Gave one of my brides a insight to bridal veil lengths today so I thought I'd pass it along. I sure wish I had this illustration with my explanation. I will make a copy of this picture and explanation because a picture speaks louder than words.
Look and learn will be my lecture as I hand out my cheat sheet on veil lengths.
Veils can be a variety of lengths and whilst many of you wouldn't wear one, some of you dream of lengthy tulle cascading behind you. I've put together a handy guide so that you know what length to ask for. Most of the shorter lengths can be defined by where they end as you'll see.
Blusher: This is the shortest style and sits just on the shoulders. Many veil lengths incorporate a blusher which can cover the face and then be pushed back to sit on top of the head after the ceremony. Blushers can be worn alone with informal dresses or paired with hats for a modern look.
Shoulder length: A very simple veil that sits on the shoulders and can be made to look fuller with a blusher. Fairly informal.
Elbow: A good choice for shorter brides as it spans to the elbow and won't swamp you in fabric. Can be informal or formal.
Fingertip: Taller brides can carry off this style which looks very elegant and veers towards more formal styles.
Mantilla: Layered veil in lengths from elbow to waltz. It's usually lace or trimmed with lace and embroidery.
Waltz: Almost floor length but just that bit shorter allowing you to 'waltz.' Also called floor length.
Chapel: This style reaches the floor is usually combined with one to two layers to give a fuller effect.
Cathedral: The most formal of all veils, it's designed to be worn with a full gown with a cathedral length train and can reach around 144 inches long.
Explanation from http://www.simplyweddings.com/content.asp?contentid=2567