Types of Wedding Gown Trains: Styles and Lengths of Trains (w/ Pictures)

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A wedding gown train adds to the beauty of your dress, but with so many train styles in the market, it can be overwhelmingly difficult to know the best one to choose. Figuring out the best train to buy can be easier if, before you shop for your wedding dress, you get informed about types of bridal gown trains and see pictures of what they look like. Furthermore, not every train style is suitable for every body shape or dress or wedding location.  This post will tell you everything you need to know about types of trains in the market, and tips to know the the right train for your wedding gown and occasion.

wedding gown train styles pictures

Photo Credit: @jopstudios /iinstagram

Wedding Gown Train Length Guide: How to Choose the Right Train for Your Occasion

What’s a wedding gown train? The train is that long back part of the wedding gown that sweeps the floor when the bride is walking.  The train is an extension of the wedding dress, which starts from either the hemline or waistline.  Aside from adding extra length to a wedding dress, the train also adds volume through the back.  The length of a train adds to the formality of a wedding gown. Hence, longer trains are best suited for more formal weddings.

Just like there are different styles of wedding gowns, there are different styles and lengths of trains – from the minimal, almost-no-train to the very long trains of several feet.  If you know the differences between different train styles, choosing the right one will be easy.  Find out in the next section – names and description of train styles, listed from the shortest train length. Also find out the right wedding gown train for you.

1. Sweep Train (aka Brush Train): Styles for Wedding Gowns

What’s a Sweep Train? The sweep or brush train is the shortest type of train; it either does not reach the ground or slightly brushes/ sweeps the floor.  The length of the Sweep or Brush Train is less than one foot long (is between 6 inches to 1 foot from the hemline of the wedding gown). Note: 1 foot = 12 inches.

Suitable for: This minimalist train style is short in length and not very noticeable, and so will not brush the floor.  This wedding dress train suits brides who like a tiny train or just do not like the idea of trains on their gown.  Wedding gowns with sweep or brush trains are suitable for any type of wedding, especially outdoor venues and gardens, since it won’t pick up dust or dirt.  Since this type of wedding gown train is short, you can easily move around in it, and doesn’t require any bridesmaid or flower girl to help hold/ arrange the train. 

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The Sweep or Brush train is also suitable for court registry weddings, beach weddings, destination weddings and casual weddings.  This train style is a good match with trumpet or mermaid gown silhouettes.

2. Court Train Styles for Wedding Gowns

What’s a court train? The court length train is a short train, but a bit longer than the Brush/ Sweep Train.  This style of bridal gown train is between 1.1 feet and up to 3 feet long (i.e. up to 1 yard or 36 inches or 1 meter) measured from the back of the waistline to the hem of the wedding gown.

NOTE: Many Court trains are designed the same length as the Sweep train.  However, they differ from where their train starts.  Unlike the Sweep train style, the court train starts extending from the waistline instead of the hemline, and that alone changes the entire wedding gown into a more formal dress.

Suitable for: If you want a short train on your wedding gown, but feel that the chapel length train is too short, consider buying the Court Train length.  The court train is suitable for many types of wedding locations and formality.  While this type of train is shorter than many of the other train styles, it may not be very convenient for some outdoor/ garden wedding venue – as it reaches the ground and sweeps the floor.  

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3. Chapel Train Styles for Wedding Gowns

What’s a chapel length train? This style of train is a long train. The chapel length train is longer than the Sweep Train but generally medium length (not too long and yet not too short). In chapel train wedding gowns, their train is usually between 1.1 and 1.5 meters long (i.e. 3 feet to 4.5 feet long (i.e 36 to 54 inches or 1 to 1.5 meters or 1 to 1.6 yards), measured from the dress hem.  This is the most popular type of train, because of its versatility – noticeable but not too formal.

Suitable for: Chapel trains are suitable for many types of weddings, including inside a big indoor venue and outdoor locations.  The length of this train does not require a bridesmaid to hold it and walk behind you – you should be able to move freely in it. 

The chapel train looks great when paired with an A-line wedding gown, and looks good every body shape but looks best on brides that are slimmer on top (pear shaped).

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4. Cathedral Train Styles for Wedding Gowns

What is a cathedral length train? The cathedral train is next in length after chapel train; it is a very long train (longer than the chapel train).  Wedding gowns with Cathedral train have very long trains that usually measures above 3 feet and up to  7 feet in length.

Suitable for: Because it’s a longer length, the Cathedral length train is a more formal train than the chapel train.  This train is suitable for indoor weddings and fairytale theme weddings. It is not ideal for outdoor wedding venues, as they would sweep loads of dirt. However, they are perfect for a formal wedding theme.

