Congratulations, you’ve found the one and said “yes”. Now it’s time to find your dream wedding dress.
With so many wedding dress styles to choose from, you’d be forgiven for wondering where to start. There are various different colours, embellishments, fabrics, lengths, necklines, silhouettes and sleeves. Each of these features then collectively help to create an overarching style. Take the boho wedding dress, for example. You can expect it to have lots of distinctive and playful embellishments such as feathers, floral appliques or ruffles on a floaty silhouette. You can expect it to be made of ethereal fabrics like chiffon, lace and silk over heavier and structured alternatives such as Mikado. You can also anticipate it to feature a distinctive off-the-shoulder or fluted sleeve over a strapless style (although there are exceptions to the rule).
So you can be confident when you browse the rails at bridal boutiques, we decided to walk you through the main wedding dress styles and where to start. Think of it as your complete guide to everything wedding dresses. First stop…silhouettes.
Wedding dress silhouettes
A-line, ballgown, fishtail, fit and flare, hi-low, sheath… Regardless of your age or personal style, you need to know your wedding dress silhouettes (also known as wedding dress shapes) to understand which suits you and your body type. So, if you don’t know your fishtail from your fit and flare, our comprehensive guide to different wedding dress silhouettes will help bring you up to speed. Here, you can discover what each silhouette looks like and, most importantly, which will suit you before you take a trip to the bridal boutiques. You can then start to consider necklines, sleeves and fabrics.
Did you know popular wedding dress colours used to be blue, brown, red and yellow with brides expected to wear their wedding dresses again at social events? The preference for colour turned on its head when Queen Victoria bucked the trend and married Prince Albert in a white wedding dress made of British lace in 1840. Since then, the white wedding dress has dominated bridal fashion, with similar alternatives like ivory also being favoured. While the white wedding dress remains a popular choice today, colour is making a comeback with celebrities such as Christine Quinn, Gwen Stefani and Kat Von D opting for bold-coloured wedding dresses at their nuptials. Recognising the increasing desire for non-white wedding dresses, we offer three coloured bridal gowns with a fourth set to arrive in Autumn 2022 - Nora in blush (style 69326), Derina in black (style 69584) and our colourful Celestina ballgown (style 69426). Another non-white dress that’s available in light gold is style 69713, a classic Mikado fit and flare with a beautiful plunging neckline and statement off-the-shoulder sleeves. A wide range of our wedding dress styles are also available in ivory and champagne or ivory and nude as seen in style 69712, our popular exquisitely pearl-beaded fit and flare in glitter tulle.
Wedding dress embellishments
Just as jewellery completes an outfit, embellishments add the finishing touches to wedding dresses, helping to enhance features and shapes. What’s more, there is a treasure trove of adornments to choose from, depending on the style and look you want to achieve. Here are the most popular picks:
Applique flowers - Also known as 3D flowers, applique flowers can offer a feminine, bohemian or romantic look, depending on the neckline, silhouette and sleeve. Three different wedding dress styles that depict this perfectly are 69702, 69725 and 69538. Another lace applique look we love is our exquisite A-line, 69717.
Beading - Crystals and pearls are popular bridal beads that help create bohemian, glamorous, romantic and vintage styles, depending on their placement and the wedding dress silhouette they adorn. These five contrasting styles are personal favourites of ours - 69712, 69656, 69523, 18572 and 18253.
Embellished belts - Suited to a range of wedding dresses from the classic ballgown to the popular fit and flare, embellished belts are a fabulous way of adding a touch of sparkle, cinching you in at the waist and personalising your wedding dress. They’re also great at breaking lines if you’re tall and have opted for a continuous line style dress as seen in styles 69515 and 18571.
Lace detailing - Because it’s available in an array of patterns, textures and weights, lace is a particularly versatile fabric suited to an array of bridal styles including boho, romantic and traditional. We love how it adds varying luxurious touches to any look, as seen in styles 18605, 18620, 69721, 69568 and 69578.
