Wedding Dresses 101

Dan Rentillo, David’s Bridal Design Director

Wedding Dresses 101:
From A-line to trumpet skirts, vocabulary every bride should learn before
beginning their wedding gown search

Your wedding gown is one of the most important dresses you’ll buy in your lifetime and it’s no ordinary dress – they come in a variety of necklines and silhouettes, may have trains and intricate embellishments. You’re introduced to an entirely new vocabulary when you begin your wedding gown search and that can be quite intimidating. However, the search for your dream dress doesn’t have to be so daunting once you familiarize yourself with a few key bridal terms. Here is a go-to list of words to keep on-hand as you start your search!


 A-line: A dress with a fitted bodice that gradually flares from the waist. The best part? A-line styles are flattering for women of all shapes and sizes. Style SWG339


 Appliqué: A decorative fabric design or lace cutout that is applied to another fabric, such as a dress, veil or shoes – these embellishments are built-in accessories! Style CWG344

 Asymmetrical: An uneven design element that creates interest; it may be gathering of fabric on one side, an uneven hem or a one-shoulder strap, which is perfect for the bride in search of a more dramatic look.

 Bustle: A type of train that is gathered and elegantly attached to the back of the dress to make it easier to walk or dance at the reception.

 Skirt: Bridal gowns don’t just come in long and short! Here are a few skirt styles to choose from:
o Mermaid: A dress or skirt that is fitted at the top and flairs below the knee. Also known as fishtail or trumpet style. Style CWG352
o Pick-up: A design element where fabric is picked up at various points and attached to the skirt for a voluminous look. Style WG3025

o Tea Length: A gown or skirt with a hem that falls between the bottom of the knee and the bottom of the calf (several inches above the ankle), creating a look that is elegant, yet casual. Style WG3165

 Neckline: In addition to your staple halters, spaghetti strap and strapless styles, there are other interesting options to consider!
o Portrait: A shawl-like neckline that frames the collarbone with a wide, soft draping of fabric from the tip of one shoulder to the other.
o Scalloped: A fabric detail featuring a delicately curved or cascading edge.
o Sweetheart: Shaped like the top of a heart, this neckline complements the décolletage.


 Trains: Keeping these types of trains in mind will ensure you choose a gown that will make you feel the most comfortable on your wedding day! Style CWG365
o Watteau: A train that attaches at mid-back.
o Sweep: A train that just brushes the floor.
o Cathedral: A train that extends one and a third yards (about 4 feet) from the waist.

So as you prepare for your first bridal shopping trip, consider these bridal gown terms and your style preference…that way, you’ll have an easier time finding the wedding gown of your dreams. You’ll not only look picture-perfect, but feel amazing on the big day!

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