Terms to Learn When Shopping for a Wedding Dress

When you're ready to shop for a wedding dress, it can be good to learn a few simple terms and phrases that are used to describe the style, material and features of these dresses. This can help you to more easily find the features you want in your dress and can allow salespersons to quickly find the best dresses to show you and customised wedding gown features to suggest. Note a few of those terms here, before you even begin shopping for a wedding dress.


An A-line dress is fitted at the waist and over the hips and legs, and then flares out slightly at the knees, down to the feet. An A-line dress can be good for dancing, as it allows for a bit more movement of the legs.

Column, sheath

A sheath dress tapers in slightly as it flows downward so that it stays a bit snug along the entire line of your legs. A column dress is similar, except that it maintains the same cut from the waist and hips to the feet. This gives a column dress a straight vertical line, but without being quite as fitted as a sheath silhouette.


If you'd like a small train to your dress, consider a mermaid silhouette. This type of cut fits from the waist to the knees, but the back of the dress then flares outward. This can create the look of a train, without having a large and bulky addition to the backside of the dress interfering with its cut or movement.


A surplice bodice has fabric that criss-crosses or twists as it extends from one shoulder to the opposite hip. This surplice can be on the front or the back, or both, and can create a slimmer silhouette. A surplice bodice will also have a bit more texture and depth than a plain bodice.


Lace can be sewn over the fabric of a dress to add a romantic touch while still keeping the dress itself durable and fitted. Lace has different styles and patterns that you might note, so you can easily choose which type of design would suit your dress. Alencon lace has delicate flowers and arches, with some netting left exposed. Chantilly lace has a very fine netting background, and is very delicate. Spanish lace has a more prominent rose flower added to the netting. Venice lace is very heavy and often cut into strips that are then added to create a waistline or hemline of a gown.