Ruffles - Ruffles are perfect for the fashion-forward yet feminine bride or boho queen thanks to their ability to create distinct detailing. We’re big fans of these five different styles - 18602, 18553, 69531, 69587 and 69580.
Statement bows - Statement bows can suit classic styles, fashion-forward looks and bohemian dresses, depending on the fabrics used. We particularly love these three contrasting styles in 69714, 69719 and 18458.
Chiffon, crepe, lace, Mikado, organza, satin, silk, tulle… There are as many bridal fabrics as there are silhouettes, each with different properties suited to different climates, seasons and styles. For example, chiffon is a soft, light, matte fabric with a sheer finish that’s suited to spring and summer ceremonies and floaty shapes; organza is sheer and lightweight with a shimmering finish and structured properties more suited to layered gowns and warm weddings while Mikado is made from a heavy silk with a shiny finish that’s better suited to autumn/winter nuptials and structured silhouettes like the voluptuous ballgown.
Our blog on bridal fabrics will give you an A-Z of the benefits and snags of each wedding dress material, so you know your chiffon from your crepe and which bridal fabric is best suited to your needs and climate.
Wedding dress lengths
Although most wedding dress styles are long, there are still variations in length thanks to features such as detachable overskirts and integrated trains as seen in styles 69721 and 69722. All of our wedding gowns with detailed skirts and hems are also available in three different lengths (55", 58" and 61") to suit a range of heights and ensure no detail is lost if your dress needs altering.
If you’re looking to buck the tradition of wearing a long white dress altogether, you can opt for a dipped hem or shorter wedding dress as seen in style 18563S (Venus) from our Victoria Jane collection.
Wedding dress necklines
As with embellishments, fabrics and silhouettes, there are many wedding dress necklines to choose from, each creating a very different look. High necklines and halter necks create a demure and sophisticated style suited to church as seen in styles 18614, 69717 and 69656. Plunging v-necklines, however, are better suited to less traditional ceremonies and bold brides, as seen in styles 18612 and 69704. The popular sweetheart neckline is more universal and suited to all brides and ceremonies thanks to a range of variations including subtle, plunging and illusion (where the bare skin is covered with sheer fabric) - 69707, 18616 and 69720. Other popular necklines include illusion, scoop and fashion-forward off-the-shoulder wedding dresses.
Wedding dress sleeves
There are lots of different wedding dress sleeves, from strapless and delicate spaghetti styles to gowns with long sleeves. You can even opt for distinctive sleeves with fluted cuffs and illusion details and wedding dresses with detachable sleeves that create two different looks, effortlessly taking your dress from day to night. If you’re looking to get married in the height of summer, we suggest opting for sleeveless and strapless styles over wedding dresses with long sleeves. A delicate strap on a simple sheath or slip will ensure you exude understated elegance. If you’re tying the knot in a winter wedding or church ceremony, full and ¾ sleeve styles are best. Long lace and illusion sleeves create a romantic look while flared and fluted styles best suit bold boho brides.
**Don’t forget you can filter all of our wedding dress styles on our website by embellishment, fabric, neckline, silhouette and sleeve detail when browsing both our Ronald Joyce wedding dresses and Victoria Jane bridal gowns.**
Our favourite wedding dress styles
By carefully selecting different fabrics and features, our wedding dress designer Veni has created dresses to suit every bride. We decided to take a look at several different wedding dress styles and share some of our firm favourites.
Bohemian wedding dresses
Boho wedding dresses are the perfect pick for fans of delectable details, floaty silhouettes and effortless glamour. Suited to both intimate and large wedding ceremonies, boho wedding dresses are all about distinctive and playful details. Think bead embellishments, 3D flowers, feathers, lace and ruffles on chiffon skirts and sheaths over structured ballgowns.
As huge fans of the unconventional and free-spirited style, we decided to share some of our top picks.
If you’re after an off-the-shoulder style, look no further than style 69724, a whimsical lace dress featuring an illusion bodice and draped-off-the-shoulder sleeves complete with statement bow waist belt detail.
Full sleeve and floral applique fans can delight in style 69725 - our stunning floral fit and flare with fluted sleeves, striking 3D floral detail and a breathtaking necklace back profile complete with puddle train.
