De-veiling the bride


#1

It used to be customary (at least where I came from) that, towards the end of the wedding reception, the matrons among the bride's relatives or friends would remove the bride's veil and put a pretty satin or lace apron on her, symbolizing her transition from single girl to wife. Is this custom still followed anywhere? (At the wedding receptions I've attended recently, the bride no longer even wears her veil.)


#2

I have to say I have never heard of this custom with the apron. Since most modern women don't get married until their late 20s or later, and have to have job skills to help support the family (because of modern economics and the fact that so many marriages fail), this apron custom would seem to be terribly out-dated. Ditto for the veil; there are not very many 26 yr old virgins, are there?

Mind you, I do remember we had a goofy game at my wedding shower, where everyone had to open the gifts with oven mitts on. That too was obviously a throw-back to previous generations when women tended to stay home (usually in agrarian cultures).


#3

[quote="Ailina, post:2, topic:206662"]
I have to say I have never heard of this custom with the apron. Since most modern women don't get married until their late 20s or later, and have to have job skills to help support the family (because of modern economics and the fact that so many marriages fail), this apron custom would seem to be terribly out-dated. Ditto for the veil; *there are not very many 26 yr old virgins, are there? *

Mind you, I do remember we had a goofy game at my wedding shower, where everyone had to open the gifts with oven mitts on. That too was obviously a throw-back to previous generations when women tended to stay home (usually in agrarian cultures).

[/quote]

I would certainly hope there are. :\


#4

I've never of anything like that.

It makes perfect sense to me that a woman would remove her veil after the ceremony, from a symbolic standpoint. For Catholic women, veiling is a sign of respect for the Blessed Sacrament, isn't it? The reception isn't held in the presence of the Sacrament.


#5

[quote="Ailina, post:2, topic:206662"]
I have to say I have never heard of this custom with the apron. Since most modern women don't get married until their late 20s or later, and have to have job skills to help support the family (because of modern economics and the fact that so many marriages fail), this apron custom would seem to be terribly out-dated. *Ditto for the veil; there are not very many 26 yr old virgins, are there? *

Mind you, I do remember we had a goofy game at my wedding shower, where everyone had to open the gifts with oven mitts on. That too was obviously a throw-back to previous generations when women tended to stay home (usually in agrarian cultures).

[/quote]

Wow, certainly setting girls up for success huh? I can assure you there are still some out there.

I've never heard of the apron tradition, although I plan on wearing a veil for tradition's sake, I do know that it seems to be more of a trend now to just use flowers or some other hairpiece.

The only traditions at the receptions I have ever seen is throwing the bouquet and removing the garter, the latter which my fiance and I are refusing to do as it seems horribly tacky and rather disgusting in my mind. Just what I want people watching, my new husband going under my dress..


#6

Never heard of the apron tradition. Perhaps its a local tradition? We have the dollar dance and the cookie table which some of my friends in other parts of the country had never heard of.


#7

[quote="Moscati, post:4, topic:206662"]
I've never of anything like that.

It makes perfect sense to me that a woman would remove her veil after the ceremony, from a symbolic standpoint. For Catholic women, veiling is a sign of respect for the Blessed Sacrament, isn't it? The reception isn't held in the presence of the Sacrament.

[/quote]

Actually, the bridal veil, specifically, symbolizes virginity, youth, and modesty, and was believed to offer protection from evil spirits. It was also the custom to veil the bride's face in the case of arranged marriages. pibweddings.com/traditionsorigins.html

Though many brides remove their veils for the wedding reception, our daughters just wore shorter ones (the ones for the Nuptial Mass had very long trains which were not practical for dancing, etc.)

Have never heard of the veil/apron thing!


#8

[quote="PatriceA, post:6, topic:206662"]
Never heard of the apron tradition. Perhaps its a local tradition? We have the dollar dance and the cookie table which some of my friends in other parts of the country had never heard of.

[/quote]

Mmmmmm.....cookie table.... I could get used to that!


#9

There most certainly are. However, if people keep making comments and assumptions that there are not, they’ll soon be extinct.


#10

[quote="CoffeeHound, post:9, topic:206662"]
There most certainly are. However, if people keep making comments and assumptions that there are not, they'll soon be extinct.

[/quote]

I'm just being realistic. My grandmother was married at 15 (agrarian lifestyle 105 years ago) and so didn't have to "save herself for marriage". People generally didn't have to wait as long as we do today, to satisfy those biological urges.


