List of Wedding Dress Styles and How to Choose the Right One

Different types of wedding dress

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There’s nothing that is more associated with a wedding than the wedding dress.  The detail that most brides worry about the most is selecting the right wedding dress to say their vows in.

However, as we can all agree, picking a dress can be an overwhelming process because of the endless styles to choose from. What makes the process even more difficult is that you’ve also got to consider other factors when choosing your dress like the location, comfort and price.  

What many brides don’t think about is that their dress needs to be suited to the tone of their wedding as a whole.  Thinking about the dress as another part of the theme of the wedding can help you to make the perfect choice for your wedding day.

If you are torn between two dresses or don’t even know where to start shopping for a wedding dress, this handy list will help you to pick the dress of your dreams!

Wedding Dress Styles

Here are our top choices for the best wedding dresses for all kinds of weddings and all kinds of brides.

1- The Sheath Dress

  • Bride wearing sheath dress
  • Sheath dress hanging

This elegant, modern style is becoming more and more popular.  One of the big benefits of the sheath dress is the ease of movement that is possible wearing it and the coolness and comfort of the materials used.

This is a big departure from the traditional wedding dress with its many layers, embellishments and a classic train. 

The sheath style is well suited for destination weddings or outdoor weddings that might take place in locations where terrain might be uneven or hard to walk over. This is also a great style if you like to bare your back or show off your arms, as the dress works great. 

If you like a sheath style dress but want more cover, opt for a dress with sleeves or incorporate shawls and partial jackets that can be added to the dress.

2- The Ballgown

  • Bride wearing cinderella style wedding gown
  • Bride wearing ball gown wedding dress

This is the type of dress that many women immediately think about when they are contemplating buying a wedding gown.  It’s classic, timeless and very feminine and alluring and the perfect Cinderella-style fairytale dress. 

The ballgown style comes in many varieties with many different length trains but is always going to have a full skirt and heavy embellishments.  It is often strapless but can come in a version with straps too.

 This dress is perfect for someone having a very traditional wedding with ornate embellishments or a wedding in an indoor location with lots of matching trim and décor. 

Because of the many layers of undergarments and the weight of the dress itself, this style dress will be most comfortable for a winter or fall wedding.

3- Boho Wedding Dress

If your wedding theme is casual, like a beach wedding, or if you are wanting to throw a splash of 1970’s fashion into the mix, the boho wedding dress is for you. 

Most boho wedding dresses will be made with lacy fabric, with a couple of light layers and will cover the shoulders.  This is an effortless style and pairs well with an outdoor wedding with rustic styling elements.

If you like lacy styles and don’t want to wear a dress with some weight to it, this is the right choice as well.  Boho style dresses are easier to tailor and often fit right off the rack, making they a great choice if you hate the process of alterations and fittings. They’re perfect for outdoor, summer weddings.

4- The Mermaid

  • Girl in mermaid wedding dress
  • Mermaid wedding dress

A classic dress with a touch of old Hollywood class, this style is always beautiful and current. The mermaid gown accentuates your figure and flares below your waist.

Mermaid style dresses are often embellished with pearls or lace and have a traditional feel that pairs well with a vintage style wedding or a traditional wedding. 

A versatile design, the mermaid gown can be strapless, with straps or even long sleeves.  If you are planning a wedding with a bit of glitz and you want to wear a dress with just a hint of vintage glam, this is a great choice for you.

5- The A-line

This dress is shaped a bit like the sheathe dress but offers more embellishment and a larger skirt with a longer train.

It’s the right blend of traditional and modern styling and can be as simple or as dramatic as the bride wants it to be.  This is a choice that can pair well with an outdoor wedding due to the shape of the skirt but is also fancy and modern enough for a glamorous traditional wedding.  This versatile design fits many needs and can match nearly any style of wedding.

6- Vintage

Bride wearing vintage wedding dress

If you’re after a vintage look, it depends on how far back you want to go. For example, vintage styles from the 1920s are often made from materials like satin which are not as commonly used in wedding styles now.

But if you’re only going back to the 1950s, your dress might be tea-length with lots of lace. All vintage dresses tend to be cut differently, hearkening back to yesteryear with their reminiscent styling.

Vintage dresses go well with any wedding theme but will pair best with a traditional or vintage theme.

7- Short and Flirty

A short wedding dress that shows a good amount of leg is perfect if you’re looking for something fun, irreverent and yet still elegant and formal. These types of dresses typically have bouncy skirts, lots of embellishments and layers of lace.

If you’re going for a short dress, it’s best paired with a casual wedding theme or a rustic or outdoor theme.  It’s ideal if you’re thinking of wearing your hair down and if you want to put on your best pair of cowgirl boots for your special day, this is the dress that you should pick.

8- Non-Traditional Colors

  • Bride wearing pink wedding dress
  • Bride wearing colored wedding gown

If you don’t feel like sticking to the traditional white theme, why not consider a non-white wedding dress, with either a solid color or a mix of colors. Think pastels, black or red… there are no limits.

