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When preparing to walk that walk, you'll want to be able to talk the talk too.  

These easy references will ensure you are clear in communicating your vision.



Alterations:  a change; modification or adjustment to create a custom fit, look or function.


Appliqué: Meaning “to put on” in French, this sewing technique involves decorating the surface of a fabric (wedding gown or otherwise) by applying pieces of cut fabric on top of it.


Body Shapers: An undergarment used to create a smooth silhouette. Commonly referred to as Spanx or shapewear.




A system for shortening or holding up the train of a wedding dress; usually involving hooks, strings, snaps or buttons.  A wedding dress can be bustled after the wedding ceremony to prevent damage to the train, being stepped on, etc.  There are many styles including American, French, Ballroom among the most common.


American: This style is also often called the "outer bustle" because your train is hooked up on the outside of the dress. To do this there are buttons or hooks placed on the outside of your gown with corresponding loops.  This and the French bustles are the most common.


Austrian: This style of bustle is seen less often however, it gives a striking finish on plain gowns, and also gives a quick and easy solution which raises the hem of the bustle evenly all round the dress. It is rigged with two ribbons inside the dress, one which fits though a long tube on the centre back seam.


Ballroom: This wedding dress bustle style is sometimes called a "flip under or "flip up" bustle. With this type of bustle the train flips up under the dress and buttons are sewn to the skirt and loops are sewn to the hem of the train to button up. Once bustled, this train looks like a floor length dress all the way around.


French: This style is also called an "under bustle" or European bustle." This bustle has ties sewn underneath the skirt and train to lift the gown. Once you tie up the ties, the outside forms a flap or a series of flaps for multiple tie sets.  This and the American are the most common styles currently.


English: This is a low Ballroom style used on gowns with narrow hips though still have a long and/or wide train.  There are typically 5 - 7 points and may have an embellishment to hide the connection points.




Dress (Silhouettes)


 A-Line: Slim on top, fitted through waist, and softly flares away from body


Ball Gown: Boned bodice, full skirt supported by crinolines, petticoats, etc.


Column: Similar to sheath; it is a straight-lined skirt with no flare or fullness at the hem.


Empire: A high-waisted style that is nipped in just below the bustline. Good for small-busted women or curvy figures.


Trumpet: A fitted gown that flares out at the knee. Great for brides who want to show off some curves. 


Mermaid: This shape tightly hugs the torso, then flares out from the knee or just below it. Very similar to the trumpet


Sheath: A close-to-the-body shape that outlines every curve; very similar to the column but with less structure at times.


Tea Length: Skirt falls in between the ankle and the knee. Ideal for all body types. 







Embellishments - These are extra adornments either sewn or glued onto a bridal gown. The additions may include; embroidery, lace, glass or crystal beads, ribbons, bows, shiny plastic circular pieces called sequins, fringes, pearls, and others.






Batiste: A semi-transparent plain-woven fabric.


Chiffon: A lightweight, flowing sheer fabric of sheer silk or rayon.


Crepe: A lightweight fabric of silk, cotton, or wool with a crinkled surface. Also known as “crape.”


Crinoline: A coarse stiff fabric of cotton.


Damask - This is a linen or fabric with raised patterns woven into it. Brocade is similar but of a heavier weight. The word is derived from Damascus, the capitol of Syria.


Dotted Swiss - A method of decorating the wedding cake which involves small random dots of icing.


Duchess Satin: A fabric with a high thread count that has a shiny appearance on one side. Sometimes referred to as “silk satin.”


Grosgrain: A silk or silk-like fabric with a ribbed appearance. Commonly used for ribbon.


Lace - A decorative mesh of interlaced threadwork which is plaited, knotted, looped and turned to make either simple or complicated patterns and raised work. There are many different styles of lace, which has a long history of romance, and in some form or other it is very often included on a wedding gown. Alencon, Chantilly, Spanish and Venise are just a few of the many lacework types available.


Organza: Thin and sheer fabric usually made from silk.


