variety of faith traditions and cultural customs. Whether she "ought" to do so really depends on her rabbi (if she's even being married by one).

ETA: I agree with HannahGrace. This isn't an etiquette question but a personal taste/religious question

menley

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2016, 12:40:09 PM »
I'll ignore the "why" as there are as many reasons to wear veils as there are people.

However, i thought I'd point out that the vast majority of modern brides who wear veils never covers their faces with them. They serve as a hairpiece rather than a face covering. I've in fact never seen the veil cover the face outside of weddings in movies - but everyone I know has worn a veil of some sort (from birdcage to cathedral - there are many styles).

Ultimately it doesn't matter why other people want them - your friend doesn't, and she should do what she wants. Many people simply wear a hair accessory, flowers, a tiara, or nothing at all.

rose red

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2016, 12:43:19 PM »
Sounds like my mom who tells us to do something because of our culture, but can't explain it ("I don't know why! We just have to do it!") It was a blessing when the internet became common and I could finally find explanations to all those mysterious traditions/superstitions. Wikipedia is our friend. This is what it says about veils:

"In Judaism, the tradition of wearing a veil dates back to biblical times. According to the Torah in Genesis 24:65, Isaac is brought Rebekah to marry by his father Abraham's servant. It is important to note that Rebekah did not veil herself when traveling with her lady attendants and Abraham's servant and his men to meet Isaac, but she only did so when Isaac was approaching. Just before the wedding ceremony the badeken or bedeken is held. The groom places the veil over the bride's face, and either he or the officiating Rabbi gives her a blessing. The veil stays on her face until just before the end of the wedding ceremony when they are legally married according to Jewish law then the groom helps lift the veil from off her face.

The most often cited interpretation for the badeken is that, according to Genesis 29, when Jacob went to marry Rachel, his father in law Laban tricked him into marrying Leah, Rachel's older and homlier sister. Many say that the veiling ceremony takes place to make sure that the groom is marrying the right bride. Some say that as the groom places the veil over his bride, he makes an implicit promise to clothe and protect her. Finally, by covering her face, the groom recognizes that he his marrying the bride for her inner beauty; while looks will fade with time, his love will be everlasting. In some ultra-orthodox traditions the bride wears an opaque veil as she is escorted down the aisle to meet her groom. This shows her complete willingness to enter into the marriage and her absolute trust that she is marrying the right man. In Judaism, a wedding is not considered valid unless the bride willingly consents to it.

In ancient Judaism the lifting of the veil took place just prior to the consummation of the marriage in sexual union. The uncovering or unveiling that takes place in the wedding ceremony is a symbol of what will take place in the marriage bed. Just as the two become one through their words spoken in wedding vows, so these words are a sign of the physical oneness that they will consummate later on. The lifting of the veil is a symbol and an anticipation of this.
"

Mustard

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2016, 12:44:47 PM »
This question could have been answered by google....

faithlessone

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2016, 12:46:09 PM »
Has she tried on any veils? There are loads of styles that don't include anything over your face.

My best friend is getting married in September. She was adamant that she wasn't going to wear one, then she got offered one when she was trying on dresses, and actually really liked the look. Hers falls straight down her back, actually just a little longer than her train. There's nothing even approaching her face.

As the PPs have said, if it's her face being covered that's the problem, then that's a religious issue, and I'm no expert. If her hair being covered is the problem, it doesn't have to cover her face. If it's just her mother, then it's a family issue. None of these are really etiquette problems.

tabitha

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2016, 12:55:58 PM »
Hi all,
Thanks for your replies. Sorry, you're right it isn't an ettiqutte question, I had forgotten about that.  My friend didn't want to google it (I promised I suggested it) because she didn't want the historical reason but the emotional one, her words not mine.  I just immediately thought of this site because we may be able to get a more personal type of input than found on a Google search. 

I've probably misused the thread.  Thank you for posting though, especially Rose Red, friend just needed some validation about strange demands from mothers who have no valid reasons, and also cherry pick which traditions are important and which are not.  So she is comforted by that response!

Thanks all!

Bethalize

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2016, 02:56:31 PM »
It was tradition to veil the bride and her hand maidens to confuse jealous evil spirits, who were attracted to the pure bride, on the way to the church. That's tradition, not religion. People follow tradition because they don't mind it and it gives them a sense of continuity or belonging.


