When it comes to selecting your wedding dress, finding a look that speaks to your personal style is of the utmost importance. And while there are a lot of different options to choose from, one bridal look that’s been gaining popularity is the classy bateau neck gown. You may remember this silhouette worn by Meghan Markle, who famously rocked the neckline at her 2018 royal wedding to Prince Harry. Markle’s history-making Givenchy ceremony dress boasted ¾ sleeves, soft silk fabric, and most notably, a sophisticated boat neckline.
What is a Bateau Neckline?
Also called a boat neckline, a bateau neck is a straight neckline that stretches across the collarbone to each shoulder. It’s a wider version of a round neck, and the curvature of the silhouette can vary from minimal to dramatic.
The sleek neckline is more modest than a V-neck or sweetheart, and the style typically comes with sleeves which means more coverage. Even so, there's a bateau gown for nearly every bridal style. While the look wasn’t as popular a few years back, more and more brides are now opting for this silhouette due to its elegant and timeless aesthetic.
From Meghan Markle-inspired wedding dresses to unique looks boasting boat necks, check out 10 of our favorite bateau neckline gowns. Based on rave reviews and reputable sellers, we can’t get enough of these captivating day-of looks.
Best Royal Replica
Houghton Cheyne Dress
Size: 0-30 | Materials: Silk Crepe | Length: Floor-length
The long sleeves and relaxed fit of this regal Houghton gown will make you feel like you’re stepping out of the palace, while the open back adds a bit of edginess that’ll set your look apart.
Anne Barge Take a Bow Gown
Size: 0-24 | Materials: Silk | Length: Floor-length
It’s not too often you get two flattering necklines in one, but this Anne Barge gown does just that—combining a V-neck and a bateau. The daring neckline coupled with a fit-and-flare silhouette and floral appliques will make anyone feel their best on the big day.
For Drama-Loving Brides
Hayley Paige Lorelei Gown
Size: Made-to-order | Materials: Tulle | Length: Floor-length
Brides who were born to stand out need a gown like Hayley Paige’s Dori for their big day. The bateau neckline, crystal bodice, horsehair flounced skirt, and chapel train create a wow-worthy effect. Compliment this look with a matching flower girl dress for a cohesive day-of aesthetic.
For the Classic Bride
Azazie Hennessy Dress
Size: 0-30 or custom | Materials: Crepe | Length: Floor-length
With a subtle mermaid silhouette, skillfully placed lace detailing, and a button back, Azazie’s Hennessy is a dream dress for any bride opting for a classic day-of celebration. Highlight the look with some dangle earrings and sparkling shoes to pull the whole ensemble together.
For a Courthouse Wedding
Adrianna Papell Sleeveless Mikado Fit & Flare Midi Dress
Size: 0-20 | Materials: Polyester | Length: Midi
While courthouse celebrations typically call for shorter hemlines, this sleeveless, structured midi from Adrianna Papell still embodies the style of a full-length gown. Add in some bold accessories and an edgy jacket for a look as unique as your love story.
Favorite Floral Embellishments
Ines Di Santo Elisabetta Dress
Size: Made-to-order | Length: Floor-length
The all-over 3D floral embellishments of this Ines Di Santo gown have us dreaming of garden weddings and springtime events. Pair the dazzling sheath dress with the detachable overskirt for a look as bold as the blooms.
Moonlight Bridal Style J6791 Crepe Long Sleeve Wedding Dress
Size: 2-28 | Materials: Crepe back satin | Length: Floor-length
From the front, this exquisite Moonlight Bridal number may look simple, but it’s the back details that make this frock truly stand out. With an illusion panel, trail of buttons, and cowl back, this sleek gown surprises in all the best ways.
For the Contemporary Bride
Allure Bridals Meghan Dress
Size: 0-30 | Materials: Crepe | Length: Floor-length
Cap sleeves and a cheeky bow create both a modern and timeless look, as illustrated on this gown by Allure Bridals. While the front of the gown is clean and contemporary, the playful back—which features a row of floating buttons—adds the perfect touch of pizazz.
For the Modern Bride
Pronovias Ferri Dress
Size: Made-to-order | Materials: Jersey | Length: Floor-length
Make a statement with Pronovas’s Ferri gown. The draped jersey fabric, keyhole detail, and pearl embellishments on the structured shoulders were made for a confident bride who marches to her own beat. Wear your hair back to really let the gown take front and center.
Grace + Ivory Adeola Dress
Size: Custom sizing | Materials: Taiwanese crepe, beading, net | Length: Floor-length
Posh, polished, and positively radiant are just a few ways you’ll feel when you wear Grace + Ivory’s AdeOla. On its own, the sleeveless, crepe gown is a stunner, but when you add in the optional cape, you’ll officially be castle-ready.
Are bateau neckline wedding dresses popular?
Bateau necklines are one of the rarer choices for brides but have gained popularity since Meghan Markle’s 2018 wedding. Also called a boat neck, the look has now been associated with sophistication and regalness—two style attributes many brides gravitate towards for their special day.
How do I accessorize my bateau neckline wedding dress?
Since many bateau necklines fall across the chest and collarbones, it’s best to forego a necklace and instead, accessorize with bold bracelets or statement hairpieces. This will allow the clean lines of the gown to be front and center.
What season are bateau necklines best for?
While bateau neckline gowns can work for any season, it’s important to pay attention to the sleeve length and fabric. In a nod to Meghan Markle’s gown, many current bateau gowns boast long sleeves which work best for cooler seasons. Luckily, there are styles with shorter sleeves, so don’t get discouraged if you haven’t yet found what you’re looking for.
About the Author
Rachel Varina is a social media, digital marketing, and editorial expert with over seven years of professional writing experience. Her work has appeared on sites such as Betches and Elite Daily.