Gown Terms and Design Elements
Wedding Gowns: The Anatomy
Your wedding gown is perhaps the most important item you'll
purchase during your planning. But choosing the right dress
involves much more than just deciding between white and ivory.
So we've come up with a glossary of terms that will help you
pick the perfect design.
The material of your wedding dress can determine the overall
look and feel you want to achieve.
Satin: This material creates a glossy, silk-like look.
Crepe: Gives a wrinkled and worn appearance.
Brocade: This loom-made material can add a curtain, crochet, or
lace look to the dress.
Organza: A thin, sheath-like fabric which flows easily.
Shantung: Made from intricate weaving, this material can add a
ribbed look to your gown.
This will determine how your wedding dress fits and sits near
the neck and bust area.
Halter: This dress features a strap on either shoulder which
meets in the back at the nape of the neck.
Off-the-Shoulder: This neckline surrounds the bust, wrapping
around the outer arm just below the shoulder.
Bateau: The fabric of the dress connects from the edge of one
shoulder to the edge of the other, giving it a boat neck
Sweetheart: A strapless dress whose bust is cut to form a heart
shape in front.
Strapless: As the name implies, no straps are featured on this
dress. Rather, the material wraps under the arms.
This term describes the shape and form of the dress. There are
several styles to choose from. To see which style best suites
your body type, read our article entitled "The Best Gown for
A-Line: A slim-fitting wedding dress with vertical seams that
present a triangular form (similar to the letter A) when worn.
Ball Gown: The upper half of the dress, or bodice, is
form-fitting, while the lower half of the dress, or waist,
billows to a full skirt.
Empire: Only the bust area of this dress is snug. The remainder
of the gown begins to flow slowly outward as it reaches the
Mermaid: This dress is taut against the body until the material
reaches the knee, then the dress flares until it hits the floor.
Dropped: The dress is tight against the bust and bodice, and
then drops just below the waistline for a low-rise look before
These add-ons enhance the elegance of the dress, taking it from
simple to stylish in a few quick stitches.
Beading: Glass, gems, or crystals used to catch light and add
shine and shimmer.
Appliqués: Fabric cut-outs sewn on to add depth and texture.
Sequins: Small, shiny circles that add glitter and glimmer to
Ribbons: Large or small, these carefully placed bows add a bit
of extra beauty.
Edging: A bordered trim made of fringe, lace, embroidery, or
When the ceremony has ended, the party's just begun! Bustling
allows you move more freely by tucking away your train without
taking away from the beauty of the dress.
Bustle: A wedding dress whose train is pulled upward and
fastened to the back of the dress using buttons or hooks.
French Bustle: A wedding dress whose train is secured
underneath the gown and cannot be seen from the outside.
About the Author: Author Hugh Parker: Senta Parker photography
is the buzz in wedding photography and her resource center is
jam packed with helpful articles that address all the needs of
those planing a wedding. Her site is unique so join the buzz
by By Hugh Parker - 18 July 2008