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As you start planning for your wedding, you will be amazed at all the options just for the bridal gown. There are numerous styles, shapes, colors, designers, and so many questions. As the bride, you want the most glamorous dress you can afford but probably filled with questions and unsure where to start. This is the feeling that most brides experience but by understanding gown definitions, you can enjoy the buying process and look amazing on your wedding day.

The most important thing is allowing enough time to choose the perfect gown. Although most brides have looked at wedding gowns since being a little girl, when it comes to the real thing, you want to consider many options that might not have been considered before. As soon as you become engaged, you need to start with looking for your bridal gown. Keep in mind that in addition to traditional styles, new styles are created every year, which is why you need to look beyond what you always thought to be the ideal gown.

Rather than feel overwhelmed, you want the experience of buying bridal gown to be exciting and fun. To give you a head start of the styles most often chosen, consider the following descriptions:
  • A-Line This type of bridal gown is form fitting in the bodice area but then flares out from the waist to a full, seamless skirt

  • Back Drape With this gown, a flowing piece of material is attached at the shoulder or waist that then flows down to the floor. Gowns with this feature come in permanent and detachable options.

  • Ball Gown The traditional ball gown has a beautiful full skirt that starts from the waist and is flowing

  • Ballerina Neckline The neckline for this gown is low and usually associated with a gown that has thin, spaghetti straps or no straps at all

  • Basque Waist / V-Waist The waist on this gown is dropped, starting just below the natural waistline. The center of the skirt dips in the center in the shape of a V.

  • Bateau Neck / Boat Neck The neckline is wide, straight, and high, running across both front and back that then meets at the shoulder

  • Cap Sleeve The sleeves of this gown are small and short, resting gently on the shoulder forming a stiff cap, or falling onto the arm

  • Cathedral Train / Monarch Train This train is for a very formal wedding, trailing behind the bridal gown six to eight feet

  • Chapel Train Of all trains, this is the most popular that also flows behind the gown but only three to four feet

  • Column Skirt / Straight Skirt The skirt has a clean, straight line without any flair

  • Corset Top / Boned Bodice This bridal gown is very form fitting and in most cases, strapless. The bodice is designed with boning that includes snap closures or lace worn underneath or as an outer garment.

  • Crinoline This is most often called a Petticoat and is worn underneath a gown to create fullness

  • Diamond Neck The neck has a diamond-shaped cutout with fasteners at the front or back

  • Dropped Shoulders Very sophisticated and romantic, this style gently falls off the shoulder

  • Empire Bodice The bodice of this gown comes up just below the bust line

  • Empire Waist For this gown, the waistline is just below the bust line

  • Fishtail Train Beautifully fitted around the hips with a nice flair from the knee to the hemline

  • Fitted Pointed Sleeve The sleeves are long and narrow, and taper to a soft point that then rests on the back side of the hand

  • Gauntlet These bridal gloves are elegant and extend just above the write line

  • Halter Top The bodice is sleeveless and has a wrap neck or high choke, and typically backless

  • Keyhole Neck In the bodice, there is a tear-shaped or round hole that fastens at the top either on the front or back of the gown

  • Mermaid The skirt of this bridal gown gracefully hugs the body and then has a dramatic flair from the knees down

  • Sheath This is a full gown or skirt and bodice that are form fitting and usually ankle length

  • Spaghetti Strap Thin, tubular straps fitted to the bodice

  • Square Neck The neckline is open and in the shape of a half square

  • Sweet Train This train comes only to the floor without trailing behind on the floor

  • Sweetheart Neck The neckline of this gown is shaped like a heart

  • Tank Top Perfect for an informal bridal gown, the top is short and sleeveless, and designed with wide armholes

  • Tulle Skirt / Bouffant Gown - The overskirt is made from rayon, nylon net, or some other type of puffy material that is sheer and then laid over the actual gown

  • V Neck / V Back For this gown, either the neck or the back is in the shape of a V that goes down midway on the bodice
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