There’s a lot that goes into finding your dream wedding dress. One of the most important details to consider when searching for a gown is the neckline. Not only does this important detail highlight your face, but it impacts your entire wedding day look.
To help you decide, keep in mind the venue, the season, any accessories, how you plan on wearing your hair, and what will flatter your body type. As a rule of thumb, petite brides tend to go with a deep neckline, tall brides gravitate toward styles with a higher neckline, and brides with fuller figures complement their curves with looks that brush just below the collarbone. However, the most important rule to keep in mind is what makes you feel the most magnificent!
From the traditional sweetheart to the boho-meets-sophisticated bateau, we’re breaking down the most popular wedding dress necklines.
Sweetheart/Semi Sweetheart Neckline
The sweetheart neckline, with its shape resembling the top of a heart, accentuates the décolletage and gives you a longer and leaner appearance. If you love the style but have a larger bust or are looking for a smidge more modesty, opt for the semi-sweetheart, which falls a bit higher up on the chest.
For the more daring bride, a plunging neckline dips low to accentuate your décolletage, elongate your torso, and add a sexy flash of skin. While most plunges come with illusion paneling to ward off wardrobe malfunctions, plenty of brides rock the style illusion-less. If you’re looking to wear long sleeves on your big day, a plunge is a great way to balance out the coverage!
Soft sheer fabric (such as tulle or lace) extends from the top of the bodice to the base of the neck or over the shoulders to give the illusion of a strapless, deep plunge, or a delicately strapped gown. Usually paired with appliques sewn on top that appear to be floating over the skin, this dreamy neckline is the ideal mixture of modern elegance and timeless romance.
Made famous by icons such as Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, the high neckline hits at the base or above the neck and provides the most coverage of any bridal style. Don’t want to feel too buttoned-up? Illusion details are common in high necklines and can soften up the sophisticated look.
Bateau, Boatneck, or Sabrina Neckline
Made famous by Audrey Hepburn in the movie Sabrina and, more recently, Meghan Markle, this vintage neckline has officially made a comeback. The wide, high shape grazes the collarbones to show a bit of skin and is often accompanied by sleeves that offer plenty of support.
The off-the-shoulder neckline is a favorite for summer, beach, boho, and destination weddings. This effortless style gracefully frames your face and highlights the shoulders and collarbones with its draped sleeves. If you don’t want to accentuate your arms or have broad shoulders, you might prefer to stay away from this style and opt for the portrait neckline instead.
This cut, also known as a “T-Shirt” neckline, rests above the collarbone and at the base of the neck. This flattering neckline elongates the neck and accentuates the bust. Oftentimes, it's beaded to create the illusion of wearing a necklace. The neckline makes the upper torso appear larger and wider, making it a nice fit for traditional brides with a smaller bust and narrow shoulders.
Similar to an off-the-shoulder style but made with slightly more fabric, the portrait neckline is characterized by a wide scoop from the tip of one shoulder to the tip of the other. This cut is ideal for a bride looking for a timeless look to cover their arms and accentuate their collarbones.
Resembling the shape of a square, the empire neckline is both elegant and elongating. It features an angular silhouette that rests on the points of the shoulders. This open neckline can be cut wider or lower to show off more shoulder or give a modern spin to your look. It's the perfect style for brides who want to accentuate their necks and busts while slimming down the shoulders.