Photo: Bella Bridesmaids Minneapolis/Alexis Ryan
Shopping for bridesmaid dresses in person isn’t just a great way to spend an afternoon with your girls. It’s also a great way to discover new silhouettes and necklines, touch and feel all the various fabrics in person, and even find new colors to fall in love with!
Choosing THE dress is one of the biggest (and most exciting!) decisions you’ll make for your wedding day. And once you know what you’re wearing, it’s time to enjoy another super fun shopping moment — picking out dresses for your wedding party!
Like color and silhouette, you’ll want to consider which dress fabric you want your bridesmaids to wear. The fabric you choose should complement your wedding dress, look great in your wedding color(s), and feel appropriate for the season.
It also doesn’t matter how you plan to walk down the aisle. Maybe it’s in a voluminous duchess satin ball gown or an ethereal A-line wedding gown made from delicate Chantilly lace.
Here is our ultimate guide to choosing bridesmaid dress fabrics for your wedding day.
Bengaline, or drapey bengaline, is a stretch woven fabric with a silk-like sheen. It’s durable and sturdy, so it works well in tailored, structured silhouettes.
Bengaline is an option any time of year, but it’s ideal for wearing in cooler months.
Photo: Bella Bridesmaids San Antonio/Angela King
Consider charmeuse if you’re looking for a fabric with shine and a great drape. Glossy on the outside and matte on the inside, charmeuse has a satin-like appearance. Yet, it’s lighter in weight, making it a great satin alternative for a spring or summer wedding.
Of all the bridesmaid dress fabrics, chiffon is one of the most popular options for brides searching for a lightweight fabric — even more so for weddings in warmer months.
Chiffon dresses are often layered, as the fabric is semi-sheer. In addition, it’s soft and airy and doesn’t cling to the body. Chiffon also comes in various textures and finishes, including crinkle chiffon, which has a natural wrinkle.
At Bella Bridesmaids, you’ll find chiffon bridesmaid dresses from various dress designers with distinctive fabrics names like:
Discover all Bella Bridesmaids has to offer for your big day! Check out our entire dress collection, featuring hundreds of bridesmaid dress styles.
Crepe fabric has a matte finish with a slightly crinkled, slightly gauzy, pebbled texture. Crepe can be woven or knit from all sorts of natural or synthetic fibers, and while it is lightweight and stretchy, it has a little rigidity. Perfect for wearing year-round!
You’ll find a variety of different types of crepe at Bella Bridesmaids, including:
Photo: Bella Bridesmaids Nashville/Julia Wade
Faille is a woven fabric with a subtle ribbed texture. It’s on the heavier, stiffer side, making it a fabulous option for a dress with a lot of structure or sculptural elements, such as puffed sleeves or pleats.
Faille has an elegant, formal finish and feel. And although you can wear it at any time of year, its slightly heavier feel makes it a great choice for fall and winter weddings.
Georgette is similar to chiffon, but it’s not as sheer and has a bit of a crepe-like surface texture. While it is a bit heavier than chiffon, it’s still lightweight and airy enough to wear in warm weather months.
Jersey is a lightweight and stretchy knit fabric, often made from different fiber blends. For example, there’s poly/spandex jersey. This is sometimes called silk jersey or silky jersey, ultra-soft to the touch, and oh-so-comfortable to wear. It’s a versatile fabric choice that you can wear in any season.
Lace fabric is a classic choice when it comes to wedding dress fabrics for brides. But it comes in so many weights, patterns, and textures, that it makes for gorgeous bridesmaid dresses as well!
Lace fabrics are innately sheer and open, so they are almost always backed or lined for modesty and coverage. Depending on your chosen silhouette and colors, you can wear lace bridesmaid dresses in any season.
You’ll find all sorts of beautiful lace patterns and textures at Bella Bridesmaids, including:
Mesh is open and airy and comes in both woven and knitted versions.
Sheer and lightweight like net and tulle yet softer to the touch, mesh bridesmaid dresses are often embellished with sparkling sequins or beading. Beaded mesh gowns are an incredibly flattering option for glitzy, glamorous, formal weddings, no matter the time of year.
Net fabric is quite similar to mesh in that it’s sheer with an open weave. Also called bobbinet or English net, net fabric tends to be a bit stiffer than soft, knit mesh fabrics. For this reason, net is often best as a skirt or bodice overlay atop a softer underlayer, such as chiffon or stretch poly.
Next up is an option perfect for spring and summer weddings. Organza is a great alternative to chiffon if you’re searching for a lightweight and sheer option better suited to structured, tailored silhouettes.
Some bridesmaid dress designers use organza in their collections. However, it’s more common in bridal gowns and flower girl dresses.
Photo: Bella Bridesmaids Atlanta/YNOT Images
There are many different types of satin fabric, as it isn’t a specific fabric but actually a type of finish and weave.
Satin has a lustrous sheen on the outside and a dull, matte back, and it goes by many different names:
Satin fabrics are often soft and have a beautiful drape, though some can be a bit stiffer. Because of its sheen and luxurious appearance, it’s best for a formal celebration rather than a casual event.
Silk fabric is luxurious, sophisticated, and simply perfect for a wedding! Silk fabric is woven from silk threads, but there are many variations of the fabric in terms of weight and texture.
Dupioni silk and Mikado are some of the stiffer variations of silk. Dupioni has a bit of grain and a lot of sheen, while Mikado tends to be extra-thick with a shiny finish.
Both are ideal for crafting structured, tailored silhouettes. They’re also great options for formal weddings, particularly in colder months.
Another popular variety of silk is Shantung, which is more of a medium weight with a bit of crispness and more of a natural, raw texture. Shantung also holds its shape, so it’s best for dresses with a structured shape.
Taffeta is a crisp type of fabric, and it’s often made with silk fibers. It holds shape and structure well and has somewhat of a sheen, so it leans towards more formal, sophisticated looks.
The fabric is just one of many things you’ll want to consider. Learn about the others in 5 Things to Consider When Picking Bridesmaid Dresses.
Tulle is similar in feel and finish to net and mesh. Depending on the fibers used and how it’s woven, tulle can be ultra-soft or quite stiff. Tulle bridesmaid dresses are usually layered, as it’s quite sheer.
Traditional velvet is woven and can be somewhat stiff. But most velvet bridesmaid dresses are actually made from knit poly fabrics (with or without stretch) in a velvet finish.
They’re soft, have that wonderfully plush texture, and hold color exceptionally well. So stretch velvet is always a great choice if you’re getting married in fall or winter!
Looking for bridesmaid dresses with a bit of shimmer and shine?
Many fabrics detailed above are available with embellishments, such as caviar beading and sequins. These are eye-catching options for formal events, no matter the time of year.
Consider soft and sparkly glitter knits or liquid metallic fabrics for a bit of glitz without the added texture of beads or sequins. Both give off ultra-glamorous vibes!
There are so many trendy and incredible dress fabrics to choose from. It’s no wonder brides sometimes have difficulty deciding which bridesmaid dresses to pick for the big day.
But that’s also the fun of it!