Have you started wedding dress shopping, only to find out that you have no idea what on earth anyone is talking about? Never fear! Izzy Hicks gives us the lowdown on those tricky bridal terms…


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A-line is one of the most popular wedding dress cuts, as it suits almost every body shape. It’s a classic style that has a fitted bodice, and a gently flared skirt.


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Ballgowns are true princess dresses, and the most formal of all the dress shapes. It has a closely-fitted bodice that comes in at the waist and then immediately flares out into a full, voluminous skirt.


The mermaid is the sexiest dress shape, as it hugs your curves and shows off your figure the most. This style is tight from the bodice, through the waist and hips and down to your knees, where the skirt flares out dramatically.


The column is the simplest of all the wedding dress shapes – it’s fitted down to the waist and hips, and then has a straight skirt that flows to the floor. One example of a classic column dress is the Grecian-goddess style wedding gown.


The empire-line dress is similar to a column, but the skirt falls from directly below the bust, similar to a modern-day maxi dress. This makes it a great style for disguising bottom-heavy pear shapes.


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Chiffon is a popular choice for spring and summer weddings due to its extremely lightweight, sheer nature.

Illusion netting

This fabric is used in wedding gowns for the sheer overlays on backs and necklines, or sometimes to add sheer sleeves.


This is a popular fabric for the skirts on gowns, as it’s stiffer and heavier than chiffon, meaning it hangs nicely.


Satin is a very smooth, shiny fabric usually woven from silk or polyester.


Taffeta is a thick, woven fabric that rustles when you move in it. Its stiffness is useful for voluminous skirts.


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Bateau or boatneck

This is a high-neck design that covers the chest, but has a gentle dip at the neck and back. This style is also known as a Sabrina neckline.


As its name suggests, this style shows off the decolletage, collarbone and shoulders, with the straps or sleeves resting on the upper arm.

One-shoulder or asymmetric

This neckline is draped diagonally to leave one shoulder bare and one with a strap – think of a toga! It can also incorporate other necklines such as a sweetheart, with just one strap to add detail.


This neckline is like a semi-circle, and dips low over the chest. A scoop neck is perfect for balancing out a big skirt, but also looks beautiful when combined with a draped column skirt.


One of the most popular and flattering necklines, the sweetheart neckline looks like the top part of a heart, with a V shape in the middle. This style suits both small and large busts.

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Now you’ve got your head around wedding dress jargon, find out the 7 things no one tells you about wedding dress shopping… (eeek)…