Guide to Wedding Dress Trains: Style, Type, and Length
While you’re in the thick of planning and shopping for your wedding dress, stop and give some thought to whether you’d like a train. Even if you’re reasonably sure you don’t want one, you should try on at least a few wedding dresses with trains just to solidify your decision.
Trains add formality and a touch of majesty to a wedding. Brides look (and feel) almost regal as they flow past with their ornamental train trailing behind them. The train also helps to further differentiate your gown from the bridesmaids’ dresses. Trains make a dramatic accent to your dress, especially when you can take portraits with it swirled around you on the floor.
If you’re getting married in the LDS temple, should you even bother considering a train? Of course you can. Trains are not allowed in the temple, but if yours is detachable (most longer trains are) then it’s no problem at all. Some LDS brides don’t even wear their wedding gowns for the sealing ceremony, opting to change into a simple white temple dress that is altogether less fuss.
So if you think you might want to try a train, then what kind? Most brides don’t know that there are actually many kinds of trains.
(To see larger images of any wedding train, click on its named link)
Also called the “brush,” this train is less than a foot and a half long, barely dusting the ground. The sweep train has become very popular in the 21st century, and is a good choice for minimalist brides who want the benefits of a train without all the fuss of managing one. Brush trains are also suitable trains for a more casual wedding.
The court train is the same length as a sweep train, but this type of train extends from the waistline rather than the hemline of the dress. This dramatically alters the silhouette of the bride, so make sure to look at yourself in a court train from the side to see if you like what you see.
A panel train isn’t part of the dress, but rather a separate panel of fabric about a foot wide that trails behind the dress. Usually detachable, panel trains can be made into any length desired. Some brides who buy their dress and later decide they want a train can have a professional create a customized panel train for them.
Worn from the shoulders and draping down to the bottom hem of the dress, the Watteau train dramatically alters a bride’s silhouette and can lend an almost Grecian feel to the dress. This unconventional choice is a good alternative to a veil for brides who don’t want to cover up their hairstyle but still have the look of a long, flowing veil. Bridesmaids’ dresses with Watteau trains are also very pretty.
Chapel trains are probably the most popular and most traditional choice for brides. They extend between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 feet from the waist. Chapel length trains have the dramatic appearance of a train without becoming unwieldy, and can be either detached or made into a bustle for the reception afterward.
Cathedral trains are chapel trains taken to the extreme. They extend between 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 feet from the waist. They are of course, more formal than the chapel length and look best with a cathedral length veil to match. Be sure to try several on before making the final decision – they can be difficult to manage!
Extending 12+ feet from the waist, monarch trains are definitely the most opulent and rich-looking option. They usually require at least two dedicated “helpers” to lift and guide the train behind the bride. Though a rarely-seen and difficult length, the monarch train is definitely the one fit for royalty.
Tips on Choosing a Wedding Dress Train
When choosing your train, make sure to do a lap or two and note how it drapes behind you and how comfortable you feel walking in it.
It may also be helpful to have a friend take pictures (if the retailer allows) from the back so that you can see the train yourself from the guests’ perspective.
Most importantly, you need to know what you plan to do for the reception with a train that is chapel length or longer. Most brides either detach their trains or pull them up into a bustle – but not every train is detachable, and not every train has the required loops and hooks to make a bustle. Petite brides should look for detachable trains, since slight figures are easily overwhelmed by a large bustle.
♥ Jenny Evans
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