Is your big day coming up soon, and you still haven’t decided on the perfect dress for the occasion? It’s understandable to get confused when shopping for wedding dresses—there’s so much to consider! However, knowing the best wedding dress materials and how they’re worn will make the process easier.
All fabrics for wedding dresses are not created equal. Some people might argue that bridal wear isn’t seasonal, but just as you’d choose certain fabrics, colors, and patterns for spring, summer, fall, and winter for your everyday clothing, your wedding dress will depend on a lot of seasonal factors as well.
The rules are much more forgiving now than they used to be. Brides have a lot more choices for their ultimate wedding dress compared to before. However, certain sartorial norms still apply. A cotton sundress will appear just as unnatural at a ballroom reception in autumn as a heavy silk dress will appear in summer. As the bride, you have complete control over what you wear, but it’s best to take certain dressing rules into account when choosing a dress for your big day.
Fabric choices are usually rather personal, but the silhouette and style of your gown will dictate its direction; certain fabrics are better for creating structured designs, such as Mikado silk for Mikado gowns. Others, such as chiffon and lace, and better for light, flowy looks. Constructed and modern fabrics have seen a rise in demand and have overtaken traditional wedding dress materials such as satin.
Here’s everything you can expect from your wedding dress fabrics:
Batiste is a rather soft and lightweight fabric made from a plain weave. Its transparency makes it perfect for veils and dress overlays. It’s the ideal option for summer and spring events because of its sophistication and elegance.
Brocade is made from synthetic or silk fibers that have raised designs (jacquard) woven into its fabric. It’s full of body, with a stiffer yet lighter material than satin. It’s a great choice for modern structured gowns in winter or fall, but it can be a bit too heavy for the warmer months. This elegant material is the perfect choice for any formal occasion.
This wedding dress material is just as delicate and rich as its name suggests. It’s luxurious and elegant. It has a glossy sheen on one side and a dull, matte finish on the other. It’s usually made from silk, but you can also find synthetic alternatives.
The material’s soft and gentle drape makes it an excellent choice for flowing dress styles that are cut around the bias. Slinky, soft, and sinuous fabrics are best for slim or narrow dresses with loose fits. This lightweight material is suitable for wear in any season, but it’s a sexy staple for spring and summer. Just keep in mind that this material is particularly challenging to alter and tends to cling to the skin.
Chiffon is a very light fabric usually used in layers, as an accent, or as an overlay because of its transparent and sheer style. Created from woven rayon or silk, this matte wedding dress material has an ethereal and floaty vibe that’s perfect for boho brides who want a romantic and whimsical appearance. Its airy and light structure is perfect for summer and spring weddings, and its weightless appearance helps designers create diaphanous silhouettes mimicking goddess styles. However, the fabric tends to be fragile, being pulled, frayed, or snagged easily.
Made from lightweight rayon or soft silk, crepe is a crinkled, gauzy material perfect for creating soft silhouettes. It’s a shapely fabric that can accentuate curves and is often used for minimalist designs such as bridal jumpsuits. A-line or mermaid dresses are a favorite amongst classical lovers. You can wear this fabric at any time of the year.
Damask resembles brocade because of its raised designs but has a much lighter weight. The dull jacquard pattern is usually the same shade as the fabric itself, and the beautiful wedding dress material has a historical, traditional quality. It’s a great option for structured styles that rely on construction and can be worn around the year in more formal, fancier weddings.
Breathable and lightweight, this material is created from muslin fabric and has a dotted, evenly-dispersed motif across its length. It’s an ideal material for outdoor weddings in spring and summer because of its light and flowy quality. You’ll feel right at home wearing this material at a garden wedding.
This slightly rough fabric has coarser fibers that lend it an organic, raw, and charming aesthetic. It’s a full-bodied silk that maintains its shape, making it the perfect choice for dramatic ballgown silhouettes. This material is suitable for wear in all seasons.
This material is woven of rayon, cotton, or silk and has a ribbed, structured finish that gives the effect of a crosswire rib. It has a sophisticated texture and substantial structure, which makes it perfect for minimal and modern designs. While it’s possible to comfortably wear this sumptuous material around the year, its popularity usually increases around fall and winter.
Gazar is woven from silk or wool and has a crisp, smooth look that resembles organza. Silk gazar is extremely common in wedding wear and got even more popular after Kate Middleton debuted her wedding dress. The translucent yet stiff material holds a great shape and can be used in romantic, structured designs for full-skirted ball gowns around the year.
Lightweight and sheer, georgette is made from silk or polyester and has a beautifully textured crepe surface. It features a soft silhouette, making it the topmost layer of a wedding gown. It’s floaty and feminine and is often used for creating flowy silhouettes with a lot of movement. Georgette is a popular wedding dress material in the warmer seasons.
