In love with wedding dress trains? So are we!
Trains have traditionally had a long history of being an integral part of ceremonial clothing in academic or court settings. With the introduction of trains to women’s formalwear in French court settings, trains have now become an established custom of wedding dress fashion, often associated with the perfect fairy tale wedding dress.
Whether you’re unsure as to what length to choose or wish to create a wedding dress with a detachable train, you can up the drama with a wedding dress train. Check out this complete guide to wedding dress trains and dress inspiration!
What is a Train?
A train is extra fabric that extends the back hemline past floor length so the gown is longer in the back than the front. It’s a classic feature of a wedding gown, especially for the effect a train can add while walking down or standing at the aisle. If you are in love with the idea of having the dress flow behind you and up to the aisle, a train is for you. If you think you might want a train, there are two decisions you’ll need to make: how long do you want it to be? And what will you do with it after the ceremony?
Wedding Train Lengths Explained: Choosing a Train Length
Choosing the right train length will ensure both your comfort and confidence on your wedding day. Refer to the wedding dress train length chart below to visualize your perfect wedding train length.
No train – Floor-length gowns are a no-fuss, no-bustle option, ideal for outdoor or beach weddings. This is a good option for clumsy brides- chances of tripping over your dress are greatly reduced with no train!
Sweep – A sweep train is 10 inches long. A sweep train is ideal for brides who want that bridal touch but don’t want to worry about bustling. Sweep trains work especially well on crepe gowns- Because it’s a heavier (but silky) fabric, crepe is harder to pin into a bustle than a tulle or chiffon.
Court – A court train is 2 ft long. Court trains are perfect for achieving the look of a train without a lot of trailing fabric to deal with. This length looks especially good on mermaid gowns or fit-flares, where the train isn’t overwhelming for the volume of the skirt.
Chapel – A chapel train is 3 ft long. A chapel train is still manageable, but has that element of drama. Great for formal venues and looks best on an a-line or ball gown. This train will require a more secure bustle.
Cathedral– A cathedral train is 6 ft long. Cathedral trains are at the height of formality with a wedding gown. With all that jazz comes a fair bit of work- Cathedral trains are often heavy and require a more complicated bustle. Your bridesmaids should also be ready to adjust the drape and shape of your Cathedral train for photos. Cathedral trains are currently only offered for our Bespoke gowns.
Bustles and Other Options
What about after the Ceremony? Most brides have their trains pinned into a bustle so they are free to dance and move freely. There are other options if you don’t like the look of a bustle- such as overskirts or wrist loops- read about all three at the end of this article.
Before you’re set on a train length, consider what you’ll do with all of the fabric post-ceremony.
Bustles – Tack it, loop it, and button it to keep it out of the way for dancing. Keep in mind, bustles are best added in-person by the tailor of your choice once you receive your gown. This helps ensure that the bustle is the length that you want and that the bustle point is in the desired spot.
Attach it to your wrist. Wrist loops are a great option for fit-flare gowns with court or chapel length trains. You can also wear a wrist loop with the train attached during your ceremony or cocktail hour and then bustle your gown to dance the night away.
From cathedral trains to sweep trains, now that you have chosen a suitable train for your wedding dress, here is some inspiration for your perfect train pattern and design!
1. Chevron Patterned Wedding Train for the Modern Bride
To match this bride’s modern black and white wedding theme, this bride chose a detachable train that bordered the line between veil and train. We love how innovative the look is!
2. Lightweight Train Wristlet
To accommodate this bride’s Costa Rica destination wedding on the beach, this bride opted for a lightweight train wristlet as opposed to a heavy, long train. Without the hassle of bustling, the bride looked absolutely gorgeous on her wedding day.
3. Classic Wedding Train
This bride chose a simple train to match her extravagant veil. We love the all-white lace applique along the veil and train.
4. Soft Floral Wedding Train
The floral applique on the bride’s long train perfectly complements the romantic off-the-shoulder sleeves and sweetheart neckline. The dress was made of soft white stackup and silk chiffon.
5. Romantic Floral Wedding Train
This A-line wedding dress also has floral applique on the wedding train. With Lydia lace and blush and white stackup, the romantic look is tied together.
6. Wedding Train on Mermaid Wedding Dress
A-line dresses aren’t the only gowns that can have long trains! The floral applique on this wedding train matches the rest of the mermaid style wedding dress.
7. Geometric Lace Wedding Train
Bride Rhiannon wears a mermaid style wedding dress with geometric applique on her wedding dress and train. This court-length train is embroidered with “Iris” lace.
8. Soft Chantilly Wedding Train
This bride’s extravagant cathedral length wedding train adds some extra volume with the use of champagne stackup. The lace detailing “Isella” and “Aurora” provide even more drama.
