What Does It All Mean?: Wedding Dress Lingo

What Does It All Mean?: Wedding Dress Lingo


Shopping for your dream wedding dress can be an overwhelming experience.  It is a strange feeling to be looking for the dress you have probably imagined yourself being married in since you were a little girl.  But now you are older and wiser, and you still don’t have a clue what all the complicated wedding lingo means.


Not only do the dresses not fit because they are only sample dresses and you are guaranteed to have to have them adjusted, but your nearest and dearest that you have invited along to shop for your wedding dress suddenly turn into experts on the matter and relentlessly nip your head with their opinions.


Some of the staff in the bridal shops, although pleasant enough, seem to forget you are not an expert aswell.  They seem to assume you know what you are looking for and have bought plenty of wedding dresses before.  So when they start talking about Amanda Wyatt’s tulle and lace V-neck dress, just say ‘THIS IS MY FIRST WEDDING, YOU ARE TALKING ANOTHER LANGUAGE FOR ALL I KNOW!”


At least with this guide, you can maybe pretend to know what they are trying to tell you.



Brocade – Jacquard woven fabric with raised designs (Not exactly helpful that one is it?).

Chiffon – delicately sheer, thin, transparent fabric of silk.

Crepe – silk or rayon fabric made with a crepe yarn.

Eyelet – open-weave embroidery.

Moire – silk taffeta – wave patterned to glisten like water when illuminated.

Organza – sheer, crisp fabric like chiffon but with a stiff finish.

Silk faced satin – smooth, luxurious silk weave with a glossy face and dull back.

Taffeta – crisp, smooth fabric with a small crosswise rib.

Tulle – fine, sheer, open weave net in silk, nylon or rayon for skirts and veils.


Gown and Silhouette

Ballgown – fitted waist and bodice full skirt.

Basque – natural waist with V front.

Empire – small, scooped bodice gathers at high waist and has a slender graceful skirt.

Princess/A-line – slim fitting, vertical seams flow from shoulder to hem.  No seam on waist.

Sheath – narrow, body – conscious style indented at the waist following the bust, waist and hips.



High – high band collar, fits close to the neck.

Sabrina – gently follows the curve of the collarbone almost to the top of the shoulder.

Portrait – off – the – shoulder, extra fabric framing the neckline.

Jewel – round neckline at base of throat.

Sweetheart – shaped like the top half of a heart.


Lengths & Trains

Short – above the knee.

Knee length – hem just covers the knee.

Ballet length – hem reaches to the centre of the calf to ankle length.

Floor length – hem fully skims the floor.

Sweep train – shortest train (8-12 inches).

Chapel train – trails 3 1/2 – 4 1/2 feet from waist.

Semi – cathedral train – 4 1/2 – 5 1/2 feet from waist.

Cathedral train – 6 1/2 – 7 1/2 feet from waist.

Monarch train – 12 feet from waist.


Go to the home of my favourite show ‘SAY YES TO THE DRESS’, TLC to find out more – http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/weddings/wedding-dress-terms.htm



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Planning My Scottish Wedding

www.planningmyscottishwedding.co.uk is an online platform for brides and grooms to create their own personal profile, and plan their big day using a quality directory of wedding suppliers, create their own guestlist, create their own seating plan, chat on the forum and read news articles and blogs for ideas and inspiration.

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