Ultimate Guide to Wedding Dress Fabric Types by Season
The guest list, the bar, the photographer, the DJ, the venue; there are too many important details associated with planning the perfect wedding to even count. Every time you turn around, you realize that there is something else to consider. There is some other aspect of your wedding to keep in mind. The important details just keep coming. Just when you think you’ve finally covered every single base, handled every single minor detail and thought of every single thing that might ruin your big day so that you can prevent it from occurring, you realize that you didn’t consider one very important factor: The fabric you choose for your wedding dress.
Go ahead and laugh and assume that it’s not that big of a deal which fabric you choose. After all, they’re all pretty much the same, right? Wrong on so many levels, brides; and it’s so much more important than you might imagine. Can you see getting married outside in the middle of a beautiful winter day as the snow falls softly around you (perfect for romantic photos) in a thin silk sheath? Or how about getting married in the dead heat of July on a beach in Florida at 2 pm with the sun shining down on you in your velvet gown? It sounds to me like you’re either going to freeze to death and not be able to move your hands to welcome your new wedding ring onto your finger or look back at your photos in horror when you realize you were so hot your makeup actually melted off and no one told you that you closely resembled a melting raccoon than a beautiful bride.
Now you see why fabric is so important. We don’t know when you’re getting married, what you want in a gown or how you envision your big day, but we do know that you probably want it to be as comfortable, easy to manage and as seamless as possible. That might mean getting to know your fabrics more intimately and looking around for one that will suit the time of year you are getting married as well as the location of your wedding ceremony. You will thank us later.
Lightweight Fabrics Perfect for Spring and Summer
Dotted Swiss – One of our very favorite fabrics, this lovely dotted Swiss pattern is perfect for a spring or summer wedding when you want something lightweight and breathable. It’s a very sweet fabric that is light and airy and features elegant dots along the fabric. This is a fabric most commonly used to create wedding veils, though many brides incorporate it into their gowns in other manners, too.
Point D’Espirit – This material is a lot like the Dotted Swiss in that it’s light and it’s airy, and it’s covered in lovely dots. The difference, however, is that this particular fabric looks a bit more like organza in the overall appearance. It’s light and it’s lovely, and it’s also used primarily in veils.
Organza – A very common material used in wedding gowns, it’s a kind of weave pattern that the fibers of other materials are actually woven into. What this means is that it’s light, and it’s perfect. It’s one that is typically used to create a whimsical look to the exterior of some wedding gowns, but mostly to add fullness to the underneath portion of a ball gown.
Rayon – It’s made of a highly complicated mix of materials that are ground into a sort of pulp and then put together to create the material. What you need to know is that it’s highly popular, used a lot in place of silk and it’s very lightweight. It’s a great material for warmer months when you do not need to have anything heavier. On that note, it does wrinkle very easily; a consideration many brides have when it comes to photos.
Charmeuse – It’s very soft and lustrous, and that makes brides feel oh-so-pretty. It’s light, so it gives off a very romantic feel that works well in the spring and summer. We’d even go so far as to say this might be the kind of fabric that works well in the fall, too, if you want to go for a rustic almost shabby chic type affair with a bit of romance. It’s understated elegance through-and-through.
Crepe – You love to eat them, so why not wear a fabric that looks so much like the same material as the crepes you eat? It’s a little crinkly, so it can be a little romantic. To be quite honest, we love this material because it is made to be crinkly and works quite well in photographs.
Batiste – it’s very lightweight and soft, and it’s a bit on the transparent side. You will find that it is used very often in over-lay items and it is found on veils. Many brides prefer this fabric when the weather is warm since it is not at all heavy and it’s unlikely you will die of heat in it.
Fabrics that Work Well in Fall and Winter
Silk – It’s a very popular fabric, and it’s beautiful. Unfortunately, the warm weather is known to damage it very easily. It’s why we recommend it more highly in the cooler months when that it less likely to occur. It’s an old and original fabric, and it’s the epitome of luxury.
Silk Mikado – A silk blend, it’s lovely. However, it’s even heavier than regularly silk which means it’s not going to work unless the weather is cool and you desire warmth. It’s very heavy, and you should take that into consideration before getting dressed on your wedding day.