Silk:This expensive, lustrous, and fine but strong natural thread is used for the most costly of wedding gowns. Many different weaves are available, which are used for different parts of the gown as they vary in density, suppleness, and sheen. Satin, Organza, Chiffon, Shantung, and Velvet are some examples.


Silk shantung: A heavy fabric that is often made with either silk fibers or other synthetic fibers. Sometimes referred to as “spun wild silk.” It is somewhat rough but not unpleasant to the touch.


Taffeta: Crisp, smooth fabric often made from silk or synthetic fibers.


Tulle: This is a fine mesh used for bridal veils, and sometimes in wedding gowns. Tulle is either made from nylon, silk or rayon (artificial silk).



Fascinator: A small hat or decorative hair accessory popular in England, often featuring feathers, flowers, beads, netting or lace. Attached to a comb or hairclip and worn on the side of the head.


Foundation: A shaping undergarment such as a corset or girdle; see also body shapers.


Juliet Cap: This is a close fitting cap that is often decorated with precious stones sometimes worn as a bride's headpiece.


Mantilla: This is a Spanish word literally meaning 'little cloak.' It is a lace or tulle shawl that the bride can wear around her head and shoulders.





Asymmetric: A dress neckline where one shoulder is covered and the other is bare, or a style that begins at the natural waistline and angles down to one side.


Bateau: A neckline that follows the collarbone from shoulder to shoulder. Also known as a “Sabrina” neckline.


Illusion Neckline: A transparent panel that extends from the bust to the collar of a dress. Often made from tulle, net, or lace.


Sweetheart Neckline: A dress neckline that is shaped like a heart.




Overlay: A Decorative fabric on top of the underlay (or inner/base layer of a dress) used for contrast in color or texture. The overlay is typically lace or other transparent fabric.


Ruching: Fabric that is gathered into ruffles or pleats. (pronounced rooshing or rooshed)


Snood: A snood is an knitted net the bride may wear at the back of her head to enclose her hair.





A long (or extremely long) extension to a wedding gown or other dress that trails along the floor behind the wearer.


Cathedral Train: A dress train typically over 7 feet long from the waistline. Usually reserved for formal or traditional (religious) ceremonies.


Chapel Train: A dress train typically 4 feet from the waistline. Ideal for a semi-formal wedding.





The Veil

A piece of cloth or net worn usually by women over the head and shoulders and sometimes over the face


Backpiece: The often highly decorated comb that sits on the back of a bride's head and is used for attaching her veil.


Ballet: Also known as a waltz, this is a veil length that drops below the bride's knees, but above her ankles.


Blusher: A short, single layered veil that covers the bride's face before the ceremony.


Cathedral: TThe most formal of veils, it is also the longest of veil styles and usually extends to the floor (Approx. 108 - 120" long).


Chapel:  this veil has a length that will reach the floor. It is slightly shorter than the cathedral veil (Approx. 90" long)


Comb - A bridal headpiece attached to her hair with teeth like a comb. May be as ornate as the bride wishes it to be.   


Double Tier: A two layered veil. Usually, one layer will be longer than the other.


Elbow Length: A length of veil which reaches down to the bride's elbows. (approx. 25 - 32")


Finger Tip: One of the most popular lengths of veil, which as the name suggests, extends to the fingertips. (Approx. 32" long)


Floor Lenght: Just as the name suggests, this veil just brushes the floor.  (Also known as the Ballet length)


Flyaway: This is a many layered veil that will barely reach to the shoulder.


Fountain: This is the name of a veil style, where part is gathered up atop the bride's head and the remainder set loose to fall around her face. A fountain veil will reach to either the shoulder or the elbow, depending on preference.


Knee Length: At approximately 45 inches long, these veils are meant to reach the knees. Best paired with a mid-calf length wedding dresses.




Basque: A waistline that dips below the natural waist forming a “V” above the pelvis.


Empire Waistline: The empire waistline is located above the body's natural waist, sitting directly beneath the bust.


Natural Waist: The term used to describe the measurement taken at the natural waistline, typically across the naval. Another way to find the natural waistline is by bending to one side, the crease marks the location of the natural waistline.


Drop Waist: A dress waistline that starts a few inches below the natural waist.




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