Another full sleeve option suited to the most intimate wedding ceremony is style 69710 - a feminine and floaty chiffon and floral applique wedding dress complete with sheer fluted sleeves, a plunging v-neckline and a daring leg split.
Strapless fans are spoilt with styles 18606, 18558 and 69715. 18606 features a beautiful floral applique chiffon skirt complete with a lace illusion bodice and detachable illusion sleeves. 18558 is a stunning satin and net A-line dress with delicate lace detailing and ¾ flared cuff sleeves, and 69715 is a stunning lace applique, sequin tulle fit and flare with an illusion bodice and detachable off-the-shoulder sleeves.
If you prefer a cap sleeve, Dorotea (style 69517) will delight thanks to features such as a stunning open back, illusion bodice and high neckline.
Three contrasting boho styles suited to the high neck fan include 18611, an exquisite halter neck lace dress for the bold boho bride with a beach ceremony; 69606, a more demure and feminine style suited to a relaxed garden party, and 69534, a beautiful sequined fit and flare with the most exquisite beaded illusion bodice and racerback detail.
Casual wedding dresses
We understand that some brides don’t dream of being a bridal princess, preferring a small affair and casual wedding dress.
If you’re eloping with your future husband or having a scaled-back ceremony, shorter wedding dresses, jumpsuits and understated styles are great options over embellished, structured or traditional wedding dresses.
Casual wedding dresses come in all shapes and sizes, but a great option suited to all ages, including older brides who’ve worn the big white dress before, is the bridal jumpsuit. Two contrasting styles that we love are Vega (style 18567) and Ibiza (style 18310). Suited to most seasons, Vega features ¾ illusion sleeves with floral applique detailing and a matching bodice. An open back profile completes the look for a breathtaking back profile. More suited to a beach ceremony or summer wedding, Ibiza features an open back, sparkle belt and plunging illusion neckline - perfect for the party-loving bride or a second evening outfit.
A shorter casual style suited to fashion-forward brides and fans of the 50s and 60s is style 18563S - a floral applique hi-low wedding dress with ¾ illusion sleeves and a sweetheart neckline. We think it’s perfect for showcasing statement shoes.
If you’d still like to wear a long dress, styles 18602 and 18562 offer a more casual look. Style 18602 is a floaty chiffon wedding dress with statement shoulder detail and an open leg suited to beach nuptials whereas style 18562 is a classic crepe A-line with a subtle lace waistband and cuff detail suited to church ceremonies. Another fuss-free style for brides who love the understated classic look is style 18564, a plain crepe fit and flare with a frontal split, bold straps and a puddle train.
Classic wedding dress styles
Brides seeking classic styles that will endure the test of time should opt for simple styles and tailored silhouettes made from structured fabrics like Mikado over floaty chiffons. Timeless styles shun trendy details, exquisite embellishments and rely on immaculate tailoring and an understated look of luxury a la Meghan Markle in Givenchy and McCartney. Less tailored slips like the understated silk crepe Rodriguez dress worn by the late Carolyn Bessette at her wedding to John F. Kennedy Jr also offer an elegant style for brides who seek less structure.
Six timeless wedding dress styles that will look chic in years to come are 18564, 18610, 18614, 69516, 69553 and 69708.
Made from soft crepe, style 18610 features a plunging illusion v-neckline and lace-up back - perfect for destination weddings and packing. A matching chiffon overskirt is also available as style 18622.
If you liked Megan Markle’s evening wedding gown by McCartney, style 18614 won’t disappoint. This elegant crepe fit and flare features a glamorous beaded halter neckline and breathtaking bridal buttons that cascade down the back to the hemline. Such exquisite detail means there is minimal need for accessories.
Ballgown fans seeking a classic sleeveless style with a breathtaking back profile will love Wesley (style 18458), our Mikado ballgown with structured lines, an illusion v-neckline delicate bow detail and beautiful bridal buttons cascading down to the hemline.