#11

One version of that custom is a Polish wedding custom, one that we included at my own wedding. Since my veil was an antique lace family heirloom, at the reception I removed it and used my mother-in-laws smaller non-heirloom veil. Our tradition was part of the "dollar dance" where I took the veil, and with a great flourish plunked it into the vaska (sp? I'm not skilled at Polish spelling!), ie large metal bucket, and put on the apron my mother-in-law made for me. The apron is more ceremonial than practical, it hangs in my kitchen but its simply too pretty and too hard to clean to actually use for cooking or anything you'd normally need an apron for! After that the vaska was handed to my maid-of-honor and people would throw in a dollar, or change to get the chance to do a polka with the bride. Mine was more traditional, I have heard of more Americanized versions especially in Pennsylvania and other areas.

A more traditional take would involve a complicated hair braiding ritual the day before the wedding and at the ceremony, and at the end of the dollar dance the last one to dance with the bride is her husband, who throws in his entire wallet to signify that he essentially wins.

It was a lot of fun, but I was exhausted after so much polka!


#12

People don’t wait because they’re told at a young age that it’s wrong to wait and “normal” to lose their virginity at age 16.


#13

[quote="saoirsephoto, post:11, topic:206662"]
One version of that custom is a Polish wedding custom, one that we included at my own wedding. Since my veil was an antique lace family heirloom, at the reception I removed it and used my mother-in-laws smaller non-heirloom veil. Our tradition was part of the "dollar dance" where I took the veil, and with a great flourish plunked it into the vaska (sp? I'm not skilled at Polish spelling!), ie large metal bucket, and put on the apron my mother-in-law made for me. The apron is more ceremonial than practical, it hangs in my kitchen but its simply too pretty and too hard to clean to actually use for cooking or anything you'd normally need an apron for! After that the vaska was handed to my maid-of-honor and people would throw in a dollar, or change to get the chance to do a polka with the bride. Mine was more traditional, I have heard of more Americanized versions especially in Pennsylvania and other areas.

A more traditional take would involve a complicated hair braiding ritual the day before the wedding and at the ceremony, and at the end of the dollar dance the last one to dance with the bride is her husband, who throws in his entire wallet to signify that he essentially wins.

It was a lot of fun, but I was exhausted after so much polka!

[/quote]

Yes, more Americanized tradition of the "dollar dance" as I mentioned in my previous post. I had guests of other ethnic origins scoff at the "dollar dance", thought it was very inappropriate.


#14

[quote="CoffeeHound, post:12, topic:206662"]
People don't wait because they're told at a young age that it's wrong to wait and "normal" to lose their virginity at age 16.

[/quote]

Well, it wasn't that long ago that 16 yr olds were married, and to be 20 and un-married was to be considered a spinster or old maid.


#15

27 year old virgin here. Had plenty of opportunity to NOT be one but just overcame the urge. What a profound concept eh?

I've always loved the deveiling... I was not aware the face is only covered for arranged marriages. But I suppose when we're discussing veils we need to specify which culture we're referring to?

I wonder if some cultures still veil the brides face? Or if veiling has ANY meaning still, somewhere out there?

Does anyone know if Bridesmaids have ever veiled at Catholic weddings? It seems strange to me that the very idea of veiling a bridesmaid is so foreign (I've been looking for information on this - not because I am getting married, I'm single, but because while reading about veiling in the church I thought about marriage in the church and then, further, why aren't people veiling their bridesmaids?).


#16

[quote="nickybr38, post:15, topic:206662"]

Does anyone know if Bridesmaids have ever veiled at Catholic weddings? It seems strange to me that the very idea of veiling a bridesmaid is so foreign (I've been looking for information on this - not because I am getting married, I'm single, but because while reading about veiling in the church I thought about marriage in the church and then, further, why aren't people veiling their bridesmaids?).

[/quote]

Brides were always very heavily face veiled because marriages were always bartered for and arranged by men with the woman having little or no say in it. As a result the bride was traditionally sobbing through the entire ceremony which generally made the audience uncomfortable, and so she would always be heavily face veiled in advance and often marched in with music, if at all possible.. Veiling is done in obedience to the bride's father, to avoid his public embarrassment and humiliation by her sobbing in public over his arrangement of her marriage. Veiling and bridal march music served the very functional purpose of hiding the sobbing of the bride from the audience as much as possible. Bridesmaids were traditionally always young girls, cheerful animated pretty little distractions from the main event. They were never veiled. It would have been extremely counterproductive ever to veil the bridesmaids, as they were always intended to be the cheerful pretty little distractions, decorations intended to lend excitement, beauty, joy, and charm to the main event, which was often not much more than the arranged, organized, and sanctified rape of the bride by her husband. The groom de-veils the bride after the sealing of the vows, which is a public demonstration that the ownership of the woman and her obedience has passed from her father to her husband. The father has the right to de-veil and re-veil and kiss her goodbye if he so chooses, but only before the vows are sealed. The husband has the right to de-veil her only after the vows are sealed. At no time does the bride have the right to de-veil herself, nor does anyone else have the right to de-veil the bride whatsoever..
The post-marriage-consumption public display of the bloodied sheets was also often part of the tradition, as was the bridal toast and liberal drinking of wine to take the edge off it and the sting out.
The women born in the 1800's used to talk about it among themselves all the time, but most of what the women of the 1800's talked about was never written down into the history books, as they were overwhelmingly published only by men..


