Here's Exactly How to Describe Your Dream Wedding Dress

From boho to bombshell, these buzzwords will help you find *the* gown.
wedding dress aesthetic mood board collage
Photos: Jordan Maunder Photography, Meg Laffey Photography, Tyler Branch Photo, Nikki Daskalakis, UNIQUE LAPIN Photography, Getty,Design: Tiana Crispino
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
Fashion Editor, Beauty & Inclusivity
  • Lauren writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in fashion, beauty and size inclusivity.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Lauren worked in wedding editorial for Brides, Style Me Pretty and Enaura Bridal.
  • Lauren studied public relations and advertising at the University of Central Florida.
Updated Dec 18, 2023

Wedding dress aesthetics come in many forms. From the free-spirited boho bride and fairytale-inspired whimsical bride to the modern bride who loves clean lines and pearls, the range of bridal aesthetics and ways to personalize your nuptials is truly incredible. So whether you've already curated the perfect Pinterest board or you're new to the world of wedding dress styles and all of the color palettes and fabrics, I'm here to help you find your dress aesthetic so you can easily describe your vision to your bridal stylist

During your dress shopping appointment, your consultant will likely ask you to describe your dream wedding dress and overall vision for the day to help them get a better idea of what kind of dresses to pull for you to try on. And while you certainly don't have to be a wordsmith to get your point across, finding the right buzzwords to get your ideas across might seem like a challenge. That's where I come in.

As your go-to source for all things wedding fashion, I've created the ultimate guide to some of the most common wedding dress aesthetics and accompanying mood boards to help you define your wedding dress aesthetic. I'm also going to break down the vibes of each bridal aesthetic, along with specific buzzwords, wedding dress designers and visual cues that will help you explain exactly what you want.

In this article:

What is a wedding dress aesthetic?

When searching for wedding dress styles, it's helpful to create a vision for the vibe you want to go for. Narrowing your wedding dress aesthetic to three to five descriptive buzzwords like "bohemian," "modern," "romantic," or "vintage" will help describe the overall feel you're going for. Think of it almost like a "cheat sheet" to describe your dream wedding dress to bridal salons and consultants, making it easier for them to pull gowns that align with your vision. Aside from nailing down your buzzwords, you may also want to create a mood board with images, colors and dress inspiration that resonates with you. To help save you some precious time, we've nailed down some of the top bridal aesthetics and created a handy guide with mood boards and buzzwords to bring to your upcoming salon appointment. Trust me, this will make all the difference when finding the perfect aesthetic wedding dress:

The Style: Modern Luxury

Modern luxury wedding dress aesthetic
Photos: Tyler Branch Photo, Nikki Daskalakis, Getty,Design: Tiana Crispino

Buzzwords to use: Clean, Sophisticated, Refined, Simple, Timeless, Stately

Designers you'll love: Justin Alexander, Sareh Nouri, Anne Barge,

Modern luxury is the "it girl" of bridal aesthetics, combining sleek and contemporary design elements with luxurious fabrics and intricate details. This style often features clean lines, minimalist silhouettes and luxe materials such as silk, satin or high-quality lace fabrics. Look for wedding dresses that embrace simplicity and elegance while incorporating subtle strategic embellishments, such as beadwork or pearls for the perfect finishing touch.

The Style: Fairytale

Fairytale wedding dress aesthetic
Photos: Jordan Maunder Photography, Megan Wynn Photography, Sposto Photography, Getty,Design: Tiana Crispino

Buzzwords to use: Whimsical, Fanciful, Charming, Playful, Magical, Enchanted, Idyllic

Designers you'll love: Allure Bridals, Monique Lhuillier, Essense of Australia, Claire Pettibone

The fairytale wedding aesthetic draws inspiration from classic princesses and storybook endings to create a dreamy and whimsical bridal moment. This wedding dress style is characterized by voluminous ballgown silhouettes, romantic lace details and elaborate and oh-so-sparkly embellishments. Look for dresses that have layers of airy tulle, sweetheart necklines and ornate embroidery. Consider adding a tiara or a cathedral-length veil before walking down the aisle to your happily ever after.

The Style: Bombshell

Bombshell wedding dress aesthetic mood board
Photos: Alternative Standards, Christina McNeill Photography, UNIQUE LAPIN Photography, Lynn Dunston Photography, Getty,Design: Tiana Crispino

Buzzwords to use: Bold, Sexy, Glamorous, Old Hollywood, Sultry, Alluring, Voluptuous

Designers you'll love: Galia Lahav, Pnina Tornai, Martina Liana, Berta

If you dream of slipping into something sexy and bold on your big day, then the bombshell aesthetic was made for you. This style often features figure-hugging silhouettes, plunging necklines and curve-enhancing details to help you exude both confidence and elegance. Look for dresses that accentuate your curves with strategic ruching, corset-style bodices and mermaid or trumpet skirts. Want to turn up the heat? Consider incorporating bold elements, such as a dramatic train or a backless design.

