A Guide to Wedding Dress Strap Styles

Curious about the different types of straps you can have on your wedding dress? From strapless gowns to dresses with straps both thick and thin, there are quite a few different types of wedding dress straps to consider. But which is best for you? And can you add or remove straps to your chosen wedding dress? By the end of this guide, you’ll have answers to these questions and more!

To jump around the strap-related topics we cover In this guide, simply click one of the links below to skip ahead to whichever topic you wish to explore!

With over 30 years of bridal experience, Avery Austin is ready to lead you through each strappy (or strapless) option. We’ve even got tips on how to choose the best type of wedding dress straps and how to customize your straps when needed. Ready to jump into this Wedding Dress Strap Style Guide? Let’s start with exploring the most popular styles of wedding dress straps currently available!

What are the Different Types of Wedding Dress Strap Styles?

In this section of the Wedding Dress Strap Style Guide, we’ll explain what each strap type is, as well as some of the perks to that style. We’ll start with the absence of straps (strapless styles) and work our way up to the increasingly popular off-the-shoulder strap style.

No Straps/Strapless

  • Details: It wouldn't be a Wedding Dress Straps Guide without discussing a very popular straps option, which is actually no straps! Timeless and classic, strapless wedding dresses are completely without straps, leaving your shoulders and neckline on full display. Of course, strapless bridal gowns come in a variety of necklines, from sweetheart to straight to v-neck, so there are plenty of ways to personalize your look. You can learn more about neckline options you can pair with your strapless wedding dress in our Wedding Dress Neckline Guide.
  • Support Level: Minimal. With no straps to provide support across the shoulders or neck, the bodice fit is what becomes important to make sure your dress stays in place. Strapless wedding dresses should be tight through the bodice and require a perfect fit to make sure your gown stays right where you want it. If you have a larger bust and your heart’s set on a strapless wedding dress, we recommend going for a corset-style bodice that has boning for extra structure and support. Or, make sure your strapless gown is made from a thick fabric so you can wear supportive undergarments (like a strapless corset-style bra).
  • Perks: Without straps, your décolletage and shoulders are free and beautifully displayed, which provides a youthful look. Strapless wedding dresses can be found with all different styles and necklines, so the possibilities are endless! Because of its design versatility, strapless wedding dresses make it easy to find a style that speaks to you and your wedding theme. Whether you’re looking for a simple and sophisticated strapless style for a modern wedding or a carefree, lacey design for a beachy or rustic theme, strapless wedding dresses are the way to go. If you’re ready to shop this style, explore Avery Austin’s strapless wedding dresses here.

Spaghetti Straps

  • Details: Spaghetti straps are very thin (much like spaghetti) and run over the shoulders. Providing a small amount of support to the neckline, the lightweight and barely-there look and feel of spaghetti straps offer a delicate, feminine vibe.
  • Support Level: Slight. Since the straps are so thin, it’s best not to rely on them too much for bust support! You can use the same extra support methods that you would with a strapless style (snug fit, corset-style bodice or undergarment). Any bra you choose to wear should be strapless so as not to interfere with the clean, sleek look of the dainty spaghetti straps.
  • Perks: Wedding dresses with spaghetti straps are becoming increasingly popular with modern brides because of the way they add an extra element of detail to the gown without being too over-the-top or distracting from the other elements (like necklines or embellishments). They are very easily accessorized, as the thin wedding dress straps do not interfere with necklaces or earrings. Did you know that spaghetti straps are often adjustable too? While not every gown offers this feature, the small width of the strap makes it a more likely option than when the straps are thicker. Adjustable spaghetti straps makes it easy to fit the straps comfortably to your body shape and size without alterations (making this feature a major money saver!).

Multiple Straps

  • Details: Usually featuring several thin, spaghetti-style straps, multi-strap wedding dresses provide a bit more support than your standard spaghetti-strap gown thanks to the extra straps. While a pair of thin straps is the most common, there are wedding dresses with three or four over each shoulder.
  • Support Level: Moderate. Strappy wedding dresses are definitely a level up from spaghetti-strap styles since there are multiple straps to provide support. Since the straps are all still relatively thin, it’s still a good idea to make sure that there’s plenty of bodice support (snug fit, corset boning) or a corset-style strapless bra if needed.
  • Perks: The best part about a multi-strap wedding dress (besides the extra support) is the way the straps connect or cross in back. Gown designers often create intricate, beautiful designs across the back when there are multiple straps. Another perk to multi-strap wedding dresses is that you can position the straps in various ways for style or comfort. If more support is what you need, stacking the straps mid-shoulder is your best bet. If it’s all about style, you could spread the straps out across your shoulders or drape some off the shoulders (more on this strap style soon!) to add a sultry vibe to your wedding day look.

Thick Straps

  • Details: Thick-strap wedding gowns offer the most support among the types of wedding dress straps. Anywhere from half an inch to a few inches wide, thick straps round the shoulders and frame or box in the neckline.
  • Support Level: Moderate to high. The wider the strap, the more shoulder support for the bodice of your bridal gown. You also have more undergarment options, since you’ll be able to hide any bra straps under the thick dress straps.
  • Perks: Certainly a favorite among busty brides for the additional support they provide, wedding dresses with thick straps are also often their own accessory in a way. Since they are wider, the thick straps present an opportunity for additional embellishment. They may have a continuation of the lace or embroidery featured on the rest of the bridal gown, or sparkling beadwork could be added for a dash of sparkle.

