Nov. 3, 2011, 7 a.m. by SMARTBRIDE

Anatomy of The Wedding Dress


We know that for many brides, the wedding dress is one of the most important items of the day. Smart Brides spend a lot of time searching online and in magazines for inspiration, and then actually shopping and trying on dresses to find “the one”.

Used Monique Lhuillier wedding dress
Used Monique Lhuillier wedding dress available on SmartBride Boutique

That’s why, when we came across this blog post on Red Photography, we had to share! Here is a helpful breakdown of all of the parts of a wedding dress to help you talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to your important purchase.

  1. Silhouette
    An important aspect of any wedding dress is its basic overall shape, referred to as the silhouette. This shape really sets the mood of the dress and can quickly classify it as modern, vintage, sexy, or eclectic. Common shapes include:

  2. Bodice
    This is the body of the gown, the section between the neckline and the skirt. Common forms include: corset, empire, halter, midriff, princess-line, surplice, and tank.

  3. Neckline
    This is the most noticeable part of the dress, especially in wedding photographs. It is the part of the dress that people notice first and frames the bride’s face. The neckline really adds character to the dress.
    • Higher necklines include: bateau, mandarin, and jewel/T-shirt types.

    • Low necklines include the portrait, one-shoulder, and sweetheart types.

    • Halter necklines wrap around the back of the neck and create deep armholes.

    • The scoop is a U shaped neckline that works well for all body types.

    • There is also a V neck style.

  4. Train
    From long, opulent, royal style trains, to no train at all, this elongated back part of the gown can really send a statement and create a majestic appearance. Longer trains bring with them a more formal style. Many brides these days are wearing smaller trains, or none at all.

    Train types include, from the longest to the shortest: royal, cathedral, chapel, court, sweep, and watteau.

  5. Hemline
    The hemline refers to the length of the gown. Traditionally dresses were floor length until around World War 1. In the 1920′s the hemlines of wedding dressed rose along with the styles of the day. Since then they have moved up and down with the fashion styles of the day. The longer the dress, the more formal, with floor length gowns being considered the most formal of all. Knee length and shorter is considered informal.

More Wedding Dress Shopping Tips:
Hope that gives you a great starting point! For more tips when it comes to shopping for your wedding dress, check out these posts: