What Is the Difference Between Velvet and Satin for a Bridesmaid Dress?

/ Post by Emma Johnson in

Having a collection of satin and velvet bridesmaid dresses in your closet is a lovely addition, to say the least. Velvet bridesmaid dresses give your girls an elegant appearance. On the other hand, satin bridesmaid dresses will give you a classic look with a hint of royalty.

Probably, you are torn between velvet and satin for your bridesmaid's dress. This article covers everything you need to know about both types of fabrics. Scroll down for more information.

Let's delve into the fundamentals of both fabrics.

What is Velvet?

Velvet is a fabric with short, dense lint. It is usually made of silk, cotton, or other synthetic fibers. The word “Velvet” derives from the Middle French “velu”, meaning “furry”.

The Origin of Velvet

There are so many postulations surrounding the origin of velvet.  According to one record, the first velvet fabric was discovered in East Asia, ancient China, and Egypt around 2000 BC. Subsequently, velvet made its way down the Silk Road into Europe. However, it was not until the Renaissance that velvet became popular in Europe.

Characteristics of Velvet

  • Softness and Smoothness: Velvet is a sleek and soft fabric that gives  extra warmth to the skin. The soft feel of velvet makes it a good choice for bridesmaid dresses during winter;
  • Durability: Velvet is a stretching material and does not lose its touch even after several times of washing. It can be washed and re-worn and still look brand new without losing its drape.;
  • Glossy: Velvet has a glossy and less lustrous appearance. Its low shine feature makes it an ideal choice for men's jackets and suits;
  • Wears out Easily: If velvet fabric is used frequently, it wears out and the color fades away;
  • Difficult to Clean: Unlike other fabrics, velvet is more difficult to clean and maintain;

What is Satin?

Satin is a type of weave made of silk and synthetic fibers with a glossy front side. The satin weave produces a fabric that is soft, smooth, and lustrous with a lovely drape. It has a lustrous surface on one side and a dull surface on the other side. 

The Origin of Satin

Satin originated in ancient China, where it was exclusively made of silk. The satin weave originated in Quanzhou, a Chinese port city known as Zaitun to the Arabians, hence the name satin.

Characteristics of Satin 

  • Lustrous Front: Satin weaves create a lustrous, soft right side of the fabric and a dull back;
  • Beautiful Drape: Satin weaves create a beautiful drape as a result of the concentration of fibers;
  • Wrinkle-resistant: Satin is wrinkle-resistant most especially, the thicker satin fabrics;
  • Snags Easily: The threads can get easily caught in a satin weave, which leaves unappealing snags.

The Differences between Satin and Velvet

Aside from the fact that satin is a type of weave woven from floating warp yarns. Velvet is also a type of weave woven from two different yarns. There are yet other striking differences between these two fabrics, which include:

How to Choose Velvet or Satin Bridesmaid Dresses?

If you want your bridesmaids to look elegant and personal, then velvet bridesmaid dresses are the best choice. However, if you want a luxurious and elegant look, satin bridesmaid dresses are the best choice. There are some things you need to pay attention to before you decide whether your bridesmaid dress should be made of satin or velvet:

Bridesmaid Body Shape

Your bridesmaids will most likely have different body shapes and sizes, which will influence the fabric they choose for their dresses. Velvet is a smooth and soft fabric that is suitable for all body types which gives a comfortable and warm feel. The same thing applies to satin, it can be comfortably worn by all body types.

Wedding Theme

Different fabrics for different wedding themes! When choosing a fabric for your bridesmaids, check if it fits into the type of picture you're creating for your wedding. For a boho-themed wedding, velvet fabric will go well and satin fabrics for a classic wedding theme.


Beach, garden, gothic, rustic, ballroom, formal- whatever your wedding destination you decide to have? A velvet bridesmaid dress is a good choice for a garden or beach wedding because it can't be easily blown away by the wind. A satin bridesmaid dress would be nice for a ballroom or gothic wedding venue.


During warmer months, you'll want a lightweight fabric like charmeuse satin- it gives a nice drape and is best for summer weddings. However, during colder months, you'll want to go for a fabric that will keep your bridesmaids warm. Duchess satin and velvet fabric are good fabric options for colder months.

Dress design

Satin is very flexible and versatile when it comes to adding designs and modifications to the dress but velvet is not so. Velvet does not give much room for too many designs because it is beautiful on its own without embellishments and embroideries. You can choose to incorporate a sweetheart or cowl neckline into the dress.


It is necessary to be realistic about how much you and your bridesmaids are willing to spend on bridesmaid dresses. You might need to talk with a professional designer to help with choosing fabrics that are according to your budget. Both satin and velvet are affordable options you can explore.


To give you a seamless experience, we have explained the basics of velvet and satin in detail. We have also compiled a list of the things to consider before selecting any of these fabrics for your big day. Follow these steps and your bridesmaids are sure to look stunning!


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