OUR TIPS // The Bridal Lingo

Don't know the difference between couture or cap sleeves, or a peplum from a portrait back? Here is our guide to some basic bridal terms.


Couture - this is a term usually reserved for Parisian fashion houses but is used a lot in mainstream fashion and commonly refers to a one of a kind, custom made gown which is made to fit you perfectly.  These gowns take 8 - 12 months to create.

Made to Order - these are dress designs from the designer, which are made specifically for you when you order, either to your body measurements, or gown size.  Alteration are usually still required.

Off The Rack / Ready To Wear - are sold like standard fashion, off the rack in standard sizes - great for brides who are planning to elope, have a short time frame or want a small relaxed wedding.

Hem - the finished length of your gown has to be tailored to you - your height when you are wearing your wedding shoes, and this is done a couple of months before your wedding.

A Toile - usually mentioned if you are ordering a couture gown, a toile is a basic gown silhouette made from calico made for the purposes of fitting and making adjustmentsthe gown to suit your figure, before using the toile to create a pattern to cut the real (more expensive) fabric for your gown.

A Fitter (also called a Dressmaker or Seamstress) is the amazing person who will carry out alterations and fit work to make your gown fit perfectly.  Like your stylist when you were wedding dress shopping it is important to speak up, voice your opinion and concerns and be honest during the fitting process.

Usually a bridal boutique will have a handful of designs by one designers but a Trunkshow is where a bridal store will have the opportunity to have a designers entire collection in their boutique for a specific period of time for brides to view and try on.

A Bustle is added to the gown during the fitting process once the hem is marked. There are many different types or bustles, and your fitter will usually have their own preferred method.  A bustle will lift the train of your gown at various point to make it easier for you to dance the night away!

A Portrait Back is a popular trend over the last couple of years and refers to a statement back feature, usually made from a sheer fabric panel with lace or embellishment detail. It is also referred to as an Illusion Back

A Cap Sleeve is a short sleeve that covers the head of the shoulder and finishes at the level of the armpit.

Overlay or Overskirt is a skirt, usually without a lining that can be placed not top of your dress to create a different, more dramatic silhouette. This is a great option to give you two bridal looks without the cost of a second gown.

Appliqué is a term that refers to a lace motif which is cut away from the main fabric and then reapplied to the design, usually to the bodice or shoulder area.  Layering up appliqué  will result in a beautiful 3D effect.

Tea Length is shorter than a full length gown is usually finishes just above the ankles, perfect for showing off amazing shoes!

A Peplum is a belt or short skirt added to the waist of a gown to sit over the skirt, which will further define the waist.