Speak the Wedding Gown Language!

Shopping for a wedding gown is perhaps one of the most exciting yet stressful tasks for every bride-to-be. What thought to be a fun and happy gown hunting can easily turn into a nightmare especially when you find yourself getting lost in the wedding gown language: the professional terms and glossary. As if it is not already stressful enough, you will be introduced to various types of material, design, cutting, color, etc. Well, freed not, we have rounded up some terms to navigate you through the gown language. So, have yourself prepared and jot these terms down to save your hassles!

Bodice and Neckline

Bodice refers to the upper waist part excluding the sleeves, while neckline is the edge that goes around the neck. Here are a few bodice and neckline terms that brides often come across.




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  • Corset

A shape wear worn inside the gown to enhance the body figure by hugging tightly against the body with hook, snap or laced back securing. 

  • Sweetheart

A rounded fabric curves over each breast, meeting in a shallow or deep V-neck point in the middle.  


  • Off-shoulder

A familiar term refers to neckline that leaves the shoulders and collarbone bare.

  • Asymmetrical

The fabric covers only either one shoulder and leaving the other shoulder bare. It is a go-to look for brides who prefer a care-free style.


  • Halter

It fastens around the back of the neck, similar to that of a halter bikini top.

Gown Silhouette

Shopping for a wedding gown typically begins with choosing a basic structure, or in the wedding language- gown silhouette. It is the overall gown construction and style.

  • ​Mermaid

As its name suggests, a mermaid silhouette mermaid dress fits the body from chest to waist, and begins to flair out at the knee like a mermaid tail.

simple satin sweetheat mermaid bridal gown
long sleeves bridal gown
  • A-line

Fitted or narrow bodice with a modest flair skirt right down. It’s a classic cut that suits almost all body types.

  • Princess

Similar to a classic A-line but with a more exaggerated flare, again it suits most body types.

long sleeves bridal ballgown Macau
  • Sheath

Long and slim, body-hugging and non-fitted waist. It is a close, form-fitting dress from bodice to the skirt. Some brides would prefer to alter a slit at the legs for easier walking.


  • Empire

A dress where the skirt hangs down from high waist, usually below the chest.


No honey, not the rail transport that carry you from place to place. Train in the wedding language means the longest part of your dress starts from the waistline extending to the floor. The train plays a powerful role and can transform your bridal look to a magical moment.

  • Sweep

A sweep train is the shortest among all, usually about six inches. It is a smart choice for outdoor wedding without the hassle of a bustle.


  • Watteau

A detachable train attached to the shoulder, or sometimes top back of the bodice.


  • Chapel

A semi-formal train length, usually extends about 5 feet behind the gown.


  • Cathedral

A dramatic 6 to 8 feet long train behind the gown. It’s a formal train and perfect for fairy tale ball gown wedding dresses.


  • Royal

As the name suggests, a royal train has been used in most of the royal weddings such as the late Princess Diana’s. It extends 10 feet (or more!) from the waistline.


The material of cloth used to produce wedding gown.

  • Chiffon

A sheer, mesh fabric with soft and delicate touch in silk or cotton.


  • Guipure Lace

A fine hand-made lace full of floral designs.


  • Faced Satin

A softer version of satin made from 100% silk.


  • Illusion

A sheer and thin netting often used for sleeves or back to present a more modest look.


  • Mikado Silk

A good quality fabric with smooth finish and heavy weight to provide refined structure for wedding gown.

Decoding these wedding gown terms will help you to see different elements and components that may be mixed and match to create your own unique bridal look. With this list of glossary, may we say, happy gown shopping!