The Main Types of Bridal Gown Fabrics

Your guide to the wonderful world of wedding dresses and what they are made of.

The Main Types of Bridal Gown Fabrics

Photo: UniiQe Impact Productions

When thinking about your future bridal gown, the first facet that comes to mind is style: What is the silhouette of the dress? What designs or embellishments are you looking for? And other questions of the like. Oftentimes, the less-considered side of bridal dress shopping is the material used to create each piece. Some brides know they want a large princess dress, but don’t know the fabric they’d prefer in the full skirt. Some desire a sexier, slinkier dress, but don’t know the difference between organza and tulle. Below, we’ve listed 11 of the most popular materials used to make wedding gowns and their distinct characteristics, as to help you decide what you require for your own ensemble. 


A sleek fabric that exudes a sense of elegance that’s known as a more subdued version of satin, as it has slightly less of a light-catching sheen. This material is perfect for more form-fitting gowns, especially around the bodice and hips.


This is a delicate, lightweight material that’s quite transparent and made up of silk or rayon, though it is often used more as an overlay instead of the main dress fabric – think overskirts and boleros as well as some illusion detailing in the bodice.


A softer fabric with the appearance of wrinkles and a stretchy texture. It’s great for beach or desert weddings, as it’s quite breathable, and it is perfect for added draping in your ensemble.


Another fabric with a distinct sheen, this material includes raised fibers to give it a slightly coarser or rougher look while maintaining a sense of regality. It is slightly heavier than the above fabrics, which makes it perfect for any season.


This fabric has elasticity and a hint of shininess to it featuring both lengthwise and underside ribs that make it perfect for a more formal wedding celebration – and like Charmeuse, it works well with fitted dresses.


One of the most popular fabrics of modern weddings, this is an open-weave material that – like chiffon – is used as an accent to the existing material of a wedding gown. It comes in many different forms and can be used to add a hint of graceful femininity to your look. 


Think of this material as the more rigid cousin of chiffon and tulle. It’s still incredibly lightweight and complements princess-like ball gowns expertly, but it is more structured and will stay in place much better than its flowy counterparts.


This is actually a kind of silk: it is heavier, but very smooth, with a distinct sheen. It’s a popular fabric, mostly used for structured and draped elements of wedding gowns. It’s considered an idyllic option for formal, cold-weather weddings.


The most sought-after and expensive fabric for wedding dresses, it looks highly delicate, but is in fact a durable material. It’s a bit more breathable than satin, so it can be used for events in all climates, and comes in a wide variety of types. 


For those brides who want to embody a Victorian-age monarch on their wedding day, this mixture of silk and synthetic fibers is perfect. It has a very bold sheen, a slight rib, and fits an array of silhouettes, but perhaps looks best in ball gowns and A-line dresses.


One of our all-time favorite fabrics, tulle is a light and airy material. Its design is net-like and, like chiffon, is often utilized in bridal accents, such as sheer sleeves, voluminous ball-gown skirts, and veils – it gives you a bit of a ballerina-esque look.

Discover some of our favorite ball gowns and A-line dresses from real weddings and find out what you need to know about bridal gown fittings.

Opening photo by UniiQue Impact Productions