Names of Basic Wedding Gown Styles in Nigeria (Buying Guide by Silhouettes)

Did you know that the more informed you are about wedding gown styles, before hitting the shops, the easier and faster it will be to find the “it” wedding dress? Also, you will also save money when buying the most important dress you’ll ever wear. We understand that shopping for your wedding gown can be a little overwhelming and scary for you, like most brides; even though it also makes you excited. That is why we want to help you demystify the basic wedding dress silhouette styles available in Nigerian markets and overseas (UK, US, Dubai etc). Read on and enjoy the wedding gown pictures…

bride in nigerian wedding dress
Photo Credit: Obi Somto (Wedding Photographer)

Selecting a Wedding Dress Silhouette Style

Choosing the silhouette of your wedding gown is the best place to start from when searching. But, first you need to know what the term ‘silhouette’ means, and the different wedding gown silhouette (styles) that are available in Nigeria, and in every other part of the World. I have also included pictures of each basic wedding gown styles, so that you can recolonize them when you walk into a wedding shop.

Silhouette” is a term that refers to the basic shape or cut of a wedding gown. There are five basic wedding gown silhouette styles: mermaid silhouette style, A-line (aka princess cut), ball gown, column (sheath) and empire gown style. Silhouette is the term used to describe the style, shape or cut of a wedding dress. When you go shopping for a wedding dress, the bridal shop assistant is likely to ask you about the name of the silhouettes you want to try on. After reading this post, you will be confident about talking about the dress styles you want.

A-Line Silhouette (aka Princess Wedding Dress): Style #1

a-line mermaid wedding gown style

The A-line silhouette, also known as princess wedding dress is body-hugging around the bodice and flares out from the waist-line to the hem or floor, resembling the shape of capital letter A.

Ball Gown Silhouette: Wedding Dress Style #2

ball gown wedding gown style

The ball gown wedding dress style is tightly fitted at the bodice and has a very full skirt area that starts from the waistline. The ball wedding gowns remind us of Cinderella (in the movie).

Empire Silhouette: Wedding Dress Style #3

empire style wedding gowns

You will recognize the empire silhouette from the position of the waistline. Empire gowns have a characteristic high waist; the waistline starts right from under the bust. The rest of the empire gown flows out fluidly from the bust area down to the hem or floor.

Column (Sheath) Silhouette: Wedding Dress Style #4

column sheath wedding dresses

The column silhouette, also known as sheath silhouette, is a very slim and straight-cut wedding gown that is tight-fitting, revealing the body’s curves and flows down smoothly like a slip-style dress. This silhouette looks more like a long evening gown than a wedding dress. This silhouette does not have a flare at the skirt area – it is just long like a tube dress.

Adding a bridal belt or sash to a column silhouette breaks it up to accentuate the waistline and give an illusion of curves at the hip area.

The Mermaid Silhouette: Wedding Dress Style #5

mermaid wedding gown styles

Mermaid style wedding dresses are tight-fitting from the top down to the knees, where it starts to flare out downward to the floor, looking like a mermaid’s fish tail. Now, this is different from the fit-n-flare silhouette which has its flare at the thigh region.

The mermaid silhouette is for brides looking for sexy wedding dresses, as it hugs tightly to their body and shows off all your curves.

Fit-n-Flare Silhouette: Wedding Gown Style #6

The fit-and-flare wedding dress silhouette is tight-fitting from the bodice to the mid-thigh (below the hip); it’s flare starts from right under the thighs, flowing down to the hemline.

fit and flare wedding gown styles

Fit-n-flare silhouettes are sexy and similar to the Mermaid wedding dress style, in the way they are tight at the from the top to some parts of the skirt area. However, the difference between the fit-n-flare wedding gown silhouette and the mermaid silhouette is where each one starts to flare:

  • the flare on the fit-n-flare silhouette starts from the thigh area;
  • the flare on mermaid silhouette starts from the knees, just like fish-tail.

Your Wedding Dress Shopping Takeaways

Hopefully, you have now started thinking of the wedding dress by the names of the styles or cut. I also hope the pictures of the different bridal gown styles have given you ideas of the styles to try on at the bridal shops.

By the way, this is part 2 of our ‘Wedding Gown Shopping Tips 101’ series. You can find part 1 here. Stay tuned for more articles to help you shop for wedding outfits with ease.

Wedding Gowns Q & A

So, tell me: which of the wedding gown silhouettes resonates with your personal style, or that you are considering buying for your wedding? Which of the above gowns are you likely to walk down the aisle in? Leave me a comment down below – let’s chat.

Image Credit: David’s Bridal Amazon store (for wedding gown pictures in this article).
About Stella Anokam

Stella is the founder and Editor of this blog (NaijaGlamWedding). Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Submit your photos to be featured - it's FREE, because we love everything weddings, bridal showers, engagement shoots.


  1. Priceless says:

    Thanks alot…great article. my wedding is on 20th May, 2017 and I am to go pick a gown tomorrow morning. you narrowed my search. I’ll go for a mermaid gown cos that’s the style of my dinner gowns. Great job!!!

    • Hi Priceless,
      Awesome! I love mermaid gown style, as it looks good on most Nigerian and African women. I love it.
      I’m happy to know that this article guided you and made it easy for you to narrow your search on the perfect wedding dress. Thanks for the feedback and happy wedding!
      *We’re here for you, if you ever decide you want us to feature your wedding – just come back and leave us a comment or message.

  2. Hello Stella, I am in planning to open a bridal gown rental shop here in Lagos, is it advisable to stock up all the five silhouette wedding gowns or are there preferences?

    • Hi Omon, yes it’s a good idea to have a wide range of wedding gown cuts and styles for different body types and tastes. Over time, you’ll observe the ones that customers in your store area like most. Generally, Nigerian’s love the mermaid cut – but some of your customers would want others styles – and you need to cater to their assorted tastes.

  3. I couldn’t resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!

  4. Mermaid gown, fit and flare gown or Empire gown will be very perfect for a size 12 right?

  5. Hi,the gowns re lovely but I need a mermaid silhouette gown,could u possible send my styles on d mermaid silhouette gown so I could choose from nd u can tell me its price.tanks

    • Hello Judith, thanks for the feedback – I’m glad you like the featured wedding gown styles. We do not sell wedding dresses, we are an online magazine – I suggest that you visit a bridal store near you to have a look at the mermaid wedding gown silhouettes they have. Another option is to check Name Your Linkonline wedding gown designers’ sites like David’s bridal (click here).

  6. perpetual chinenye says:

    And I want to know if u do hiring of a gown

  7. perpetual chinenye says:

    All the wedding gowns are beautiful but am looking for a mermaid silhouette with off shoulder neck. If is possible to send me your number for whatsup so I can send u the picture of a gown am having

    • Thanks, Perpetual. I’m glad that you like the featured wedding gown pictures gallery. Your choice is on point – most brides love the mermaid gown style of wedding dress. We don’t sell, we’re a wedding magazine blog, and our purpose of compiling in-style wedding looks (such as the one here) is to help inspire our bride-readers on what to wear for their weddings. However, you can find some awesome wedding dress stores in this list that we compiled (click here) – feel free to send them a picture of your dream wedding dress.

Speak Your Mind