Lace is the most popular wedding dress fabric that has an extremely diverse range of embellishments, weights, textures, and patterns. It’s universally loved in almost every culture because of its romantic, feminine, and delicate nature. The material itself is extremely supple, which is great for creating a wide range of shapes and silhouettes.
Usually woven from cotton or silk, lace can be used as a detail or overlay to add a vintage or romantic vibe. This graceful material is available in many different styles, such as Venise (textured and heavy), Alençon (corded trim with bold motifs), and Chantilly (very open and detailed). Its unique versatility makes it a top choice for brides around the year. However, come heavier weaves, such as Italian Venise, should be used in fall and winter.
Mikado is a heavy form of silk that has a beautiful, shiny finish. This wedding dress material has become immensely popular over the last few years because of its ability to be tailored to create sophisticated, architectural, and modern designs. The thick fabric can be multi-seamed and molded to create perfectly-fitted strapless ballgowns and narrow mermaid dresses. You can wear this material anytime throughout the year, but it might be best to wait for the weather to cool down because of its heavier weight.
Usually made from silk taffeta or polyester, this material looks like rippling water under the lights. It has a subtle design that looks like glistening waves. While it might appear light and airy because of its wavy texture, the material tends to be rather heavy, so it’s best to wear it in winter and fall.
Organza is lightweight and sheer like chiffon but has a lot more structure, making it the perfect choice for a warm-weather wedding. It’s usually made from silk, but you can also find more modern and affordable options made with synthetic fibers.
Organza has a crisp drape and a lustrous finish, often used to layer gowns and add a touch of fullness in trains, veils, and ballgowns without additional weight. It’s the perfect material for frothy, whimsical looks that make you feel like a princess. The sheerness of the material makes it ideal for enchanting, romantic garden celebrations. However, be careful while you wear organza since it’s extremely delicate and prone to pulls and snags.
Pique is a knit fabric that has a waffle-weave appearance on the outside. While it’s on the heavier side of the wedding dress material spectrum, it has a preppy persona that helps designers create beautiful, crisp, and structured silhouettes in the summer and spring months. The material is rather informal, making it perfect for more low-key wedding celebrations.
This polyester net is sewn to create a beautiful diamond pattern that’s both feminine and elegant. It’s known for its high-quality texture, and the see-through material is often used to make veils. It can also be used as a dress overlay to create an airy, whimsical, or gothic look that’s great for summer, spring, and fall festivities. This material is best used for dainty, romantic, and vintage styles.
Synthetic and inexpensive, polyester is used for weaving into many different fabrics. You can often find polyester satin as a more affordable, stronger, and wrinkle-resistant alternative to silk. You can wear the material around the year, but it’s best to stick to the cooler months since it isn’t very breathable. Polyester is extremely durable and less flowy than silk, featuring a more constructed quality.
This fabric is also similar to silk but is more affordable and elastic. It’s created from semi-synthetic threads, giving it a breathable and lightweight quality that’s perfect for wearing in the summer or any other time of the year. While the material is rather inexpensive compared to natural silk, it tends to wrinkle rather easily. This fabric is great for constructed designs or draped styles.
Shiny, silky satin had been the top choice for most brides around the world for decades. The hand, drape, and sheen of the satin create a beautiful look that’s perfect for a traditional wedding dress. Satin is smooth, heavy, and constructed from a combination of nylon and silk fibers that have a relatively high thread count. The term ‘satin’ refers to the dress’s finish rather than the fabric itself—it can be made of silk, polyester, or a blend of both.
The material is rather durable and can be worn in any season, but thicker varieties, such as Duchess, are best for cooler months. Sexy and lustrous, this material is very supportive and is often used to make constructed dresses in a ballgown or ruched style. Unfortunately, the ripple and wrinkle factor is hard to avoid with satin silk.
Tulle is characterized by its gauzy, sheer open weave, which looks like netting. It has an airy and breathable vibe but is often ruched to add some extra texture. The material is extremely delicate and is usually used in the lining of the gown or as the veil. You can find tulle in varying levels of stiffness and weight. Tulle has become more popular over time with the rise of illusion dresses and invisible sleeves, cutouts, and necklines. This inexpensive and lightweight fabric can be worn around the year.
Get your dream wedding dress
Every woman deserves to have her dream wedding—the perfect partner, the perfect decorations, and the perfect dress. Terani Couture is a world-renowned dress designer that uses highly rich wedding dress materials and fabrics to create some of the most beautiful dresses. Our bridal collection consists of a wide range of timeless and sophisticated silhouettes that will make sure that you’re the center of attention on your special day. We have inclusive sizing to help women of all sizes feel beautiful on their wedding day.
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