The entrance of the bride to a wedding is a time-honored tradition.  Many eyes are focused on—for many—the first glimpse of the wedding dress.  Tears sometimes flow and faces brighten.  But when the bride advances closer to the groom, heads and eyes drop down to the what is flowing in back of the dress; the wedding gown train.

Where Did All This Extra Fabric Come From?

Traditionally, a train signifies how formal a wedding dress is.  The longer the train; the more formal it is.  It seems to date back to distinguishing a bride from her bridesmaid(s).  Also, many brides who are marrying again may choose a short train or none at all.  But nowadays; anything goes and trains are simply a matter of preference.  From just a brush on the floor to a trailing of many yards, they can strongly influence the choice of dress for a bride.  

Here are some tips and information to make your train follow smoothly

bride with train on dock

• Consider Your Location

You may want to seriously consider what your gown train has to go through.  Narrow aisles, grass, obstacles, or near water—can take a toll.  Keep this in mind when you choose your gown.  If you have your heart set on a particular dress—but know the train may be tricky to navigate (even with help) at your wedding; consider having it shortened.  Detachable trains that can be removed when you want or need to—can be a choice as well.   

• Shall You Dance

A train of any length should be properly put up for dancing and being comfortable at your reception.  Your groom and guests hug and press against you at your wedding.  Stepping on the train can lead to tripping and excessive soiling.  (Unless your train is detachable), something called a bustle can be added to the back your dress.  It can consist of a combination of snaps, buttons, or ribbons to tuck your train in—up—and out of the way.  Sometimes, they have the added feature of seeming like you have changed into another dress (because they

train bustle

change the look of the back).  Holding your train on your arm for your entire wedding (depending on the length) can be tiring, so bustles are a desirable option.  The Lansing Bridal Association has bridal apparel vendors who have expert seamstresses to do this.  If you are concerned with the whereabouts of your train at your wedding; ask for advice.

Picture Perfect

Wedding gown trains have long been a focal point for photographers in wedding photos.  Some tumble down stairwells with intricate details, swirl beautifully in front of a wedding party, or are carried so tenderly by children or other family members.  They can add drama even if they aren’t many yards long.  Amber Johnston, LBA member and owner of Amber J Photography—gives some insight:

“Typically, I will have the maid of honor help adjust the train. This makes it easier for me to stand back and direct how I would like it to look. If the maid of honor isn’t around, or we are off photographing just the bride and groom, I will have my assistant (Allen) adjust the train. He has also helped carry the train as we walk from location to location. We have even had brides joke that he is a stand-in Maid/Matron of honor. Keep in mind, if you are planning on having pictures taken outside, your train will likely be dragging on the ground and getting dirty at some point. I would suggest talking to your seamstress/tailor and ask about a wrist strap for your train. This will help keep it off the ground and make it easier to carry as we change locations.”

long veil with train

• When Your Veil is Your Train

Some brides opt for a longer veil instead of the sometimes heavier weight of fabric attached to the back of the dress.  It is especially desirable if your ceremony is somewhere that a very long train can be navigated.  It can be removed from the headpiece.  This can be a lovely look, but be aware—tulle is fragile and can rip easily.  Veils made of chiffon are a bit more durable, but a tulle veil is more common.  Veiling substituted for a train can be subject to blowing wind, so keep this in mind when choosing this lightweight option and for pictures.

Whatever train options you choose, let the Lansing Bridal Association help you with all your wedding apparel needs.  They will guide you to a comfortable and beautiful look for your wedding location.  

Written by Cheryl Jiminez

Assistant to the Lansing Bridal Association and formal bridal seamstress


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