Non-traditional colored gowns work really well with non-traditional themed weddings, so if you love gothic things and are planning a gothic wedding, by all means get that black dress!

If you want a touch of traditional bridal white with a pop of color, there are options out there like a two-toned hombre dress.  Pair a partially white and partially unique dress with a modern-themed wedding or even an upscale wedding that is focused on a single decorative color.

9- The Two Piece

Bride wearing two piece wedding gown

See this beautiful dress here

This design is perfect for those who don’t want to wear a heavy gown but still want to have the romance and volume of a ballgown incorporated into their wedding style. 

Often the top half of this style of dress will be lacy and somewhat sheer with lots of embellishment, while the skirt portion will be simple chiffon or some other high-volume material that reaches to the floor. 

There is something feminine and yet daring about a bare midriff and this dress combines the traditional ballgown with the confident, off-beat look of a bared midriff to create a dress of stunning elegance.

Wear this gown for an outdoor or a garden wedding. This gown will even pair with a casual theme so long as there are embellishments to the wedding décor that match the dress.

10- The OpenBacked Gown

Bride wearing open back gown

See this beautiful dress here

One of the more daring options on the market, the open backed gown is often lightweight material with a cap sleeve that has a fully open back.

These dresses are often highly romantic and exceptionally elegant as well as being one of the most popular styles in current bridal fashion. 

This is the style to wear for an elegant or a modern-themed wedding but could also we worn for an outdoor event with enough shade to keep the bride from getting too much sun.  If you are a fan of both lightweight, lacy dresses and also the traditional ball gown, this is the style for you.

11- The LongSleeved Dress

  • Bride wearing sheath wedding dress
  • Bride wearing long sleeved wedding dress

Maybe you aren’t a fan of baring your arms or perhaps your favorite material is lace. If that is the case, this style dress will be your favorite.

Long-sleeved dresses typically have long, sheer, lacy sleeves sometimes often with beautiful lacework. The cut of the bodice is often modest and will match the styling of the sleeves.

This is a versatile option which can have many different types of skirts, from simple sheath to full and fluffy ballgown styling.

This is the type of dress that pairs well with any style wedding and can be mixed and matched with many different theme elements successfully.

12- High-Low Wedding Dress (Asymmetrical Dress)

high and low wedding dress

See this dress here

Not quite sure whether you want to go short or long with your wedding dress? The high-low dress is perfect to help with this dilemma. These dresses, also known as asymmetrical, have long flowing backs and a shorter front hem. The lengths can vary but you get the general idea.

High-low dresses are perfect for the non-traditional bride, as they’re practical and fashionable. What’s more, they allow you to show off your shoes (an often-hidden part of the wedding dress ensemble) and to show off your legs too.

This style is for the confident bride who doesn’t mind flaunting tradition. The dress accentuates your body shape beautifully and is perfect for an indoor wedding.

13- Lace Dresses

Lace dresses have grown popular again and they are being seen more and more at weddings.  Lace is romantic, intrinsically feminine and is such a beautiful fabric that it often requires little embellishment to make it fit the wedding genre.

Wedding dresses made from lace are lighter in weight than traditional gowns and have the added benefit of being a bit more casual styling-wise which means they can be more comfortable.

The lace gown pairs well with a vintage wedding, an outdoor wedding and very well with a beach wedding. As an added bonus, this is the kind of dress that packs up well to go to a destination wedding.

14- The Lingerie Dress

Because the traditional wedding gown is not the only choice on the market these days, fun alternative options are everywhere.

The lingerie dress is a modest, lightweight, flirty dress that is a mix of a sheathe dress with lace work and a peekaboo slit to bare a bit of leg. Lingerie dresses are usually strappy and casual. 

This is a great dress for an outdoor, casual or an evening wedding.  The styling of this dress pairs well with romantic thematic elements or modern choices.

15- The Cocktail Dress

If you love the sheathe style dress but you don’t want the length, this is the dress you should choose. Most cocktail style wedding dresses will be made of a stretch lace and will be form fitting and end mid-thigh. 

This is the kind of dress that can be worn with any kind of added styling notes, from diamond jewelry to cowboy boots. 

They are also often designed with sleeves, which make them perfect for brides with a more traditional theme or a modern, elegant themed wedding.

16- Fit and Flare

Long held to be one of the most traditional wedding dress designs, this classic look usually has a satin bodice that is often layered and wraps around the body all the way down past the hips.  The dress then turns into a ball gown with a fluffy skirt and a long train. 

This is a great choice if you want to your dress to have elaborate detailing as the bodice and sash are typically very detailed.  If you are looking for an intensely elegant dress to match a modern wedding, or a dress with a lot of wow factor, this glamorous gown is for you! 

This dress is made for a high-end or a modern wedding and is best in an indoor setting.

Happy Bride

Armed with some new insight into the best settings and themes for each dress type, you should be able to select the right dress with relative ease. Ultimately, your dress is the main centerpiece of your special day and it should match the entirety of the wedding and you should feel comfortable, confident and beautiful wearing it.

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