Full sleeve fans looking to tie the knot in winter will delight in Devan (style 69553), our ¾ sleeve ballgown with a beautiful off-the-shoulder lapel neckline and bridal buttons cascading down the back to the hemline.
If you’d like to exude regal elegance, style 69708 will have you turning heads walking down the aisle thanks to a subtly beaded Queen Anne collar, sweetheart neckline and attached chiffon cape.
Our final favourite is style 69516, a strapless plain Mikado fit and flare gown with a subtle bow back detail. An overskirt creates a striking cathedral train that’s picture-perfect.
Off-the-shoulder wedding dresses
Off-the-shoulder wedding dresses are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their ability to flatter and exude sensuality at the same time. Yes, we can’t quite believe it either, but exposed collarbones are the new black in bridal fashion. What’s more, off-the-shoulder styles suit every wedding dress silhouette, so there’s a style to suit everyone. Here are three of our firm favourites.
Fitting for the most feminine bride is style 18616, a stunning strapless lace dress with feminine floral applique detailing, a subtle sweetheart neckline and detachable cape sleeves.
The second style in focus is 18573, a chic crepe fit and flare gown with a striking off-the-shoulder lapel neckline and lace cut out train.
Our final pick, 69568, is a beautiful lace fit and flare wedding dress suited to the demure boho bride thanks to a sequin beaded lace bodice and matching long illusion sleeves. Bridal buttons also cascade down past the derrière to a scalloped hemline to complete the look.
Princess wedding dresses
Princess wedding dresses make the ultimate show-stopping silhouette thanks to their slim waist and huge skirt. Often referred to as the beautiful ballgown, they became famous in the 1950s thanks to icons like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly wearing them on their wedding day (although some of us know them from classic fairytales and Disney films).
Whether you dream of channelling Cinderella, Belle or Grace, these beautiful ballgown wedding dresses are fit for any bridal princess.
If you’re a fan of off-the-shoulder sleeves, styles 18619, 69674, 69551 and 69583 offer four contrasting styles to suit all brides. We particularly love the bateau off-the-shoulder neckline, delicate diamante embellished belt and closed button back detailing in style 18619.
Love a little sparkle? Styles 18619,18572 69720, 69559 and 69567 offer five different styles. We’re huge fans of the pearl-beaded bodice and detachable straps in style 69559 and the exquisite bead detailing and voluptuous glitter tulle skirt in style 69720.
Thanks to detachable lace applique illusion sleeves, style 69726 is the perfect pick for full-sleeve fans and brides wanting a more demure look for church that they can change come evening.
If your best asset is your upper body and you’re thinking of tying the knot on a spring or summer's day, styles 18612 and 18463 both offer plunging illusion v-necklines and open backs. We particularly love the delicate straps and exposed underarms in style 18463 for showcasing toned frames.
Our final pick is a strapless ballgown wedding dress with a sweetheart neckline. Style 69709 is a beautiful lace and tulle bridal gown with an illusion bodice and v-shaped open back profile - perfect for the most feminine bride.
And, if you need a dress quickly, we also have a range of timeless ballgowns available on quick delivery with shorter lead times of 8-10 weeks instead of our standard 16 weeks - perfect for bridal princesses with looming nuptials. Styles include 18407 from our Victoria Jane collection and styles 68060, 69326, 69501, 69507, 69551 and 69611 from our Ronald Joyce collection.
Sexy wedding dress styles
If you’re eloping, having an intimate ceremony and want to make your husband’s eyes smile, a sexy wedding dress style will ensure you flash your best features.
Thanks to off the shoulder sleeves, open backs, plunging necklines, sheer fabrics, strategically placed appliqués and open leg silhouette, the sultry bride style is perfect for destination weddings, the summer season or a wedding reception evening gown.
Whether you’re looking for a full-on risqué look or something subtle, we’ve scoured our Ronald Joyce Spring 2022 collection and selected six sexy wedding dresses with varying scales of seductiveness for you to choose from. Discover each style in our sexy wedding dresses blog.
