Your starter guide to wedding dress jargon - what terms would you love to know the meaning of?
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Your starter guide to wedding dress jargon - what terms would you love to know the meaning of?

We understand it’s a whole new world when you’re starting to look for your wedding dress, with a whole new vocabulary.

There is such a huge variation in the way that each designer and retailer will work, as well as the terminology they use and how they choose to use it. There are different terms for fabrics and dress shapes, there are different levels and types of design/ production options, there are even sometimes a cross over in the same terms being used by different people to mean entirely different things!

To be honest, we actually tend to actively avoid using jargon at Rachel Scott Couture - we want you to have a wonderfully relaxed, unpressurised experience and if we start using a full dictionary of very specific garment construction terminology, there’s a risk it all being be a little intimidating.

Silk wedding dress at Rachel Scott Couture

I would always encourage my brides not to worry too much about the jargon – your job as a bride is to simply think about whether you’re loving what you’re wearing or not, you don’t need to know all the terms of dress shapes, fabric types or the dress making process.

However, we also appreciate that for some, a little knowledge can go a long way to potentially making the process a little less daunting. As much as anything, it’s about giving you enough knowledge and the safe environment needed for you to feel totally confident about asking questions!

We’re certainly full of expert fabric, fibre and wedding dress styling knowledge so if you’re the type of person that would love a bit more in depth knowledge about the wedding dress shopping and production process, then we’re happily here to answer any questions you have.

Wedding dress fabric knowledge at Rachel Scott Couture

Here’s a few term definitions below to get us started, with plenty more to come in future weeks. If you have a specific question you would like answered, get in touch!

Couture – Stemming from the original French word for ‘tailoring’ and ‘cloth cutting’, it essentially means the highest quality of cut, tailoring and fit. The word couture has become synonymous with true luxury and quality. It represent something custom made to the highest quality standards using only the finest fabrics and utterly flawless construction techniques.

Rachel says - “Only the best will do for my brides, I won’t accept anything less that perfection for them. The world-renowned designers we offer at Rachel Scott Couture are supreme examples of all that encompassed and defines couture bridal. From quality of design, contemporary concept thinking and industry leading styling to an uncompromising attention to precision cut, impeccable workmanship and fine detailing.”


Bespoke – Made specifically for you. Custom designed, made from scratch and made exactly to your design and style specifications.

Rachel says - “We choose to work with the best designers in the business (I’m bias, I know…). We choose the type of high level, flexible, quality driven designer that prioritises getting every detail right for the bride, in the same way that we do. Bespoke detailing comes as standard for Rachel Scott brides.”


Made to Order – Your dress will be constructed only after you have placed your order.

The ‘made to order’ terminology can technically apply to both construction on a mass industrial scale as well as on an individual artisan basis. However, it is only really with the higher level artisan designers that you will have the option for the far greater level of individuality, personalised design and flexible timescale options. This added individuality is the very definition of bespoke and is a level showcased with every Rachel Scott designer.

Depending on the level of designer, where and how the dresses are made and their chosen working methods, your dress can be made to order using either a standard size pattern or (in the case of the higher level couture designers we work with) using your own ‘made to measure’ pattern.

It’s probably also worth noting that ‘made to measure’ and ‘made to order’ do not mean the same thing, it’s often (understandably) easy to confuse the two terms. ‘Made to measure’ is a dress made exactly to your measurements. ‘Made to order’ simply means your dress is ‘made’ once you ‘order’.

Rachel says - “All our dresses are made bespoke - entirely individually, with total flexibility and options for personal design choices right from the start and throughout the design / construction process. Bespoke design choices, made to measure patterns and flexibility are our norm. We’ve specifically chosen to only work with the highest level of artisan designer where each piece is made on an entirely bespoke basis and allows for (even actually encourages) maximum tailoring to the individual client’s preferences.”

 Wedding dresses Edinburgh Scotland at Rachel Scott Couture

And topically, since we have our Sassi Holford 2021 Asteria collection launch event and trunk show coming up soon, PLUS Sassi will be visiting us in person for our designer day event on the 21st November to meet with Rachel Scott clients - here’s a few pointers for what those terms mean!

Trunk Show – An event where a retailer will borrow in a huge number of additional pieces from an individual designer. Normally held over a weekend, these events allow brides to try on a larger range of dresses from one particular designer - dresses that would not normally be displayed in that boutique.

Rachel says - “The ‘trunk show’ title comes from the original concept that the dresses would arrive in an old fashioned giant trunk, (technically, it’s now normally couriered cardboard boxes that the dresses arrive in but a vintage trunk sounds far more romantic!)”

Designer Day – A similar concept to the trunk show but in addition to seeing brand new collections, at a designer day you will also get to meet the designer in person. (The designers tend to arrive by airplane rather than in the trunk with the dress though, thank goodness…)

Rachel says - “This is always a wonderful rare opportunity to meet privately with the designer in person, definitely worth doing if you’ve got your heart set on a specific designer! You’ll be able to work closely with them on an individual basis and have them create your entirely bespoke wedding look."

Remember to get in touch if there's specific terms you'd love to understand better! From what the giant difference is between silk and satin, to why vegan 'silk' is different to traditional silk, from skirt shapes and necklines names, from how we work out measurements to how long we need to make your dress - we'll make sure you get the answers!

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