Everything You Need to Know About Your Wedding Dress's Train

Etiquette, Wedding Dresses

Photo: Lauren Brown Photography

Thank's to Kate Middleton's Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen wedding dress, the wedding dress train is back in a major way — even Kim Kardashian wore one!

But is a train always appropriate? There's a lot of wedding etiquette embedded into the look, as there are many styles. To help, we broke down the rules and guidelines to follow when choosing a wedding dress train.

When is not appropriate to have a train?
The only time a bride should truly avoid having a train is for a vow renewal or a second wedding. According to tradition, the only exclusive prerogatives of the first-time bride are the veil and long train.

What wedding dress styles look best with a train?
Ball gown wedding dresses with trains are a classic, but you certainly have other choices. Opt for a slim column with either a Watteau (which attaches to the shoulders) or a detachable train or look for a modified A-line wedding dress with a chapel-length style trailing behind.

What are the main different styles of trains?
Sweep: A small swish of a train that trails about six inches on the floor. This style (sometimes also called a "brush" train) is a good choice for outdoor brides who want a touch of glamour without too much fabric dragging on the ground, or indoor brides who prefer something more simple and low-key.

Chapel: A train that extends 12 to 18 inches along the floor and is slightly longer than the sweep. This is the most common style — it's great for brides who want a more serious train without a lot of fuss. The overall look is elegant without being too heavy.

Cathedral: This train extends 22 or more inches along the floor and gives the dress a much more formal look. Cathedral-style gowns usually have a removable train or bustling option.

Semi-Cathedral: A train that is halfway between chapel and cathedral length.

Royal or Monarch: A train that extends a yard or more on the floor. It's the most dramatic option and often requires assistance from a flower girl. Princess Diana wore a 25-foot train, while Kate Middleton's train was just under nine-feet long.

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