Can you imagine a more beautiful picture than that of a bride on a staircase with her wedding dress train cascading down?
The tradition of trains on wedding dresses began in the middle ages when a marriage was arranged between a prince and princess of different countries. The union of two kingdoms was incredibly important, both politically and financially. The show of wealth at these celebrations was a reflection of power and so began the use of expensive fabrics including silks, satins and furs. What better way to highlight this wealth than to use expensive fabrics to trail along the floor, having no other purpose or use then decoration? Like our interest in celebrities nowadays, brides would try to copy the royal trends and trains began to appear on wedding dresses of nobility, merchants and finally into the majority of weddings.
Over recent years, as different venues have become popular and churches are no longer the main choice, trains have become smaller and easier to manage. There are many different train options available today – enough to suit every bride. The traditional wedding dress train shape follows the line of the skirt, merely extending along the sides and further at the back giving a beautiful circular shape on a ball gown.
On straighter style gowns the shape of the skirt will dictate the width of the train, giving a sleeker, narrower train. However, as with most things, other options are available.
Wedding Dress Train Styles and Lengths
When shopping for your wedding dress it is worth baring in mind these terms for wedding dress train styles. They should help you explain to your bridal consultant the look you are hoping to achieve.
A panel train is a separate panel of fabric, approximately 1 foot wide, attached at the waist (often with hooks to be removable).
A Watteau train affixes at the shoulder or upper back of a strapless gown, flowing out higher up for a more Grecian style. This style of wedding dress train is normally a single panel, and can be as short as to only touch the floor at the back, or can extend much further for a more dramatic look.
A sweep train barely touches the floor, literally sweeping behind the bride. This style of wedding dress train can also be called a brush train. Perfect for an outdoor wedding, it will sit perfectly with a fishtail or mermaid gown.
A court train, also known as a puddle train, is the next style in length, extending about 3 feet along the floor. The court train and sweep train styles tend to be suitable for less formal weddings.
A chapel train has the same look as a full train, but is normally shorter in length and therefore suitable for most wedding venues. This style of wedding dress train is now the most popular due to its ease of use.
If you are having a formal wedding in a large venue, a Cathedral length train will make the most impact. With a full skirt the train will extend anywhere between 6.5 feet and 7.5 feet along the floor. Although a Cathedral train will be heavy to wear and will make moving around more difficult, this will balance out with the amazing photographs you will have.
The longest wedding dress train is the Monarch train, often seen at royal weddings, and will extend over 8 feet along the floor. Kate Middleton’s train measured 9 feet, but the longest of all was Princess Diana’s at 25 feet. This is one occasion where your bridesmaids will be very busy helping you to get around!
Detachable Wedding Dress Trains
If you desire the stunning effect of a full train but love the look of a sexy column dress or fishtail, detachable trains are a must. You can match the fabric of the train to the gown for a seamless blend, or you could opt for a tulle or organza train. These still have the wow factor but are much easier to manoeuvre, especially if you are having a destination wedding where the hot weather might make heavy satin impractical.
Look for half lined trains, or shaped trains tapering to a point highlighted with a gorgeous lace edging. Laser cut out details add an extra dimension and look stunning in photographs, as they show up all the beauty of the lace detailing, even from a distance.
Wedding Dress Train Hook Up
One concern you may have is what to do once you have had your photos taken and you are ready to dance the night away. With the help of a good seamstress it is possible to hook up a wedding dress train. This can be with a loop on the back of the train onto a button at the bottom of the zip or corset closure, with ribbons attached underneath the skirt to tie together to form a bustle, or, with a really narrow dress, a ribbon affixed under the train which can loop over your wrist.
Which ever type of wedding dress train you decide upon, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy yourself. Don’t worry if someone treads on it, and make sure you have some amazing photos. It is unlikely you will have the chance to wear a dress with a train again, unless of course you make it an anniversary tradition to wear your wedding dress each year!
Guest post by Hazel Edwards of Gillian Roberts Bridal Boutique
Images from Maggie Sottero
Zamara, Bree and Veronica Dresses from the Maggie Sottero Emerald 2018 Bridal Collection
Lena Dress from the Maggie Sottero Avery Spring 2017 Bridal Collection
All other dresses now discontinued