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Satin, Organza, Chiffon: What Does It Mean?

Brides-to-be are inundated with dresses: styles, shapes, details, and fabrics. So many fabrics! What is the difference and what does it mean when it comes to your wedding dress?

There is a big difference between fabrics and it means quite a bit with regard to your wedding dress as far as a season, venue, comfort, and personal preference. In addition, many people have sensory issues and some fabrics can be triggers.

Here are some of the most common wedding dress fabrics.


Although many mistake satin for a type of fiber, it actually refers to the finish of the dress, as is the case for many fabrics. Satin can be made of fibers such as silk, nylon, or rayon, but still be satin because of its finish.

Satin is a tried-and-true wedding fabric that has been popular across the ages for its smooth finish and durability. Because of its tightly woven consistency, satin is a great choice for every body type and it can be easily shaped for structured bridal gowns as well. Very formal (meaning very “bridal”), this fabric is a perfect choice for a formal affair. Beaded satin dresses are very glamorous and incredibly classic, also known as princess wedding dresses! Satin dresses are not only ballgowns however, they also make a very shapely fit and flare dress. Dresses in this fabric are typically in the colors white and ivory. White satin may have a tendency to have a bluish hue to it, make sure to see a swatch if you are getting a white satin dress.


Charmeuse, while similar to satin, is much lighter making it great for dresses that drape, slink, and flow. This fabric is high-end and has a sophisticated sheen and has a slight stretch quality to it.

It is exceptionally comfortable, very silky, and lightweight. These dresses are great for destination events, they pack and travel easily yet still look rich and beautiful. Most often, charmeuse dresses have an overlay of light tulle with lace appliques. Charmeuse is offered in a wide range of colors for bridal, including mocha, champagne, sand, and even lavender.


Chiffon is a lightweight, woven fabric that is sheer and flowing. Because it is sheer, it is layered over itself or another fabric with more body.

Although its lightness does lead it to snag easily, a well-made chiffon dress can create an ethereal, fairy-tale look for a bride’s big day. Brides looking for a more simple wedding dress lean toward chiffon, although chiffon dresses can also have splits in the skirt that lend a peek-a-boo quality! Chiffon dresses also work well for destination or warm summer events, are beautiful in curvy wedding dress designs, and lend to a very clean, modern look. Chiffon for a bridal gown is normally in one color (ivory), however, for elegant mother of the bride dresses, bridesmaids dresses, or even prom dresses, chiffon is offered in a number of colors. Most chiffon wedding dresses will have a sweep length dress train.


Similar to chiffon, organza is a relatively sheer and lightweight woven fabric. However, unlike chiffon, organza has a stiffness that makes it a more natural choice for structured gowns with more shape.

Like chiffon, organza is quite delicate. Beaded organza and appliques look incredibly pretty and shimmery on this fabric. Organza is often used with layered or tiered skirts as a softer and less “pouffy” alternative to tulle. Most bridal consultants love showing off organza dresses, as they look beautiful on brides of all sizes. While it can be extended, many organza wedding dresses will have a chapel length dress train.


Crepe is a fabric that was traditionally made from silk or wool which is what gives some their “bumpy” appearance, but can now can be made from almost any fiber.

Savvy designers have added a crepe georgette to their designs which is very popular because georgette adds elasticity while still keeping a great shape. It is soft, clean, and comfortable. Wedding dresses in crepe tend to be smooth, body-hugging and sexy! If you choose a crepe fabric, it will most likely say it is an ivory wedding dress, however, it is a bright ivory and not a yellow ivory. Wedding dress shops that offer gowns in on-trend crepe are very popular and in demand.


Tulle is a slightly stiff, netted fabric that is often used in ballerina tutus and veils. Tulle is a great fabric for structured dresses or to give a dress with heavier fabric some lighter accents. Like chiffon and organza, it’s important to be careful with tulle, as it can snag or tear easily. It can be a bit scratchy for those with sensitive skin. Tulle looks beautiful especially in curvy and plus size wedding dresses because of its structure.

Tulle is often used in ball gowns to create the dramatic and voluminous skirts with tiers or layered with horsehair trim, and is just as lovely with a glitter effect, sequined, or adorned with lace appliques.


Silk is a very tightly woven fabric and that gives it a beautiful, glimmering effect. Silk dresses rarely have embellishments aside from buttons and bows. There are different types of silks that are all produced from natural fibers, such as dupioni, shantung, mikado.


Standing the test of time, lace has been a popular feature in wedding gowns for centuries. Lace is normally used as an overlay atop another fabric (such as charmeuse or stretch jersey) giving it a highly detailed accent that is perfect for a sophisticated wedding gown.

Boho Lace over Stretch Jersey

Lace styles are normally named after the city in which they originated, with Chantilly, Alençon, Brussels, and Venice among the most popular types, however, the patterns today are even more extraordinary. The details in these designs lend different vibes and can also be layered, beaded, sequined, or plain.

Although being educated about fabric types is important for any bride choosing her gown, it’s also important to try a variety of dresses on to see how they not only look, but feel on you! Take your questions to the bridal store when you go wedding dress shopping, the will be able to show you in person the fabrics to see which one you like, and which one will work with your theme and season.