Which Wedding Dress Train is Right For you? A Guide to Wedding Dress Train Styles & Lengths

1/23/17 Wedding IDEAS, INSPIRATION AND INSIDER TIPS


If a wedding is a fairy tale, then a wedding dress with a train makes it all the more magical. A wedding train is the part of the dress that extends and trails along the floor, making any bride feel like a princess for a day.  

With so many different types of wedding trains available, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. Some brides even choose to go without a train at all, but many love the dreamy look it adds to the dress. We’ve compiled the most popular wedding dress train styles to help you narrow down your search for the perfect gown.

Wedding Dress Trains: Things to Consider

You may have a general idea of the type of train you want for the big day. But before you set your heart on anything, it’s important to take a few things into consideration before wedding dress shopping.

  1. Wedding setting - Where will you be getting married? On a beach? In a church? In your parents’ backyard? Setting has a huge impact on many aspects of your wedding, including your train. If you’re getting married inside and in a formal setting such as a church, you can get away with a longer, more elaborate train. Outdoor and destination weddings are ideal for shorter train styles.

  2. Bustle - If you have a long wedding dress train, you’ll most likely need to bustle it to your gown to keep it out of the way when it’s time for the reception. Otherwise, you’ll be stumbling all over the place! Research which type of bustle is best for you, and speak with your bridal consultant for specifics on how to bustle your gown.

  3. Body type - While most trains work well with just about any body type, there are some that looks best with certain shapes:

    1. Watteau trains look best on brides with small shoulders. This style can possibly make you look boxy if you have broad shoulders.

    2. Chapel, cathedral and semi-cathedral trains look great on anyone.

    3. If you’re pear-shaped, you may want to avoid sweep or court train wedding dresses, as they can possibly make you look bottom-heavy. Instead, opt for a cathedral, semi-cathedral or chapel style.

There are several wedding dress train styles available, ranging in length from super short to extra long. Depending on your vision for your big day, some styles may make more sense to wear than others.

Types of Wedding Dress Trains

Sweep Train

The sweep train is the shortest of the wedding dress trains, making it an excellent choice for an outdoor or casual wedding. It brushes just about six inches along the floor for a breezy, gorgeous look. If you want to keep things simple without the hassle of a bustle, the sweep train may be right for you.

Mermaid wedding dresses typically feature a sweep train, although other styles, like the ball gown with bow from our Moonlight Tango collection, look equally as stunning with this wedding train style.

Court

The court train is actually the same length as the sweep train. The difference? This style extends from the waist rather than the hem of the dress, transforming the gown’s silhouette into something a bit more formal than the sweep train.

The court train looks beautiful with mermaid and trumpet wedding gowns (as shown in Style T768 from Moonlight Tango), as well as A-line and column/sheath gowns. It’s a comfortable length that creates a more sophisticated effect than the sweep train.

Watteau

The detachable watteau train is an unconventional take on the traditional wedding dress train and can be considered a combination of a veil and a train. It attaches to the shoulders or upper back of the bodice to create a whimsical look without the commitment of an actual train. It can measure virtually any length, from chapel to cathedral, to suit the bride’s fancy.

Since this type of train is detachable, it’s ideal for destination and outdoor weddings and gives casual wedding gowns some formal flair. The bride can wear her train for the ceremony, then remove it to dance the night away during the reception.

Chapel

Measuring roughly three feet from the waist, the chapel train is the perfect blend of elegance and practicality. No wonder it’s the most popular type of wedding gown train!

For brides who want a train that’s noticeable but not over the top, the chapel train is a great choice. It adds a hint of whimsy to virtually any style of gown, as seen in Style J6474 from our Moonlight Collection.

Semi-Cathedral

A semi-cathedral train measures somewhere halfway between a chapel and cathedral train. It measures approximately five feet from the waist, which makes it a great compromise for the bride who may not want to commit to a full cathedral gown. As you can see in Style J6478 from our Moonlight Collection, the semi-cathedral train looks elegant without being too extravagant.

Cathedral

A cathedral train trails approximately six or seven feet from the waist, which makes it ideal for formal weddings taking place inside. It adds a dramatic look to any gown, as seen in Style H1299 of our Moonlight Couture collection, and enhances that fairytale feel of ball gown wedding dresses. Keep in mind that cathedral length trains, while gorgeous, require a fair amount of attention — make sure your bridesmaids are aware of their responsibilities on the big day like keeping the train properly situated and bustling.

Royal

As the name suggests, royal trains are reserved for the most extravagant of weddings. Typically seen in royal weddings (like Kate Middleton’s in 2011), this train measures approximately 12 feet from the waist — definitely not for the low-key bride!

Summary

A wedding dress train can enhance the elegance of your gown, especially if you choose a train with details such as lace and beads. However, the decision to have a wedding train is your own — if you decide you want a train, keep the vision you have for your wedding day front of mind.

Be sure to consult with your bridal boutique on any questions you may have about your train. They’re the experts and can help you with bustling the gown and deciding on a veil (if you want one) to go with your gown.
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