The Style: Moody

Moody wedding dress mood board
Photos: Dmitry Shumanev Production, Hipster Wedding, Getty,Design: Tiana Crispino

Buzzwords to use: Dark, Gothic, Victorian, Academic, Woodsy, Edgy, Mysterious, Poetic

Designers you'll love: Vivienne Westwood, Vera Wang, Danielle Frankel, Cinq

Are you all about the drama? Well, tradition was made to be broken after all. So if you love drama, romance and a little bit of mystery, then I have the style for you. This moody wedding dress aesthetic incorporates rich, dark colors (with black wedding dresses being the most popular) with unconvential fabrics, such as velvet or lace, with intricate patterns. Look for dresses with dramatic sleeves, high necklines and unique details like long, flowing capes or veils to really lean into the vibe.

The Style: Ethereal

Ethereal wedding dress aesthetic mood board
Photos: Tyler Branch Photo, Matt + Jess, Getty,Design: Tiana Crispino

Buzzwords to use: Romantic, Airy, Boho, Celestial, Divine, Angelic, Gossamer

Designers you'll love: All Who Wander, Watters, Morilee by Madline Gardner, Christine Nicole Bridal

Hopeless romantics, this wedding dress aesthetic is for you. The ethereal aesthetic captures a sense of lightness and delicacy, evoking an angelic and otherworldly feel. This style often features soft, flowing fabrics like chiffon or organza and incorporates romantic elements like floral appliqués, sheer overlays and airy sleeves. Look for wedding dresses that have a relaxed silhouette with gentle gathers or draping. And have fun with your accessories; look for delicate headpieces, flower crowns and jewelry that's inspired by nature or celestial elements.

The Style: Coquette

Coquette Wedding Dress Aesthetic Mood Board
Photos: Nikki Daskalakis, Jes Workman Photography & Videography, Getty,Design: Tiana Crispino

Buzzwords to use: Ultra-Feminine, Flirty, Soft, Frilly, Adorned, Ornamental, Doll-Like, Delicate

Designers you'll love: Honor NYC, Ines Di Santo, Selkie

If ribbons, Netflix's Bridgerton and the color pink are a few of your favorite things, then consider this the wedding dress style for you. The coquette aesthetic is all about flirtatious charm and playful femininity. This style often features flirty ruffles, sweetheart necklines and, of course, bows. There's even been a huge rise in pink wedding dresses, and, TBH, we couldn't be more excited about it. Consider accessorizing with a statement hair ribbon or balletcore make-up look to further enhance the coquette vibe.

The Style: Modesty

Modest wedding dress aesthetic mood board
Photos: Michelle Elyse Photography, Java Rose Photography, Getty,Design: Tiana Crispino

Buzzwords to use: Pristine, Reverent, Statuesque, Traditional, Graceful, Regal

Designers you'll love: Enaura Bridal, Maggie Sottero, Peter Langer

If you're a bride who wants to exude elegance and grace on your big day while also embracing a more covered look, the modesty aesthetic is for you. It's all about balance and timeless beauty when finding your dream wedding dress, as style often features higher necklines, long sleeves and flowing yet conservative silhouettes. Look for dresses that use paneling, delicate lace or tasteful embellishments to add interest while maintaining a modest look. Just imagine how stunning this kind of vibe will be with a chapel-length veil or a dainty pearl necklace.

The Style: Androgyny

Androgyny Wedding Dress Aesthetic mood board
Photos: Hipster Wedding, Dmitry Shumanev Production, Getty,Design: Tiana Crispino

Buzzwords to use: Conceptual, Organic, Non-traditional, Transcendental, Experimental, Inventive, Nonconforming

Designers you'll love: Christian Siriano, SuitShop, Loud Bodies, Rime Arodaky

The androgyny aesthetic challenges traditional gender norms and embraces a unique blend of masculine and feminine elements. This style often features tailored suits, pantsuits and even tuxedo-inspired dresses. Look for dresses that have structured silhouettes, clean lines, and sharp tailoring. Consider playing with textures, like satin lapels or velvet accents, to add a touch of luxury. The androgyny aesthetic is ideal for the to-be-wed who wants to break free from the traditional wedding dress norms and make a bold, fashion-forward statement.

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