Wedding Dress 101

Wedding Dress Silhouettes, Necklines, Waistlines, Trains And Fabrics defined

Wedding dresses come in a dizzying amount of options. Here is a glossary of wedding dress terms to help you find the style that's perfect for you!


Sweep (also called brush) is the shortest trains -usually, the back hem is only a few inches lower than the front hem
Court is slightly longer than the brush, extending approximately 3 feet behind the waist
Chapel Length is generally 1 1/3 yards or 4 feet from the waistline
Cathedral Length Train is generally 2 1/2 yards or 7 1/2 feet from the waistline


A wedding dress can be made from either silk or polyester. How the fiber is woven determines if the dress is:

Charmeuse is lightweight, semi-lustrous soft, is satin-like to the touch
Chiffon is delicate, sheer, and transparent, with a soft finish. Often layered because of its transparency
Crepe is light, soft, and thin, with a crinkled surface
Duchesse Satin is lightweight hybrid of silk or polyester and rayon woven into a satin finish
Dupioni has a finish similar to shantung, but with thicker, coarser fibers, and a slight sheen
Georgette is a sheer and lightweight fabric with a crepe surface
Mikado is a brand of blended fibers, usually heavier than 100-percent silk
Organza: is a crisp and sheer like chiffon, with a stiffer texture similar, but more flowing than tulle
Satin is heavy and smooth with a high sheen on one side
Shantung is similar to a raw silk, characterized by its rough/nubby texture
Taffeta is crisp and smooth, with a slight rib
Tulle is netting (just like ballerina tutus)


Alençon is delicate needlepoint lace with a distinct floral pattern outlined with corded detail.
Guipure is heavy, large patterned decorative lace
Chantilly is the most romantic type, this delicate lace has a sheer quality and features flowers ribbons.
Point D'Esprit is lightweight lace with small dots woven into a scattered pattern. Often layered with over a dress for a whimsical feel.
Schiffli is a machine made lace embroidery. It is also known as chemical lace.

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