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The Ultimate Guide To Wedding Dress Silhouettes


What’s the difference between mermaid and fit-and-flare anyway? Learn the wedding dress silhouettes before you start your dream dress search!

For every bride-to-be, the ring isn’t the only thing you’re going to say ‘YES’ to. One of the most exciting and important decisions to come next is the dress, and every detail counts – right down to the silhouette!

Don’t know all the wedding dress terminology just yet? (totally normal btw!) We’re here to give you a helping hand with a rundown of all the wedding dress silhouettes so you can find what best complements your style and shape.

RELATED TO: How to Choose The Best Wedding Dress Style For Your Body Shape?

As you browse, keep these rules in mind to prepare you for your bridal appointment…

  • A fitted column, mermaid or fit-and-flare gown will accentuate your curves (or create the illusion of them).
  • Pleats or gathers around the waist can magnify this area. A tight-fitted high-waist and loose skirt will combat this. 
  • When in doubt, consider an A-line gown which works for almost any shape! 

Ball Gown

Did someone say fairytale princess? Well that’s exactly what you get with the ballgown silhouette! Volume? Check. Drama? Check. Classic? Yes, of course! The ball gown has a fitted bodice and a full skirt and is ideal for most body types, but can be overwhelming on petite brides with small frames. Check out these stunning dresses from McElhinney’s of Ballybofey and La Bella Sposa for the ultimate princess gown!

Find out more about McElhinney’s of Ballybofey HERE

Find out more about La Bella Sposa HERE


If you’re looking for a style that shows off that gorgeous figure, this dress does just that! The fit-and-flare style is literally fitted through the body and flares out mid-thigh – ideal for brides looking to accentuate a small waist and it also works well with hourglass figures as well as petite body types. We love these figure-hugging styles from Romantique Bridal and The Wild Rose Boutique.

Find out more about The Wild Rose Boutique HERE

Find out more about Romantique Bridal HERE

RELATED TO: Dress To Impress: Get The Body To Suit Your Wedding Dress


Similar to the fit-and-flare gown, this style is sleek and sexy and contours the body from the chest to the knee and is flared thereon. The silhouette is known to emphasize the waist and hips rather than narrowing it, especially if you’re apple-shaped. Accent your curves in these showstopping styles from Divinity Bridal and Angelo Bridal!

Find out more about Divinity Bridal HERE

Find out more about Angelo Bridal HERE


The column silhouette is a more toned-down version of the mermaid dress – think a narrow shape that flows straight down from the neckline to the hem with the flare starting mid-thigh. These dresses usually have a high neckline, hence the ‘column’ nickname, and are best suited to lean frames and athletic body types. They also work great with hourglass figures and for the brides who want to flaunt their curves. Steal the show in one of these gorgeous dresses from Amsha Bridal and The Bridal Company NI.

Find out more about Amsha Bridal HERE

Find out more about The Bridal Company NI HERE


This silhouette is a universal favorite as it complements almost every body type. Feminine and oh-so-flattering, this style of gown cinches you at the waist and flares out into a beautiful full skirt – giving you a princess feel, but with less structure and more flow. This is a great choice for pear-shaped or curvy brides. We love these styles from The One and White Gold Bridal!

Find out more about The One HERE

Find out more about White Gold Bridal HERE

RELATED TO: The Curvy Bride’s Guide To Wedding Dress Shopping In Ireland


This is the perfect style if you’re looking for that ‘something old, something new’ feel. This ankle-grazing silhouette is giving us all the vintage vibes and is perfect for the fashion-forward and unconventional bride. With a hemline that falls above the knee, it’s elegant, girly and a little bit different – and best of all, it looks just as good on a slim frame as a curvy one. Get inspired with these styles from Orchid Bridal Studio and Marie Me Bridal.

Find out more about Marie Me Bridal HERE

Find out more about Orchid Bridal Studio HERE

Still looking for your dream dress? Check out all our bridalwear suppliers HERE

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