Terms You Need to Know Before You Go Wedding Dress Shopping

What exactly is Charmeuse satin?

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 03: A model walks the runway for the Pronovias bridal fashion show during Barcelona Bridal Week 2013 on May 3, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Miquel Benitez/WireImage)
Photo: Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

When it comes to bridal gowns, there is a whole new world of silhouettes, designs, fabrics, and cuts that you never knew existed and they can easily make your head spin. So if you don’t know Charmeuse from satin and Chantilly from Giupure lace, then definitely keep reading and make yourself familiar with the basic terms of wedding dress lingo.

If you have chosen a gorgeous gown with a long train, then you’ll definitely need a bustle added to your dress so you can move freely (and dance!) at your reception. It pulls the back of your gown and with a few options to choose from you can pick one that matches the style of your dress.

This is the upper part of a wedding dress but it does not include the sleeves. The difference between a bodice and a corset is that a corset is meant to be worn as shapewear underneath the dress, while bodices are meant to be visible.

If you pick a strapless wedding gown, chances are it will have boning inserted in the seams to prevent the bodice from drooping.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 27: A model walks the runway at Naeem Khan bridal fashion Season 2017 show during 'Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week 2016' on April 27, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Estrop/Getty Images)
Estrop/Getty Images

This is the long back part of your dress that trails behind you. There are several types you can choose from like cathedral that’s perfect for a formal wedding and starts at the waist, and fishtail which is much shorter and flares out from the knee.

Silk Mikado
This blend of silks is heavier and preferred for winter weddings. It is also a great option for structured gowns.

Usually made by blending silk with synthetic fabrics, organza keeps some of the qualities of silk—it’s lightweight, sheer, and smooth to the touch. Because it’s stiff, it is widely used to create fuller skirts for wedding dresses.

Similar to organza, taffeta (Persian for twisted woven) is also made from and looks like silk, but it has a more textured feel to it. If you are going for a ballgown silhouette, consider using taffeta for your skirt.

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This is a fabric that has distinctively crimped or grainy surface. It can be used to create beautiful drapery.

Chantilly Lace
Named after the French city of Chantilly, this type of bobbin silk lace has a web-like floral pattern and is the lightest and most delicate of all laces.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 17: A model walks the runway during the Reem Acra Bridal Spring/Summer 2016 Runway Show on April 17, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Randy Brooke/Getty Images)
Randy Brooke

Guipure Lace
A type of handmade lace where the motifs are connected with plaits rather than mesh or net.

Charmeuse is very similar to satin in that it has the same sheen, but it is much lighter and softer. Unfortunately, just like satin, charmeuse shows sweat easily so if you are planning an outdoor summer wedding, opt for a different fabric.

A tiered skirt usually falls in a series of multiple layers that would look gorgeous on a boho or art deco-inspired dress.

Illusion back
A sheer panel attached to the back of the bodice that would look incredibly sexy if constructed of lace.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 09: A model walks at Reem Acra Bridal Fall/Winter 2016 Runway Show at Reem Acra on October 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images)
Fernanda Calfat
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