Halter Straps

  • Details: Halter straps wrap around the back of the neck, generally leaving both the shoulders and the upper back uncovered. Sometimes there is fabric between the straps, creating a high neckline.
  • Support Level: Moderate to high. The width of halter straps can vary, with the thicker straps providing the most support. With halter straps, the support comes from your neck rather than your shoulders, so make sure you are comfortable with the weight of the bodice pulling down from your neck over time. The best bra styles to consider for halter wedding gowns are strapless, halter, or convertible bras.
  • Perks: Perfect for showcasing your shoulders, halter straps also draw the eye upward toward your face. This is especially flattering when you’re in a bottom-heavy dress style, like a ball gown, because the halter straps provide a balancing effect to your overall look. Halter wedding dresses are favorites of brides with medium to full busts because of the way they provide support by pulling in the sides of the bustline.

Off-the-Shoulder Straps

  • Details: An elegant, shoulder-baring option, off-the-shoulder wedding dress straps usually drape off the side the shoulders or extend from the seams along the sides of the dress in line with the neckline. The size of the straps for this style can vary, ranging from multiple thin straps to thick arm bands. While it is also possible to have off-the-shoulder sleeves, we’ll stick to the strap variation in this guide. You can learn more about off-the-shoulder sleeves and other sleeve options in our Wedding Dress Sleeve Style Guide.
  • Support Level: Minimal to Moderate. Since some off-the-shoulder straps drape very loosely, the amount of support you’ll get is similar to a strapless style. However, if the off-the-shoulder straps are snug and fitted, they can help with keeping your bodice in place. When it comes to undergarments, a strapless bra is the way to go for this strap style.
  • Perks: Since off-the-shoulder straps come in all shapes and sizes, you can find a type that's perfectly tailored to your body type! They can also blend in well with a variety of wedding themes, depending how they work with the rest of your dress features. From a-line off-the-shoulder lace gowns that evoke vintage glamor to satin mermaid gowns that are perfect for modern brides, it's no wonder this strap style has been making such a splash lately!

Detachable Straps

  • Details: Detachable straps are straps that can be easily clipped, snapped, or otherwise secured to your wedding dress and then removed again if you wish to change up your look from ceremony to reception. Most common with thin strap styles, detachable straps can be convenient, but may not be as supportive as other strap styles depending upon the way they are secured.
  • Support Level: Minimal to slight. The clips, snaps, or other fastenings that make detachable straps work function best with less pressure or strain, so we don’t recommend relying on them to provide a lot of support to your dress bodice. In fact, it’s best to approach detachable straps much like you would for a strapless or spaghetti-strap bridal gown. Same rule of thumb for the bra!
  • Perks: Perfect for changing up your look between venues (or simply when the mood strikes you), detachable straps for wedding dresses are the perfect budget-friendly customizable feature. No need to pay alteration fees to have straps added or removed since detachable straps are already designed to do just that.


Can Straps Be Added to a Wedding Dress?

Yes! With the right seamstress, straps can be added to a wedding dress.The extent of the work involved, as well as the price, can vary based on the size of the straps and the type of material needed. Keep in mind that there may be challenges involved in matching the exact hue or fabric detail if you don’t have extra material with the bridal gown you’ve ordered. Sometimes it’s easier to alter the straps of a wedding dress to create thicker straps rather than adding all new ones, but matching the material and color can still be an issue.

On the other hand, removing straps from a wedding dress is usually a simpler fix than adding them. The thinner the strap, the easier it is for a seamstress to remove from your gown without affecting the overall style and structure of the dress. If you’re undecided on whether you want to remove the straps, it might be possible to convert them to detachable straps! Be sure to check with your seamstress first, but if it’s something that can be done, then you can decide to wear or remove the straps however you wish throughout the course of your wedding day.

How to Choose a Wedding Dress Strap Style

When it comes to trying to decide on the best wedding dress strap style for you, there are a few things to consider. We recommend you ask yourself the following four questions to see if it helps you narrow down your options:

  1. How much support do I need from my wedding dress straps? If you have zero worries about support, then you can focus on choosing a strap based on style! If you know you’ll need some extra support for the bodice, then you’ll want to err on the side of thick straps, multiple straps, or halter straps.
  2. How sexy do I want my wedding dress to be? The thinner (or non-existent) the straps, the sexier your bridal gown! The off-the-shoulder wedding dress straps are a sassy compromise between sexy and modest styles.
  3. What’s my bridal theme? Certain themes call for specific dress styles for the best match. For example, rustic or boho themes call for lots of lace and flowing fabrics, so draped off-the-shoulder straps or straps with embellished lace accents are perfect.
  4. Which wedding dress strap style makes me the most comfortable? Whether you’re comfortable because it’s your go-to style, it provides the best support, or it just happens to fit you and your personality perfectly when you try it out for the first time, how you feel in your wedding dress strap choice is of the utmost importance. It is, after all, your big day!

Now that you’ve got the basics down for the types of wedding dress straps, as well as how to customize or choose your strap style, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea about which styles you’d like to try on first! This is where Avery Austin’s got you covered. To help you make a final decision on your favorite wedding dress strap style, you can try on sample wedding dresses at home through our Try at Home Program! From the comfort of your own home and completely risk free, you can test out up to three styles, then decide on your favorite wedding dress strap style! Check out the Try at Home Program details here, then explore all of the bridal gown samples available, filtering by strap options to narrow your selection.

If you’re beginning to think that maybe straps aren’t really your thing, but you’re not quite comfortable with strapless styles either, then consider exploring sleeved wedding dresses! Discover both classic and modern sleeve styles in our Wedding Dress Sleeve Style Guide, then see if any of those designs call to you for your big day. Whether you end up on Team Straps or Team Sleeves, Avery Austin is proud to have helped you on your journey to finding your dream dress!