Since this is a long train, you need a bridesmaid or flower girl to lift and guide the train behind you, during your wedding.  If you want to make a grand entrance at your wedding, this style of bridal train is the perfect choice for all that drama and glitz. Due to the extra long length of the cathedral train, it is suitable for indoor wedding ceremonies, especially formal theme weddings and works best with a matching cathedral train veil. 

The cathedral train matches perfectly with either an A-line gown or ball gown style. This type of train looks beautiful on every body shape but looks best on brides who are slimmer on top (pear shaped).

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5. Royal Train (aka Monarch Train): Royal Train Styles for Wedding Gowns

What is a royal train? The royal train is the longest type of train. This type of bridal train is  extra long, up to 12 feet long and more.  They are the type seen at royal weddings – Princess Diana had a 25 feet long train; Duchess Kate Middleton had a 9 feet long train.

Suitable for: Due to its extra length, you need about two bridesmaids to lift and guide the train behind you, when you walk. This type of train is suitable for royal weddings, and works best with a matching royal length veil.  With this type and length of train, you certainly require about two flower girls or bridesmaids to help arrange the train when you walk down the aisle, and later.

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6. Watteau Train Styles for Wedding Gowns

What is a Watteau train style? Unlike the other types of trains that extend from the hemline of the wedding dress, the Watteau train attaches to the shoulders or upper back of the bodice, like a cape, and falls down the bride’s back. Because of how this type of train looks from the back, it can be called a combination of a veil and a train.  Usually, this type of train is same length as the wedding dress, but sometimes can be longer up to the cathedral or chapel length train.  Most Watteau trains come are designed to be detachable.

Suitable for: The Watteau train is suitable for beach weddings, casual weddings, outdoor weddings, backyard weddings, and destination weddings.  By the way, some brides choose this style of train for other types of weddings. Detachable Watteau trains add a hint of formality to a casual wedding gown style, so that the bride can transform the dress to a casual or party look (informal) when she removes the Watteau train for her reception look.  The Watteau train looks beautiful when matched with a column / sheath style wedding gown. Brides with narrow/ small shoulders look beautiful in Watteau trains.  This is the style of train Solange (Beyonce’s sister) wore when she got married (picture below).

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7. Detachable Trains (aka Panel Trains): Styles for Wedding Gowns

Detachable trains are simply a type of wedding gown train that can be attached and removed. They are also known as removable or panel trains. This type of trains are not sewn into the wedding gown, but they are removable addon-fabrics that can be attached at the back-hem of the dress, and can also be detached (removed) when not needed.  Detachable or Panel trains come in any length – short, medium or long.

Some brides prefer to buy simple, casual-looking outfits for wedding gown, but use detachable trains and a veil to transform the dress to a formal look appropriate for wedding. When attached to any casual wedding gown style, a detachable train will add a feel and look of formality, transforming the dress to a formal wedding gown.  Some refer to this train as ‘removable train’.

Suitable for: This type of  train is suitable destination and outdoor weddings.  It’s for you if you want to wear one wedding gown for both your joining ceremony and reception, but desire different looks – look formal with the trains attached, change to a casual or party look with train removed.  For example: you can attach the panel train for the church ceremony, and wear your gown without it at the reception.  A lighter dress without the train offers the convenience to moving around and dancing in your wedding gown.

SHOPPING TIP: Instead of worrying about choosing the right dress style and deciding an appropriate train, you may want to focus first on finding the best wedding gown, and later shop for a detachable train or even have a good tailor sew one for that gown.  Some brides do that.

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Conclusion:  What’s Your Own Train Style or Length?

The bridal gown train makes walking down the aisle so beautiful, and something every guest looks forward to.  The train significantly changes the shape (silhouette) of the entire wedding gown, adding more elegance and drama – especially when the bride is walking down the aisle for the bridal procession.  Longer trains (chapel/ cathedral/ royal trains) add more drama when the bride is walking down the aisle. Shorter trains (sweep & court trains) also look amazing. And, detachable trains are a great option to transform any simple/ casual style wedding gown without trains.

Now you know the different types of bridal gown train styles and options.  You also know the the different long trains, as well as available options for short and extra long trains.  I also explained which train length looks best with which style/ silhouette of wedding gown, as well as the train type appropriate for the formality of your wedding. 

I hope you are now more confident about which wedding dress train style or length to buy.  So, tell me – are you going for a wedding dress with train or one without a train? Which type or style of train do you think you’ll choose to have on your wedding gown?  Comment below to tell me.


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About Stella Anokam

Stella is the founder and Editor of this blog (NaijaGlamWedding). Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Submit your photos to be featured - it's FREE, because we love everything weddings, bridal showers, engagement shoots.

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