Paige McKenzi
Paige McKenzi

Your wedding dress fabric plays a major role when it comes to finding a gown that’s just right for you. The type of fabric can affect your wedding dress silhouette, how formal the dress is (or isn't), and even how much it costs, so it’s helpful to have a general understanding of your options before making an appointment at a bridal shop. Think about what you like: Are you drawn to crisp, smooth fabrics, or does intricate lace sound more like your style? We’ve created this glossary of wedding dress materials to help you visualize the most popular types of fabric and find one that speaks to you. Once you know the basics, you'll feel even more confident and informed during your dress appointments, which will ultimately help you describe what you're looking for as you're working with a bridal stylist. And bonus: With all this knowledge under your belt, you might even impress them by dropping some wedding dress terminology!

Before you try on that first gown, take a minute to familiarize yourself with these popular wedding dress fabrics.

Laura Gordon Photography
Laura Gordon Photography

Dress by Wtoo by Watters

Tulle

This wedding dress fabric is a stiff, transparent netting made of either nylon, silk, polyester, or a blend of fibers. Layers of tulle create a voluminous, fairytale-inspired look, making this wedding dress material a perfect option for brides who want a show-stopping silhouette, such as ball gown or mermaid. Tulle skirts are often paired with lace, sequins, beading, horsehair trim, or worn underneath the dress to add fullness. Colored tulle (think blush, pale blue, or even black!) is another gorgeous option.

Kat Alvarez
Kat Alvarez

Dress by Jenny by Jenny Yoo

Crepe

Crepe is a mid-weight silk-blend fabric that clings to the body and drapes beautifully, making it an excellent choice for brides who want to flaunt their curves. It’s most commonly used for sheath or fit-and-flare silhouettes, along with non-traditional bridal options, like jumpsuits! Because this wedding dress fabric is crisp and sleek, it's also popular for minimalist wedding dresses. Details like bows and buttons instantly turn an unembellished gown into a statement piece, but the fabric is just as stunning on its own. 

Dress by Sareh Nouri

Silk

As one of the most regal and elegant wedding dress materials, silk is often used for dramatic ball gowns or fit-and-flare styles. There are several types of silk that are most commonly used for wedding dresses, including faille, gazar, shantung, duipioni, charmeuse, and crepe de chine. Depending on how the silk is woven, its appearance ranges from highly structured and stiff to light-as-air and flowy.

Amsale
Amsale

Dress by Nouvelle Amsale

Mikado

Mikado is a type of silk. It’s thicker than other silk blends, such as chiffon (see below), which makes it perfect for the bride who wants a structured gown that will hold its shape. This wedding dress material is a popular choice for fit-and-flare, trumpet, or A-line silhouettes. Mikado is also excellent for formal dress codes, since it has a high-shine finish that gives it a glamorous look.

Savannah Miller
Savannah Miller

Dress by Savannah Miller

Satin

Here's where it gets a little tricky. While satin is commonly thought of as a wedding dress fabric, the word satin actually describes a type of weaving pattern, not a raw material. There are a few different fibers that can be used to make satin, including silk, nylon, and polyester. When you're shopping for your wedding dress, you're most likely to come across terms such as silk satin, charmeuse satin, duchess satin, and crepe back satin. In general, satin is a delicate, luxurious textile that has a slight sheen, which will help you achieve a classy, modern look on your wedding day.  

BHLDN
BHLDN

Dress by Wtoo by Watters/BHLDN

Organza

Organza is a sheer fabric that’s similar to tulle but not as stiff. It's traditionally made from woven silk to create a soft, lightweight wedding dress fabric that moves with you. In other words, organza is perfect for twirling! Slimmer skirts with only a few layers of organza are breezy and effortless, while adding more layers of organza will create volume and drama without too much weight. Organza is sometimes embroidered or decorated with appliqués and beading, and it's commonly used for overlays on skirts, allowing other fabrics (lace, tulle, satin, etc.) to peek through from underneath.

Costarellos
Costarellos

Jumpsuit by Costarellos

Chiffon

Not only is chiffon one of the most well-known wedding dress materials, it's also a popular option for bridesmaid and mother-of-the-bride dresses. This airy fabric is sheer and extremely lightweight, and it's easily confused with organza because of how similar they look. The difference is that organza has a slight luster, while chiffon is matte and slightly less stiff. Like satin, chiffon is actually a type of weaving pattern—it can be made using silk, polyester, nylon, or rayon threads. We love chiffon for beach weddings, since it will help you keep you cool in hot temperatures and it looks beautiful when blowing in the breeze. 

Michael & Carina Photography
Michael & Carina Photography

Dress by Claire Pettibone

Lace

As one of the most popular and most recognizable wedding dress fabric types, you probably already know what lace looks like, but did you know that there are actually dozens of types of lace? From Chantilly and Guipure laces to Alençon, laser-cut, point d’esprit, and even cotton, each type of lace has unique characteristics that will bring a different look to your wedding dress. Whichever type of lace you choose, this fabric is undeniably timeless, and it’s an ideal choice for brides with classic or vintage style. Lace is often accented with sparkly beading to add to the romance factor.