Bride with short sleeves

Necklines 101

Every part of your wedding dress is important, but you could argue that the neckline is the most important part because it’s supposed to frame your beautiful smiling face.

 But there are so many neckline options, and it’s hard to know which styles suit which settings. We’ve broken down all the most popular wedding dress necklines into three categories to help you determine what type of neckline will suit your venue, theme, and overall style the best.

Conservative Options

 For many brides, their wedding is a sacred religious ceremony. Other brides choose to get married in venues with strict rules on how much skin the bride can show. 

Whatever your reason, you must know you don’t have to show more skin than you’re comfortable with. These conservative necklines tend to be a little more modest without losing any of their beauty

Bateau 

A bateau neckline is wide with a very shallow curve, so it may almost look like a straight line from shoulder to shoulder. Bateau necklines are usually relatively high-cut. 

Straight

Straight necklines appear on strapless gowns and do not have any sort of dip or curve in the middle. This straight line can cover a little bit more cleavage than a sweetheart neckline or other strapless styles. 

Square

A square neckline is very similar to a straight neckline. The only difference is that square necklines have straps or sleeves, which usually make a right angle to the horizontal part of the neckline. 

High-Neck

High neck gowns have become quite popular recently, particularly in choker-style and bib-style halter top gowns. These necklines typically sit at or even above the collarbone. 

Jewel

A jewel neckline is slightly lower than a high neck and narrower than a bateau neck. This curved neckline usually sits just below the collarbone. 

Classic Options

Classic necklines work with virtually any setting and can show more or less skin, depending on the dress’s design. If you want something universally flattering, one of these necklines would be a great place to start.

Sweetheart

Sweetheart necklines curve up over the bust with a slight dip in the middle, resembling the top part of a heart. This is one of the most popular necklines because it looks good on everyone. 

Queen Anne

Like the sweetheart neckline, a Queen Anne neckline curves over the bust with a dip in the middle. The major difference is that the neckline is more closed off, with straps or sleeves closing in towards the back of the neck. 

V-Neck

A V-neck starts wider at the top and comes down to more of a point towards the bust. This neckline is particularly flattering on brides with somewhat narrow shoulders.

Portrait

Portrait necklines are like a combination between a v neck and a bateau neck. Like a bateau neckline,  portrait necklines are very wide. So wide, in fact, that they typically sit at the very edge of the shoulder. Portrait necklines usually come down to a point in the center. 

Bold Options

Some brides want their wedding gown to make a statement. These necklines tend to stand out and leave an impression as you walk down the aisle. 

Plunging 

When it comes to necklines, “plunging” typically just means very low cut. Very deep v-necklines would be one example of a plunging neckline. This option is both sultry and tasteful.

Illusion

A lace illusion neckline uses very fine, often flesh-colored mesh to make the dress look strapless or as if it’s being held up buy very delicate appliques. Lace illusion necklines often look ethereal and romantic.

Off-the-Shoulder

Off-the-shoulder necklines have been a staple of evening wear since Queen Victoria’s day, and even Beyond. When paired with trumpet gowns, off-the-shoulder necklines highlight the beautiful curves and structure of the bride’s figure.

Asymmetric

Asymmetric necklines usually feature one strap or one sleeve with one bare shoulder. This playful look adds plenty of visual interest to your wedding day ensemble.

If the Neckline Fits, Wear It

The most important rule of choosing a neckline is that there are no rules. As long as you feel gorgeous and confident as you walk down the aisle, you’ve made the right decision.