Finding the perfect wedding dress is often the item at the top of a bride's to do list. Through all of the planning and endless decision making, the dress is the big ticket item. It's the WOW factor after all, right? So the pressure to choose the right dress can be overwhelming, especially after trying on 5 dozen dresses in every shop in town and finding that none of them are just right. In fact, many brides find themselves thinking "I wish I could just have that gorgeous keyhole back from that cupcake gown with the stunning lace from that awful 80's throwback that made me look like a fish." 

The truth is, you can! By finding the right designer, you can work together to take all of the things you love about different dresses and combine them into your dream gown. Some brides find the idea of creating a custom gown intimidating, but really it's as simple as taking the features you love and combining them into one stunning masterpiece of a wedding dress. And really, how much better will it feel to walk down the aisle in a one of a kind gown like no-one has ever seen?

If you're toying with the idea of a custom gown, but aren't quite sure where to start, you're in the right place. This is the first in a series of posts that will highlight the different options for each attribute of a bridal gown. From necklines to the finish line, we're here to help you break down what works and what doesn't. 


As you might guess from the name, a sweetheart neckline is made up of two large curves that form the top half of a heart. Because of the shape, the sweetheart neckline is well suited for large busts. This is also a great choice for an angular or round face as the curves balance an angular face and the deep V balances a round face. The sweetheart is also a great choice for anyone with a short chin or neck as it creates an elongated silhouette. 

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The halter neckline is great for women with broad shoulders because it draws attention to the center of the body. A flexible style that can be worn by nearly any body type, the halter is especially flattering for an hourglass figure. Though this is a great option for many body types, it can create the illusion of more volume and so women with larger busts and arms may want to opt for a different style.

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High Neck:

A high neck can be used to create volume for a thin neck, offset a long neck or add definition to narrow shoulders. While this look can be very attractive, you must be very careful to avoid the floating head effect. This can be done simply by making sure there is room between the top of the turtleneck and your chin. 

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The illusion neckline is increasing in popularity as it adds drama and modesty to a gown. Especially for an outdoor wedding in a cooler season this is a neckline with a world of options to choose from. Suitable for most body types, the illusion neckline can be layered over most other necklines underneath. Especially flattering for larger busts looking for a way to create a more modest impression.



A straight neckline is great for wide shoulders and smaller busts. The right kind of support is key when opting for a straight neckline as it is often the choice for a strapless dress. Be sure to avoid clear bra straps or sticky bra pads and instead have the dress custom fit by an experienced tailor. This style is great especially for women who want to showcase their arms and collarbones. 



A one shoulder look can add drama to your gown. It can lend itself to many different styles depending on the material used. It can look elegant and formal, boho and chic or sleek and contemporary simply by changing the fabric of the garment. This style is great for women with thin arms and narrow shoulders because it has the effect of widening the silhouette. By using ruffles or other accents you can draw attention up and add fullness. 



A boatneck or bateau neckline is a wide neckline that curves slightly from collarbone to collarbone. This style is perfect for those with long necks because it can add width to the silhouette. By that same token it can cause broad shoulders to look even wider. Because it tends to enhance the chest it's perfect for small busted ladies, and is also a great neckline for a dress with long sleeves. 



A square neckline is an excellent option for a large bust as it provides a nice frame without being too revealing. The structure of the square neck can be an attractive and striking look for any gown. This is an excellent choice for women who want to show off their neck and collarbone area, or for those with broader shoulders looking for a longer, narrower silhouette. 



The sabrina neckline sits off the shoulder and runs parallel to the collarbone. Similar to, but generally lower than, a boat neck this style is very flattering to a pear shape or anyone with narrow shoulders. Often this neckline is paired with a sweetheart neck for a very flattering and striking look.



The scoop neck can be worn by nearly every body type, however different body types benefit from different widths of scoop. A wide or large scoop is flattering for narrower shoulders and smaller busts. A smaller scoop can give the impression of a longer neck and is flattering for larger busts. This look is great for an hourglass shape because it creates balance. 



The V-neck is flattering to nearly every body type. It's an incredibly versatile style and can be used to create a leaner, taller silhouette. A V-neck can be used to create a balanced look and tends to draw attention up to the face. While this look can be very flattering you have to be careful not to go too high or too low with the V.



A classic option, this simple neckline is a great choice for most body types. For those with a large chest or a short neck it's best to opt for a deeper scoop. For those with a small chest or a long neck a shallower "t-shirt" scoop is better. This classic look can be used with many different styles of bridal gown and adds a touch of class to most silhouettes.


All of the dresses featured in this post were created by Vanya Designs, if you have any questions, or want to schedule a free consultation, please get in touch! Remember, no matter what style of neckline you choose for your dress, you are beautiful and you are loved. If you enjoyed learning more than you ever thought you could about necklines, check back in for the next post in our custom dress breakdown. 

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