Wedding Dress Terminology

Do you know your bandeau from your bateau?


The first few days of choosing a wedding dress can be extremely daunting. You’re asked a whole host of questions you don’t understand, such as ‘bateau or bandeau?’ or ‘sweetheart or strapless?’

After just a few dresses though you’ll find you’re soon talking in wedding dress speak like a professional. To help you on your way, we’ve got a guide to wedding dress terminology!


An A-line wedding dress starts out slimmer at the top before flaring at the bottom. Look at the triangular shape of the letter ‘A’ for an idea of the dress shape. This dress shape skims over lumps and bumps, flattering all figures.

The 4020B dress from Watters has a classic A-line shape.

Watters A-Line dress

Ball Gown

A ball gown typically features a tight, fitted bodice, with a full skirt. This traditional wedding dress style is best suited for pear-shaped brides as it conceals legs and flatters waists.

Mori Lee’s 2614 wedding dress is the perfect ball gown.

ball gown by mori lee

Dropped Waist

The 1920s are really in fashion at the moment, and this has seen a rise in the trend for wedding dresses with a dropped waist. If you want a vintage look, or to lengthen your upper body, consider a dropped waist wedding dress.

The 19033 from Ellis Bridals features a dropped waist, with the waistband sitting just above the hips.

Dropped waist Ellis Bridals wedding dress

Natural Waist

The natural waist on a wedding dress means the detailing or shape of the dress is focused on the area between your ribcage and hips. This is flattering on most body shapes.

If you’re looking for a gown with a natural waist, consider the F161001 from Jasmine Collection.

Jasmine Collection wedding dress

Bandeau Neckline

A bandeau neckline, also known as a straight across neckline, is a strapless bodice style which runs straight across the chest. This is the ideal choice for a well-endowed bride who wants to wear a strapless gown as it doesn’t draw too much attention to the cleavage.

The 3038B by Watters is the perfect example of a bandeau neckline.

Watters bandeau gown

Bateau Neckline

A bateau neckline runs across the collarbone, and is symmetrical front and back. It’s a great way to slim down shoulders, and looks stunning in a sheer fabric for added modesty.

This Justin Alexande dress has a bateau neckline.

bandeau neckline Justin Alexander wedding dress

Sweetheart Neckline

The sweetheart neckline is a bridal classic. It’s flattering and has a romantic name too! The sweetheart neckline suits most shapes, especially those with smaller cleavage as it helps to enhance.

The Cocorico dress from Ian Stuart has a beautiful sweetheart neckline.

Ian Stuart wedding dress


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