As Wedding Know How editors, we write about things that we love and we think you'll like too. We have affiliate partnerships and sponsorship and may generate some revenue from these at no cost to you.
Everyone has an opinion about wedding dress sleeves – some love them, some hate them and others couldn’t care less about them. Most brides-to-be have an idea about what they want from their dress and this will determine how they feel about long sleeves.
While long sleeved wedding gowns can be stylish, chic and sophisticated, they can also be hot and uncomfortable. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of a long sleeved wedding dress and if it’s the right style for you.
Pros of Long Sleeved Wedding Dress
- It gives a classic and regal effect effortlessly
- It is appropriate for a winter wedding
- It draws attention to your face
- It can be embellished to add more beauty to you look
- It can be rocked without a bracelet or necklace
Cons of Long Sleeved Wedding Dress
- Sleeves with heavy coverage are not suited for warm weather
- Ill-fitting sleeves dampen the look and are uncomfortable
- It can overwhelm your look
What to Consider When Choosing Sleeves
There are a range of sleeves to choose from for your wedding dress, but when we say long sleeves, we mean the kind that reaches to your wrists. Long sleeve wedding dresses are usually preferred by those who want a classic look. They are also one of the best choices for weddings in the winter. When worn in warmer seasons, sleeves are usually made of lighter fabric and can be intricately embellished.
There is a misconception that long-sleeve wedding dresses can make the bride look too mature and old-fashioned but we couldn’t disagree more. A long sleeved wedding dress can be stunningly modern and make a bride look fresh and confident. With a plunging back or a daring v-neck line, a long-sleeve dress can give off a modern feel.
Bride with long sleeved dress by Alex Veil Bridal. See it here.
When deciding on whether or not you want sleeves, consider the following factors:
- The weather – If it is going to be warm during your wedding, you likely do not want to wear a sleeve made of thick fabric due to the heat. There are dresses with illusion or tulle sleeves which are light and comfortable perfect for such weather.
- Embellishments – Do you want embroidery or applique to reach down to your wrists? A long sleeved dress will allow these embellishments, making your dress gorgeous all over.
- Time – Sleeves almost always require alteration as they rarely every fit right the first time. If you’re short for time for your wedding, you may not have sufficient time to have the sleeves altered. In this case, it’s probably best to skip the sleeves.
- Prominence – How prominent do you want your sleeves to be? Sleeves can be large and puffy like we’ve seen on Princess Diana’s wedding dress or barely there like this.
- Detachable or attached – detachable sleeves are a big trend as they allow you to change your look between the ceremony and the reception.
Sometimes, you find a dress that is just so beautiful that you can’t get your mind off it but it might be strapless and you see yourself wearing sleeves. If you can’t decide whether to choose either a strapless or a long sleeved dress, I have good news for you. You can have both! A dress with detachable sleeves will be just perfect. You can put on the sleeves for the ceremony and switch things up at the reception or after-party by taking them off.
Alterations for Sleeves
It is unlikely that the sleeves of your preferred dress will be a perfect fit when you first try it on. All sleeves can be adjusted to fit just right if you get the right seamstress to work on it.
It will interest you to know that you can change the sleeves on a dress or add sleeves to a strapless one if you so desire. Visit a bridal salon and try on different sleeves and dresses. Try to combine different sleeves with different dresses to see if they look like what you imagine yourself wearing. Some of the most amazing dresses that you have seen were born out of alteration.
Best Fabrics for a Long Sleeved Wedding Dress
Lace sleeved boho wedding dress by Wear Your Love. Check price here.
The sleeves of your dress will typically be made using the same material as the rest of the dress. Synthetic fabrics are usually less breathable than natural ones. However, they wrinkle less and are more affordable. The fabrics used in making wedding dresses are chosen based on the design and the bride’s budget.
- Crepe is a crisp fabric that may be made of wool, silk, or synthetic fibre. It is commonly used in making sleeves for dresses to be used during the winter or fall. It provides the warmth that the bride needs to keep her comfortable throughout her day.
- Satin is another fabric which works for different parts of a wedding dress. Sleeves made from satin will provide warmth, if your wedding is during the cooler seasons. Satin may either be made of 100 percent silk or it may be a blend.
- Chiffon is a superlight fabric which is a better alternative for sleeves when the weather is warm. It is usually used to underlay heavier fabrics in a dress. However, if it catches on to something sharp, it can tear easily.
- Lace makes any gown look regal and most women prefer to have it on their wedding dress. There are numerous intricate patterns, light and heavy alike. Lace can also snag easily.
- Tulle is that light, net-like fabric that is used to make tutus for ballerinas. It is a very delicate, open-weave fabric and it can be embellished with lace designs. It is not uncommon to see this on sleeves of wedding dresses. From a distance these sleeves make it appear like the lace designs are magically attached to the bride’s skin.
- Organza is another delicate fabric. It looks like chiffon, except that it has a more defined structure and drapes rather poorly. It is very light and pulls off the dreamy feel that is usually associated with wedding dresses. Dresses made of this fabric are good for weddings in warmer weather. It is not uncommon to find long-sleeve dresses with sleeves made from this.
- Charmeuse can be made from silk or synthetic material. It has a fluid feel and glossy look. This fabric is usually cut diagonally and is perfect for column dresses which look great on tall, slender figures. It drapes nicely and speaks class.