Brocade – Heavy and elegant, this is not a fabric we recommend in the heat of the summer. It’s one with a long history of being used in upscale items, such as furniture and drapes, but it’s well worth the money to use it on a wedding dress when you are going for a look that is timeless and elegant.
Faille – If you can imagine grosgrain, you can image faille. It’s thick and structured, and it is a material that is very substantial when used in the wedding dress industry. For this reason, we tend not to recommend it unless you are looking to wear it in the fall or winter when the temperatures might drop and you need something with a bit more substance to keep you feeling warm and comfortable.
Gabardine – Don’t let the fact that this material is one that was used for many years make you feel that it’s too old-fashioned. When done right, it can be among the most elegant of fabrics. It’s heavy, though, so you will not want to wear this throughout the warmer months or you will very likely regret that decision. It’s got very tightly-woven fabrics and it features slightly diagonal lines that you cannot see unless you are up close.
Velvet – It’s a longstanding classic that many people have associated with wealth for so many years. It’s a lovely fabric that can be done quite wrong and made to look very dated. However, most designers use velvet in a way that makes it seem so elegant and versatile that more and more brides are wearing it for their winter weddings. It’s certainly not a material you want in the summer, but it’s lovely during the winter. If you plan on having a winter wonderland theme, you will want this material for yourself.
Pique – Brides love the almost honeycomb like appearance of this lovely fabric, and it’s used so much during the winter than it’s almost synonymous with the season. It’s very distinct and easily noticeable, so it’s a fabric you will want to stick with when you are cooler and want some extra warmth from the heaviness of the fabric.
Moire – It’s not used all that much in favor of other less expensive materials, but it’s lovely. It’s very heavy with a mixture of silk and taffeta, which makes it very appealing to many brides. Elegance is everywhere when you take into consideration the fact that this material as a very natural wavy design that’s almost not even noticeable until you are up close.
Fabrics that Work All Year Long
Dupioni – This is a fabric that is often mistaken for shantung, but it’s different. It’s perfect for any time of the year seeing as how it is made of silk from two silk worms. It means it’s a double silk creation that’s a bit on the knubby side with a hint of a rough texture. It’s might appear heavy, but it’s actually a fabric that adjusts well to any time of the year.
Tulle – You know tulle. It’s like a net of fabric you are more likely to see under the skirt of a ball gown than anywhere else. It’s often used to create tutus, and it’s not the most elegant of fabrics to use at a wedding. It’s very inexpensive, but it works well under a dress to give it a little body. It’s light, but can be made to seem much heavier than it is, so it can be worn with relative ease throughout the course of the year.
Satin – Satin is a lovely mix of numerous fabrics, including some of the most popular. It consists of rayon, silk, and even nylon. It’s light but heavy at the same time, so it works well throughout the year. It’s very bridal in terms of its sheen, and it is used regularly in the wedding gown making industry. It’s often confused with sateen, but it’s much different in that it’s not made with cotton. It creases easily, which makes it a bit of a problem for some brides. It’s lovely enough to work any time of year.
Shantung – This goes down as being one of the best fabrics for bridesmaids. It’s light without being clingy or unforgiving, and it’s flattering on most every body type. What really makes it popular, however, is the fact that it photographs well. it’s got a slight silky feel to it, and it has a very subtle weave pattern that makes it unique.
Taffeta – A very crisp material with a smooth finish, we love it in the fall but it works well any time of year. Too much is never a good thing, but there are many wedding gowns that work perfectly with a touch of taffeta in the skirt. It’s lovely, though, so it works well any time of the year.
Polyester – It’s cheap and it works anytime. It’s a manmade fabric that is often used and woven into other fabrics to make them more affordable for brides. It can work very well if you find a woven polyester rather than a solid polyester, which can be almost offensive to the eyes if you want to go for a look that is not a little cheap.
Jersey – We think it’s more appropriate in the fall, but many brides are comfortable in Jersey material throughout the year. It’s really a personal decision. It’s affordable and can be integrated into wedding gowns in a variety of different ways, which makes it one that people adore.
Illusion – This is a sheer fabric that appears a bit netted. It’s the one most commonly affixed to dresses in the form of a sleeve or an elegant neckline. It’s important to know this material since it can be added to virtually any gown to make it more appropriate for specific religious beliefs or simply because you are a more modest bride who still wants a trendy gown with a little additional coverage.