Lingo to Know: 9 Wedding Dress Terms and What They Mean

10ea398e-2714-11e2-a2c2-97df7d3ac792_VeraWang-Sydney-WEB-12 - Copy--646x363When you’re shopping for a dress, you may be approached by shop attendants asking you if you prefer a “chapel train” or “semi-cathedral,” or if you’d like a “sweetheart neckline” or a “halter style.” Considering all you have to think about while you plan the big day, you shouldn’t have to consult a dictionary just to find a dress.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a short list of wedding dress lingo to help you find what you want faster.

1. Asymmetrical:  Simply put—not the same. This can be with skirt length – long in back and short in front – like so:

         Or necklines, here:


See more ofthis style here.

2. Bateau: This type of neckline is high and wide, with the opening reaching to mid-shoulder. You’ll usually see this sleeveless style was an Audrey Hepburn favorite.

Click here for this one.

Click here for this dress.

3. Cap Sleeves: Very short sleeves that basically just cover your shoulder. If you want a bit of coverage, but don’t really like the look of sleeves on a formal dress, this is your best bet.

Find this short wedding dress here.

Find this short wedding dress here.

4. Flutter Sleeves: These are usually made of soft and/or sheer fabric, and offer a romantic look.

5. Mermaid: This is a very trendy style, but works best on women with hourglass figures who want to show off their curves. It hugs the body tight until around the knee area, where it flares out naturally or with ruffles or other embellishments.

6. Sheath: This style, also referred to as “column,” follows the basic lines of the body without being too form fitting or too loose.

7. Watteau: This style of train is attached at the shoulders and drapes to the floor.

Find this one here.

Find this one here.

8. Sweep: This train will trail a foot or less on the floor and is suitable for almost any type of wedding.

Click here for this one.

Click here for this one.

9. Cathedral: This train flows about 7 feet from the waist and is fit for a very formal wedding.

Find this one here.

Find this one here.

Have any questions? Know of something we missed? Let us know!


  1. Jessika Nagel March 11, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    Wow, beautiful wedding dress. Thanks for your information, very useful, it can help me saving a lot of time.

    • Talia March 11, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

      Great! We’re glad you like them! Let us know if there’s anything else we can do for you on your wedding dress search!

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