Should You Choose a Mermaid Cut Wedding Dress?

Here's our guide on how to decide if this dramatic fit-and-flare style is right for you.

By Maggy Lehmicke

Mermaid Cut Wedding Dress
Photo by Tia Claire Studio

The First Look ✨

  • Mermaid styles are both elegant and dramatic, making them a great fit for glamorous occasions.
  • These dresses are sophisticated, form-fitting, and make a great entrance, but aren’t ideal if you’re worried about restricted movement.
  • Most bridal salons carry mermaid-cut gowns, but the Zola Bridal Boutique is a great place to start looking.

Though there are many styles to choose from, one that has grown dramatically in popularity over the last decade is the mermaid-cut dress. With an elegant, form-fitting silhouette and the drama of a ball gown dress, there are endless reasons to love this cut.

Though a mermaid wedding dress generally aligns with a more glamorous ball gown aesthetic, you can find them in a range of fabrics and styles. This could be anything from an ornate beaded gown to a more minimalist number in eyelet lace with a subtle flare. If you’re having some trouble deciding if this wedding dress style fits your vibe, below are a few tips and tricks from the Zola team to help you out.

Should You Choose a Mermaid Cut Wedding Dress Photo Credit // Simply K Studios

What is “Mermaid Cut” Exactly?

The mermaid-style wedding gown is generally fitted from the bodice through the hips with a skirt that flares out right around the knee, mimicking a “mermaid” shape. Though sometimes referenced interchangeably with the “trumpet wedding dress” and “fit-and-flare,” these three styles differ ever so slightly. While the mermaid has a flared skirt that begins around the knee, the skirt of the other two styles begins fairly higher, flaring out between the hip and mid-thigh. Though these differences are small, they’re worth noting as you begin trying on dresses, particularly when it comes to comfort.

What Are the Pros?

If you’re looking for a style that hugs your curves, you’re in the right place with this bridal gown’s fitted bodice. By combining the classic appeal and fitted silhouette of the sheath with the glamour and elegance of a princess or A-line, the mermaid cut is a particularly good choice for brides who are looking to make a statement on their big day. Few other styles so seamlessly blend the sense of drama, romance, and sophistication that the mermaid wedding gown conveys. And if you’re petite, they also give the illusion of added height.

What Are the Cons?

The biggest con to this style is the restriction to your movement. As beautiful as the mermaid style may be, it’s going to influence the way you walk (and dance!) throughout the day. So if you’re someone who likes to be comfortable and is looking forward to breaking out your best moves on the dance floor, this may not be the dress for you. Luckily, there are many fit-and-flare styles that are much less restrictive, and if you’re open to the idea of rocking two looks, you always have the option of a “reception dress.”

Where Can I Find Mermaid-Cut Gowns?

In this day and age, almost anywhere. The Zola Bridal Boutique is a great place to start, as it carries dresses by Adrianna Papell, Mac Duggal, and Kleinfeld. Well-known designers such as Pronovias, Vera Wang, and Maggie Sottero are all known for their awe-worthy mermaid gowns, while stores such as David’s Bridal and BHLDN generally carry a broad selection as well. Another great option is to call a few bridal salons or department stores in advance and ask them which designers and silhouettes they carry.

How Do I Know If It’s Right for Me?

Should You Choose a Mermaid Cut Wedding Dress Photo Credit // Tia Claire Studio

When choosing a dress style, it’s always a good idea to consider your wedding style or theme first. While nothing should be a strict dealbreaker (it’s your day, after all), the other aesthetic choices you’ve made can help guide your vision, whether it be the venue itself or something as simple as the invitations. If you’ve been channeling the relaxed, boho look throughout the planning process, then you might decide to opt for a more laid-back style. However, if you’re having a more formal gathering that could use the extra ounce of drama, then the mermaid gown might complement your big day perfectly.

As always, the first step to finding your ideal silhouette is trying a few dresses on. If based on what you read above, you think the mermaid dress may be a great option, then go ahead and give it a shot. There’s no pressure to find your “perfect” gown on the first couple tries. You'll find your dream dress in good time. What’s most important is that you’re comfortable, feel beautiful, and are exuding confidence on your big day.

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