Wedding Dress Silhouette 101

On the day you say I do to the love of your life; on the day you are most photographed; on the day you get to party for hours with your closest friends and family what do you want to be wearing? Most people have never worn a full-length gown before, so understanding which style silhouette will be most flattering on your body type will give you a jump start on picking the PERFECT gown. There are endless combinations of fabric type, neckline, and silhouette style. Featuring images taken by Van Buren Photography, we’ve created a quick briefing of eight different silhouettes and the body types they flatter best!


Katie Van Buren has accumulated fifteen years of professional photography. Based in Littleton, Colorado, Van Buren Photography can capture all of your life’s most important moments from engagement to starting a family. Her numerous years of experience capturing weddings has built up an arsenal of bridal portraits for us to choose from to display a variety of wedding gown types.



We LOVE this stunning full shape to the bottom of the gown!
The ruffles on this ballgown create excellent volume for the skirt.

A ballgown silhouette is characterized by a fitted bodice and a full skirt that flairs out at the waist. This dress accentuates small waists and is the perfect fairy-tale gown. If you are busty, this dress creates an amazing hourglass figure.

Perfect fit for: Most all body shapes, especially curvy hips and tall brides

Generally not the best fit for: Petite shapes



The mermaid fit is fits tightly around the whole body and flairs out at the knees or below the knees. Becoming more popular, this style accentuates curves. If you were born with an hourglass frame, this style will show off all of your curves!

Perfect fit for: Curvy body types

Generally not the best fit for: Broad shoulder/bust body types




The trumpet gown is very similar to the mermaid gown, but flares out at mid-thigh instead of at the knee. Trumpet and mermaid are often mistaken for each other. Both are varieties of the fit-and-flare style, and both look stunning on curvy body types. Although, this style is not the best dress for mobility.

Perfect fit for: Curvy body types

Generally not the best fit for: Broad shoulder/bust body types



A mini-style dress, not as popular as full-length wedding gowns, falls above the knee. This is a great fit for beach weddings, or even as a second wedding dress for the reception. Mini dresses offer great mobility for dancing and mingling!


Empire Waist

An empire-waist has a fitted bodice ending under the bust. The style is defined by the raised waistline, which gives off the appearance of a hight-waist. This gown creates a striking silhouette by giving it a definitive shape around the bride’s stomach.

Perfect fit for: The great feature of the empire waist is that it can either minimize or enhance a bust, creates waist shape, works with curves, creates curves, and is generally a perfect fit for almost everyone!



The way this dress pools behind the bride is stunning!

Sheath styles have a narrow cut and flow straight downward from the neckline to the floor. This dress is elongating and clingy, and is often also called “column style.”

Perfect fit for: Both hourglass and straight body types

Generally not the best fit for: Curvy hip body types



An a-line gown creates the shape of a capital “A” on the bride. A fitted bodice and full skirt that flows out at the waist makes this style similar to the ballgown silhouette. The a-line is a classic fit and can easily be adapted through different fabrics to fit into any style of wedding.

Perfect fit for: All body types!


A tea-length gown is an excellent choice for a beach wedding, or when a bride wants extra mobility for dancing or moving around. Tea-length styles are not necessarily less casual than full-length gowns. This dress is defined by a hemline falling somewhere between the ankle and the knee.

Perfect fit for: All body types!


We want to thank our Gold Calendar vendor, Van Buren Photography, for providing such fun and wonderful images for us to feature!