9. Geometric Lace Wedding Train with Mermaid Gown
This bride’s dress used sun kissed illusion mesh and soft white stackup. “Izzy” lace was used along the dress and train.
If you’re convinced that you want to choose a wedding dress with a long train, learn about how to wear a train, purchasing a detachable train, and more! Read on to answer all your questions about wedding dress trains.
What’s better: train or no train for your wedding dress?
If you’re planning an outdoor or beach wedding, a wedding dress train may be a hassle, especially if made with a heavier material like crepe. Dragging sand and debris with your train is not ideal for the bride’s perfect day. In this case, choosing a wedding dress with no train or a sweep wedding dress train is ideal. Many brides with beach weddings choose sheath dresses with shorter trains. For boho dresses, brides should also choose a sweep wedding dress train. Long trains are not as suitable for the bohemian bride due to the informality of the theme.
On the other hand, if the bride is having a formal or black tie wedding event, a cathedral train wedding dress is fitting for the occasion.
What wedding dress silhouette works best for a chapel or cathedral length train?
Most wedding dress silhouettes work for longer train lengths. If you are looking to wear a short wedding dress, a train may appear unbalanced. However, some brides opt for high-low short wedding dresses to add extra drama to the back of their wedding dresses. For more information on the right silhouette for your body type, read this.
What should I do if the wedding dress bustle breaks?
Because bustles must hold the heavy fabric of a wedding dress, they can occasionally break after extensive walking and dancing. For an emergency fix, have a bridesmaid or wedding planner help with safety pins or ribbons.
Can I wear a colored wedding dress train?
Colored wedding dress trains are beautiful and can come in a variety of colors. Brides should try to match trains to the color of their wedding dresses. For more inspiration on choosing the color of your gown and wedding dress train, read this blog post on colored wedding dresses and black wedding dresses.
Can I wear a detachable train?
Yes! Both Etsy and Amazon have more economical detachable train options. These detachable trains can be attached at the shoulder or the back of the wedding dress. Cocomelody and Karen Willis Holmes are bridal sites that also have a selection of detachable wedding dress trains you can add to your dream gown. If you decide to design your own custom wedding dress with Anomalie and its stylist team, you can directly create your wedding dress with a detachable train with one price.
Can I wear a detachable overskirt?
If you love the drama of a long wedding train, but don’t want a lot of fabric to worry about during the reception, consider adding an overskirt with a longer train. Whether you’re wearing an overskirt over a mermaid wedding dress or a shorter dress, you can’t beat two looks with one dress! Read more about overskirts here.
Can I wear a detachable cape with my wedding dress?
Traditional bridal train not for you? Brides looking for a bolder and edgier option should consider adding a cape to the wedding dress! When worn over the shoulders and your wedding dress, these bridal capes can be floor-length or cropped. Looking to purchase a detachable cape? Search through handmade bridal capes on Etsy.
Peep this bride’s lightweight tulle cape on Anomalie’s instagram:
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Which celebrities wore long trains?
Many celebrities and royals have chosen to wear grand wedding dresses with long trains. Kate Middleton wore a wedding dress with a train that was almost nine feet long. With the longest train in royal history, Princess Diana’s train was even longer, at 25 feet long. Victoria Beckham also sported an incredibly long wedding train at 20 feet.
How do I wear a long train down the aisle?
Before walking down the aisle, your wedding planner will likely help adjust your train. This allows the full length of your train to be on display!
Where are the best places to buy a wedding dress with a long train?
Starting at several thousand dollars, Casablanca Bridal, Amaré Couture, and White One offer a variety of wedding dress silhouettes with long trains. These dresses are often sold at wedding boutiques and are considered less expensive options.
Brides wanting to spend below $1,000 on a short wedding dress should look towards David’s Bridal – David’s Bridal has a large selection of discounted wedding dresses with long trains. Another option in the bridal market, BHLDN, is one of the few chain stores with dresses ranging between $800 and $2,000.
If you would like a complete guide to choosing the right wedding dress retailer based on factors such as price and quality, check out our blog post here.
Should I trust an online wedding dress retailer?
If you’re concerned about the fit of your wedding dress or can’t find all the design elements that you want, Anomalie may be the perfect match for you. Whether you’re a tall, petite, or plus size bride, Anomalie has helped thousands of brides across Canada and the United States with their perfect fit and dream dress. The company was first started when founder Leslie Voorhees couldn’t find her dream dress (a Ball Gown with long illusion lace sleeves) in stores. After creating her own dream dress at a much lower cost, she found that many other brides wanted a customized dress for fit and personalization reasons. Thus, Anomalie was born. Without the designer and boutique markup, Anomalie is able to bring the best materials to brides at a lower price. See the below video for more on the Anomalie story and process.