#17

Oh yes, and in those cultures where the women de-veil the bride and/or do the apron thing, all they do is remove the veil from the back of her hair after her husband has already removed it from her face after the sealing of the vows The married women basically attend to the bride to see how she is holding up, reassure and comfort her that they are there for her, take the veil off the back of her hair so it no longer weighs her down and pack it carefully away (they are fragile heirlooms, after all), tie up her skirt a bit so it no longer weighs her down so that she can dance, and they welcome her to their ranks and community now as no longer a girl, but as a married woman, with whom they will now speak to and regard as a woman and an equal in the community of women.
That is what the apron is about. It is not about housecleaning. It is about them reassuring and comforting her and guaranteeing her their continued support as fellow married women. It is about the support of the communal sharing of the truths and grief and female problems of marriage, pregnancy, and childbirth that were always unspoken and unwritten and unacknowledged and ignored by society.... and that had always to be hidden.....under an apron.


#18

[quote="nickybr38, post:15, topic:206662"]
27 year old virgin here. Had plenty of opportunity to NOT be one but just overcame the urge. What a profound concept eh?

I've always loved the deveiling... I was not aware the face is only covered for arranged marriages. But I suppose when we're discussing veils we need to specify which culture we're referring to?

I wonder if some cultures still veil the brides face? Or if veiling has ANY meaning still, somewhere out there?

Does anyone know if Bridesmaids have ever veiled at Catholic weddings? It seems strange to me that the very idea of veiling a bridesmaid is so foreign (I've been looking for information on this - not because I am getting married, I'm single, but because while reading about veiling in the church I thought about marriage in the church and then, further, why aren't people veiling their bridesmaids?).

[/quote]

As a matter of fact yes. My parents were married in 1966. The bridesmaids all had hats with little veils, the veil was attached to the hat...picture the hats Lucy Riccardo wore.

It was reverence of the Eucharist at Mass.


#19

[quote="former_Catholic, post:16, topic:206662"]
Brides were always very heavily face veiled because marriages were always bartered for and arranged by men with the woman having little or no say in it. As a result the bride was traditionally sobbing through the entire ceremony which generally made the audience uncomfortable, and so she would always be heavily face veiled in advance and often marched in with music, if at all possible.. Veiling is done in obedience to the bride's father, to avoid his public embarrassment and humiliation by her sobbing in public over his arrangement of her marriage. Veiling and bridal march music served the very functional purpose of hiding the sobbing of the bride from the audience as much as possible. Bridesmaids were traditionally always young girls, cheerful animated pretty little distractions from the main event. They were never veiled. It would have been extremely counterproductive ever to veil the bridesmaids, as they were always intended to be the cheerful pretty little distractions, decorations intended to lend excitement, beauty, joy, and charm to the main event, which was often not much more than the arranged, organized, and sanctified rape of the bride by her husband. The groom de-veils the bride after the sealing of the vows, which is a public demonstration that the ownership of the woman and her obedience has passed from her father to her husband. The father has the right to de-veil and re-veil and kiss her goodbye if he so chooses, but only before the vows are sealed. The husband has the right to de-veil her only after the vows are sealed. At no time does the bride have the right to de-veil herself, nor does anyone else have the right to de-veil the bride whatsoever..
The post-marriage-consumption public display of the bloodied sheets was also often part of the tradition, as was the bridal toast and liberal drinking of wine to take the edge off it and the sting out.
The women born in the 1800's used to talk about it among themselves all the time, but most of what the women of the 1800's talked about was never written down into the history books, as they were overwhelmingly published only by men..

[/quote]

And which cultures are you referring to here? I think it's important to be specific as not EVERY country practices this the same way.


#20

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:18, topic:206662"]
As a matter of fact yes. My parents were married in 1966. The bridesmaids all had hats with little veils, the veil was attached to the hat...picture the hats Lucy Riccardo wore.

It was reverence of the Eucharist at Mass.

[/quote]

Exactly! That's what I thought immediately when I read that Catholic marriages take place at Mass. :) And thanks for sharing that, I think it's beautiful.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.