Mermaid vs Trumpet Wedding Dress

Updated February 15, 2023
Mermaid vs Trumpet Wedding Dress

The distinction between mermaid vs. trumpet wedding dress styles isn’t always apparent, even for professionals.

It’s no wonder that many brides think trumpet and mermaid gowns are the same thing. But while the difference is minor, it can significantly impact the comfort and overall look.

One may argue that the mermaid and trumpet styles are both variations of fit and flare, so there’s no need to learn the difference.

Don’t listen to them – a couple of inches here and there make an entirely new silhouette!

Consider your wedding style and body type to choose the right silhouette. The best wedding dress is one that matches your event atmosphere and flatters your natural curves.

Most importantly, be open-minded and get a dress that makes you feel confident. Online wedding dress guides can only give general advice, but style variations of every silhouette are endless – there’s a gown for every bride.

Where the Flare Starts

Trumpet and mermaid wedding dress styles have a lot in common. Technically, they’re both variations of the fit and flare wedding dress style, fitted at the top and flared at the bottom.

The main difference between the mermaid and trumpet wedding dress styles is the flare. In the trumpet cut, the flare begins at the mid-thigh, and in the mermaid cut, it starts at the knee or slightly below it.

The mermaid style’s low flare resembles a fishtail, thus the name. A wedding dress where the flare starts at the hip or upper thigh is neither trumpet nor mermaid – it’s known as a modified A-line or fit and flare style.

Trumpet wedding dresses can have a medium length, although it isn’t as common as floor-length. On the other hand, mermaid gowns are always long.

The Flare Size

Both mermaid and trumpet wedding dress styles can have different flare sizes and designs. However, trumpet gowns more often than mermaid dresses have a gradual, moderately sized flare creating a harmonious, balanced silhouette.

Meanwhile, mermaid gowns are a dramatic take on the trumpet silhouette, often boasting oversized, voluminous skirts. The contrast between the dress’s fitted and flared part is always apparent.

The dramatic contrast can be achieved by voluminous ruffles, fabric layering, crinoline, or hooped underskirt.

However, this isn’t a universal rule – trumpet dresses can have a voluminous skirt, and mermaid gowns can have flowy, modest skirts with a gradual flare. Still, certain styles are prevalent in specific cuts.

Trumpet and mermaid wedding dresses can have various train styles, including Watteau, chapel, cathedral, or no train at all. Both silhouettes are suitable for extra-long, royal-style trains exceeding six feet.

Note that some bridal salons use the terms mermaid and trumpet interchangeably or call every dress with a flared skirt “fit and flare.”

Sometimes, the difference isn’t apparent even for professionals, so you will need to use your judgment.


Comfort is a vital point to consider when choosing your wedding dress style. After all, you’ll spend an entire day in your gown and most likely will have to walk around a lot. Comfort is paramount if you plan to hit the dancefloor.

Although trumpet and mermaid dress styles look alike, they are very different in terms of comfort. The trumpet cut is only fitted at the upper thigh and doesn’t chinch the legs.

Therefore, the trumpet silhouette facilitates easy movement while flattering the curves.

It’s a bit more restrictive than classic A-line cut but still pretty comfortable. On the other hand, the mermaid is one of the most uncomfortable wedding dress styles.

The mermaid wedding dress chinches the knees, so you would have to make tiny steps. It certainly isn’t your best bet for dancing. Frankly, even taking the stairs or using the restroom in a mermaid dress can become a challenge.

Even worse if a mermaid wedding gown has an extra-voluminous skirt with a long train. Apart from feeling restricted, you would have to constantly watch your feet to prevent stepping on the hem and falling.

Find someone to carry your train not only as you walk down the aisle but also as you take the stairs. Alternatively, consider a detachable train.

Plus, the puffy skirt will create distance between you and your partner. It won’t be as bad as with ball gowns, but still, a point to keep in mind.

Thankfully, there are several solutions to the issue – otherwise, mermaid gowns wouldn’t be so popular.