And if you’d like to leave no stone unturned in your quest for seductiveness, these other styles will also have your groom grinning - 18620, 18552, 18556, 18253, 69712 and 69415. We particularly love the illusion plunging neckline and bodice in style 18620, the sweetheart neckline and daring thigh split in style 18556 and the exquisite back detail in style 18253.
Sparkly wedding dresses
If you can’t draw your eyes away from gems and glitter and dream of walking down the aisle in a sequined or beaded wedding dress, be sure to glance at our sparkly wedding dress blog.
If you seek full-on sparkle and love the luxury of exquisitely beaded wedding dresses, styles 69712, 69722 69659 and 69554 are the perfect glamorous gowns (just make sure you have a generous luggage allowance if you’re planning on a destination wedding).
Our first beaded style from our Spring 2022 collection is 69712, a glamorous pearl and crystal-beaded fit and flare gown in glitter tulle complete with delicate straps and a sweetheart neckline. Beautiful bridal buttons and a detachable train and cape add striking detail to the exquisitely-beaded style.
Our next style suited to off-the-shoulder fans is 69722, an exquisitely pearl-beaded sweetheart fit and flare wedding dress with delicate bow belt detail, detachable off-the-shoulder tulle sleeves and a matching tulle overskirt.
If you’re seeking a full-sleeve sparkly wedding dress for a winter wedding, style 69659 won’t disappoint. This glamorous fit and flare gown features detachable long sleeves and an off-the-shoulder pleated neckline. A delicate bustle, beautiful bridal buttons and a puddle train also add delightful details.
Our final full-on sparkly style suited to the body-confident bride is style 69554, an exquisitely beaded fit and flare with a plunging illusion neckline and open back.
Winter wedding dresses
Winter wedding dresses are perfect for the bride who loves a little opulence and the magic of dark nights, open fires and twinkling lights. When it comes to dresses suited to the frosty morning and starry night season, think long sleeves, luxurious fabrics, dazzling details and eye-catching accessories.
Six exquisite styles that caught our eye are 69573, 69659 and 69717 from our Ronald Joyce collection and 18536L, 18571 and 18572 from our Victoria Jane collection.
Doris, style 69573, is a classic fit and flare with the most magnificent plunging neckline accentuated by delicate embroidered detail. A striking necklace back and long sleeves with cut out lace complete the striking style while a tulle and lace train adds romantic touches.
Glamorous brides seeking a classic silhouette with some sparkle and sass will love Fabiola, style 69659. This shimmering sequin and pearl-beaded fit and flare wedding dress features a pleated lapel-style v-neckline with off-the-shoulder detachable sleeves and beautiful bridal buttons. A delicate bridal bustle and detachable train create contrasting back profiles for day and night.
Our final Ronald Joyce winter wedding dress that’s suited to floral fans is style 69717, a show-stopping organza and tulle ballgown with a high neckline, striking 3D lace appliqués, beautiful button detailing and long illusion sleeves A sweeping cathedral train completes the stunning look - perfect for turning heads as you walk down the aisle.
Similar in style but with a ¾ sleeve, bateau neckline and open back is Venus, style 18563L from our Victoria Jane collection. 3D floral appliques adorn the bodice and illusion sleeves before delicately cascading down the skirt while an illusion sweetheart neckline adds romantic touches.
Next in focus and suited to the classic yet fashion-forward bride is Vicky, style 18571. This fabulous fit and flare features a plain long sleeve crepe bodice complete with a plunging v-neckline, delicately-beaded belt and contrasting lace skirt. A matching faux fur hat and handwarmer add opulent accessories that are picture-perfect.
Our final favourite suited to winter princesses is Vally, style 18572. This romantic shimmering satin is fit for Disney thanks to the most breathtaking beaded bodice and matching illusion long sleeves.
We hope you’ve found this blog on different wedding dress styles informative. If you’d like to browse our different wedding dress styles, you can filter our Ronald Joyce and Victoria Jane collections by back detail, embellishment, fabric, neckline, silhouette and sleeve.
You can also find helpful blogs on the perfect wedding dresses for petite brides and celebrating plus-size brides.
Have fun wedding dress shopping!
Written by Lucinda Bell