Shopping for wedding gowns can be fun, but overwhelming, and selecting a train length is just one more decision that a bride will need to make. Brides can, however, breathe a sigh of relief. This decision is all about common sense and personal preference!
Obviously, a longer, more regal train length equals a super-formal look. If that is truly the style of your wedding, go for a long train! Just be sure to have a plan regarding what to do with the long train later in the day (for instance, when you want to dance)! In most cases, a seamstress can add hooks to the gown to allow the train to be bustled, or lifted off the floor. There are a few different bustle styles, and an experienced seamstress should be able to guide you through the process of selecting the right one for your wedding gown.
If your wedding is on the other end of the formality spectrum, for instance a beach wedding or a casual backyard wedding, you may forgo a train completely, or wear a dress with a very short train.
If your event falls somewhere in the middle of the formality spectrum, the train length is truly just a matter of preference.
Here are some of the most common train lengths available:
Brush or Sweep: reaches just to the floor beneath your dress hem, “brushing” the floor as you walk. Perfect for beach, outdoor, or casual weddings. This train length is easiest to move in.
Court: a short train that attaches at waist and extends only one to two feet behind gown.
Chapel: formal to semi-formal style, attaches at waist and extends three to four feet behind gown.
Cathedral: attached at waist, extends dramatically for six to eight feet behind the gown. Often chosen for ultra-formal weddings.
Castillion: a French-inspired very long train of at least ten feet.
Royal: also sometimes called a “Monarch” train, since this look is popular in royal weddings. This train extends 10 or more feet from its attachment position at the waist.
Panel: this type of 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.
Watteau: 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.