Firstly, you can choose a dress with a moderately sized flare and adequate train length to avoid hazards on the stairs and dancefloor.

Secondly, you can choose a dress from stretchy fabric that will allow you to take larger steps. Thirdly, practice is vital. You can learn to move in any wedding dress if you spend enough time in it before your big day.

Lastly, you can find a second wedding dress to look gorgeous at the ceremony and feel comfortable at the reception. A show-stopping outfit change is always a good idea.

Another point to remember is that a dress’ comfort is defined not solely by the skirt’s design. Some trumpet dresses can be less comfortable than mermaid gowns because of a tight corset or strapless design.

If your dress has a tight corset, you may have difficulty breathing. It’s essential to have someone to assist you in loosening it if needed.


Although trumpet and mermaid are variations of fit and flare wedding dress cut, they give off a slightly different vibe.

Many factors define the dress’s suitability for a specific wedding style and setting, but the silhouette is most important.

Mermaid wedding dresses are extravagant and sophisticated, so they require a worthy setting – think castle, ballroom, or exquisite hotel. They suit the most confident brides who love to draw attention.

Even a minimalistic mermaid dress with a high neckline is seductive because it hugs the curves. It certainly isn’t a style for modest brides preferring flowy fabrics and a laid-back style.

A mermaid wedding dress fits many wedding styles, but rustic is an exception.

Rustic wedding style is characterized by organic materials, flowy fabrics, rough shapes, and relaxed silhouettes, but a mermaid wedding dress doesn’t fit this definition.

A mermaid dress always is a style statement. It’s an excellent choice for brides seeking a high-fashion look. If you want everyone to remember your dress for years, go for a mermaid style.

Trumpet wedding gowns are equally elegant but less dramatic than mermaid dresses.

Therefore, they are more versatile and fit any wedding style and setting, including informal backyard barbeque parties and rustic weddings in the countryside.

The key is to find the suitable fabric, neckline, and sleeve style. For instance, a cotton and lace trumpet gown with a gradual flare and high neckline will look beautiful in a forest, barn, or farmhouse.

Meanwhile, a richly embellished trumpet dress with a train and plunging neckline is an excellent choice for a regal-style wedding.

Note that the rule isn’t set in stone. In rare cases, mermaid wedding gowns can be suitable for laid-back weddings. Wedding dress designs are endless, and you need to see a specific dress to evaluate how well it fits your style.

Tell your bridal stylist vital details about your wedding to help them understand which dress you need, and be open to suggestions even if you have a specific style in mind.

Body Type

Body type is one of the critical considerations when choosing a wedding dress style. Trumpet and mermaid gowns are the least forgiving of all wedding dress silhouettes.

While an empire gown can conceal a tummy and a ball gown can make a rectangle figure appear curvy, trumpet and mermaid styles will showcase your natural body lines.

However, these wedding dress styles aren’t limited to athletic brides with an hourglass body type. Trumpet and mermaid wedding dresses also look gorgeous on brides with pear-shaped figures, regardless of the size.

In other words, a defined waist and natural curves are preferred if you’re dreaming of a mermaid or trumpet gown. However, you can always wear a corset or wide belt to make it appear narrower.

While these silhouettes are similar, one can suit certain body types better than the other one. Since a mermaid gown doesn’t conceal anything and only flares at the bottom, it won’t help to balance broad shoulders.

On the other hand, the trumpet gown’s flare begins high enough to make an inverted triangle figure appear harmonious.

Note that you can also use other tricks to balance proportions – a correctly chosen embellishment placement or sleeve style does magic.

Petite brides will appreciate how trumpet and mermaid gowns elongate legs. Meanwhile, tall brides concerned about their height should be careful not to appear even taller.

The bottom line is that the mermaid and trumpet wedding dress styles require immense confidence. You want to be enjoying the day, not thinking about maintaining a slim profile.

They look the best on hourglass and pear body types, but trumpet gowns also suit the inverted triangle type.

Image credit: Pexels

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