Modest Wedding Dresses: Sleeve Types and Lengths

Having to dress modestly (i.e. with sleeves) really puts a damper on your choice of wedding dresses, right? Wrong! There are so many different types of sleeves that are stylish, interesting, and beautiful. For any body type, any wedding theme, or any style of dress, there is a perfect type of sleeve to complement it. 

Modest wedding dresses, sleeve length, signature bridesSleeve Lengths for Modest Wedding Gowns

(To see larger images of any sleeve, click on its named link)

Modest bridal gown sleeves can either be categorized by length or by style. The four lengths of sleeves (from shortest to longest) are: 

Cap Sleeves Cute, summery, and fun, cap sleeves cover just the shoulders and usually do not go all the way under the arm. Most cap sleeves will provide enough coverage for your garments, but ask an endowed person’s advice before buying a cap sleeve dress just to be sure.
Short Sleeves Short sleeves are classic wedding dress sleeves for spring and summer Mormon wedding dresses. They are very versatile and generally allow for freedom of motion. 

3/4 Length Sleeves 3/4 length sleeves were popular in the 50s and recently came back to vogue in the late 90s. They are modern and dramatic, perfect for a wedding in any season. 

Long Sleeves – Long-sleeved wedding dresses are formal and a little bit vintage-looking. They are a good choice for cold winter weddings, as well as for brides who want to wear their wedding dress for their temple sealing (long sleeves are a requirement in the temple.) 

Aside from the four basic lengths of sleeves, there are also many different sleeve styles to choose from. Depending on their styling, sleeves can look dramatic, retro, trendy, cute, gothic, daring, or romantic. Some of the most popular types of sleeves for modest wedding dresses are: 

Types of Sleeves for Modest Wedding Dresses, Signature brides for WeddingLDS.comSleeve Styles and Types for Modest Wedding Dresses

Juliette fitted long sleeve with a cute puff at the shoulder. Manages to be fun and romantic at the same time. Good for fall and winter LDS weddings 

Puff the short-sleeved version of the Juliette sleeve. Puff is fitted at the bottom around the arm with elastic or a band to keep it in place. Very Bohemian and gives the impression of innocent youth and joy. Good for more casual summer Mormon weddings. 

Butterfly short-sleeved, loose and flowing on top of the arm with little to no coverage under the arm. It’s very easy to find bridal and bridesmaids’ dresses with butterfly sleeves, but be careful that there is sufficient coverage for garments. 

Bell flares out toward the wrist for a very dramatic (possibly gothic) look and feel. Most are long-sleeved, but bell sleeves can also fall at the forearm or the elbow. 

Bishop long-sleeved with a very loose fit through the sleeve and a very fitted, tight cuff. Very vintage look that was popular in the 1950s and currently seen on Paris runways. The fashionista bride with a Mormon wedding that is very retro-modern themed can pull it off. 

Sleeve types for modest wedding dresses, signature brides
Poet – very feminine and flirty, the poet sleeve is fitted to the elbow and then flares out to the wrist. Sometimes the sleeve is fitted to about mid-forearm and flares to the wrist. Good for LDS weddings in any season of the year. 
Set in – the set in sleeve is part of the bodice. There is no seam to separate it from the rest of the dress. Less commonly seen in weddings, but still a possibility for a Mormon wedding. 
Raglan – more often seen in sporty casual tops than in formal wear, the raglan sleeve is attached to the dress by means of an angled seam. The seams create an inverted V shape. 

Tulip short-sleeved, wrapped over the arm and crosses over itself creating the look of a tulip, from where it gets its name. 

Modesty requires that you have sleeves on your wedding dress, but it doesn’t mean you have to appear dowdy or boring. In fact, once you start to learn about all the different lengths and styles of sleeves out there, you sort of start to feel sorry for the rest of the wedding world that only has backless and strapless wedding dresses to choose from! 

♥ Jenny Evans
Exclusively for
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Modest Wedding Dresses, LDS temple weddings

LDS Weddings, LDS brides

4 comments on “Modest Wedding Dresses: Sleeve Types and Lengths”

  1. I’m not LDS, I’m a Jewish bride…but this has beem the BEST resource to bring for my alterations to get my dress made modest. Thanks!!

  2. Hola mi vestido no tiene manga y es preciso que mi vestido lleve manga para el sellamiento en el templo. Cuando compre el vestido me dijeron que ahí mismo podían hacerle una manga.
    Me sirvieron mucho sus consejos para elegir la manga

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