Hillia

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2016, 04:20:14 PM »
And traditionally the bride walked down the aisle with the veil over her face, then her father lifted it over her head to hang down her back, as if proving to her groom that this is indeed the correct bride.  This may be the tradition her mother is thinking of; the bride's face is covered only during the walk down the aisle.

cross_patch

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2016, 05:08:00 PM »
Hi all,
Thanks for your replies. Sorry, you're right it isn't an ettiqutte question, I had forgotten about that.  My friend didn't want to google it (I promised I suggested it) because she didn't want the historical reason but the emotional one, her words not mine.  I just immediately thought of this site because we may be able to get a more personal type of input than found on a Google search. 

I've probably misused the thread.  Thank you for posting though, especially Rose Red, friend just needed some validation about strange demands from mothers who have no valid reasons, and also cherry pick which traditions are important and which are not.  So she is comforted by that response!

Thanks all!

How would ehell be able to answer the emotional question for your friend's mother? I don't understand?

sammycat

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2016, 05:43:01 PM »
It's Friend's wedding. If she doesn't want to wear a veil then she shouldn't wear one.

The mother can  really, really want a veil all she wants, but it's not her wedding, so she has no say.

Zizi-K

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2016, 08:37:25 PM »
Hi all,
Thanks for your replies. Sorry, you're right it isn't an ettiqutte question, I had forgotten about that.  My friend didn't want to google it (I promised I suggested it) because she didn't want the historical reason but the emotional one, her words not mine.  I just immediately thought of this site because we may be able to get a more personal type of input than found on a Google search. 

I've probably misused the thread.  Thank you for posting though, especially Rose Red, friend just needed some validation about strange demands from mothers who have no valid reasons, and also cherry pick which traditions are important and which are not.  So she is comforted by that response!

Thanks all!

Hmm, well google would probably provide links to all kinds of information, not just historical. Plus, if mom is insisting because "tradition" your friend may do well to arm herself with some information to the contrary. But in terms of etiquette, "thank you for your concern" would be an excellent response to mom. It's her wedding, she can style herself as she likes! She's a grown up and telling mom 'no' is good practice for the future when she has to visit her in-laws during the holidays instead of her own parents, when mom wants to drive junior around without a carseat or feed him dairy when he's allergic. "Because I don't want to" is a perfectly valid reason here.

SamiHami

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2016, 10:27:49 AM »
It's Friend's wedding. If she doesn't want to wear a veil then she shouldn't wear one.

The mother can  really, really want a veil all she wants, but it's not her wedding, so she has no say.

This, plain and simple.

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

gellchom

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Re: To wear a veil, or not to wear a veil
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2016, 03:13:55 PM »
I am a Jewish clergy wife.  The Wikipedia article isn't exactly wrong, but the whole Jacob-Leah-Rachel isn't really about wearing a veil altogether, it's the explanation for the badeken -- the little pre-ceremony ritual just before signing the ketubah where the groom looks at the bride and confirms that this is the bride he wants to marry (this was an amusing moment at my son's wedding to an identical twin; they were both in fancy hairdos and makeup, so he took a good long look at both of them to make sure!), and then lowers the veil over her face.

Anyway, at a Jewish wedding, the custom is to have a veil, but not the veil down the back, of whatever length -- that's meaningless even as a matter of tradition.  We are talking about a blusher veil, even a tiny little thing that doesn't even really cover the face.  And even that gets lifted up partway through the ceremony anyway, right at the beginning for the first cup of wine and then later altogether.  I don't know for sure, but it seems to me you could leave it up after that first cup of wine anyway.  Certainly if they are anything but extremely religious, no one is likely to have a problem with that.  I have seen Jewish brides skip the veil altogether, but very rarely.

So if your friend wants to honor the tradition but still have the look she wants, she may be worrying over much less than she thinks.  But if what is really at issue here is a question of values, religion, or power struggle, then none of this matters anyway. 

This is not really on point, but I'd recommend anyone wondering about whether to wear a long veil to try walking around with one.  They are more of a nuisance than most people realize -- even almost 34 years later, I remember feeling my head jerked back whenever anyone put an arm around me.  Mine was fingertip length.  And my friend mentioned the other day that her daughter, who married last fall, really regretted having a very long cathedral-length veil.