Wedding Dress Train Length Guide: Top 7 Styles

Draping beautifully from the back of your gown, wedding dress trains come in all different shapes and sizes. Finding the perfect wedding dress train length for you starts with knowing what your options are. In this wedding dress train length guide, we’ll cover the top 7 most popular wedding dress trains you'll come across in the bridal industry today. Once you’ve read about the types of wedding dress trains available, we’ll talk a bit about how you can go custom with your train length. Finally, we’ll explore tips on how you can choose the best wedding dress train length for you! Ready to dive into our wedding dress train length guide? Let's start by introducing the first style, and the shortest of wedding dress trains: the sweep train.

The Top 7 Types of Wedding Dress Trains by Length

  1. The Sweep Train: Sometimes called a brush train, the sweep train is the shortest wedding dress train length available. Extending anywhere from four inches to two feet long, sweep trains are one of the most commonly seen types of wedding dress trains in magazines, TV shows, and movies. A sweep train is perfect for any bride who wants a classic look with just a touch of drama. The short length makes sweep trains easy to manage and walk-in, which is a definite perk for outdoor beach weddings, but it still offers that glamorous look that every bride wants on their wedding day.
  2. The Court Train: Running anywhere from two to four feet long, the court train is the next step up from the sweep train in terms of wedding dress train lengths. Unlike the sweep train, which lies close to the ground, the court train extends outward and away from the body. This wedding dress train length is perfect for any bride who wants a little bit more drama on their wedding day. The court train is still easy to manage, but it makes a little bit more of a statement than the sweep train. If you're having an indoor wedding or a formal affair, this style is perfect for such settings. Plus, the court train looks amazing in photos. Trust us—your wedding photos will be absolutely stunning if you choose a dress with a court train!
  3. The Chapel Train: Ranging from two to five feet long, the chapel train is either the same size as the court train or slightly longer. Named after a traditional wedding venue, the chapel train is perfect for any bride who wants a classic look that’s easy to manage but offers a little bit more drama than a sweep or court train. If you want a timeless wedding dress with a medium-length train, you can't go wrong with the chapel train. But if you want something a bit longer, keep reading!
  4. The Semi-Cathedral Train: Measuring about halfway between a chapel and cathedral train, the semi-cathedral train is the perfect compromise for any bride who is hesitant to commit to a full-on cathedral-length train. At four to five feet long, a semi-cathedral train still packs a bold, stylish punch, but will be easier to manage than a cathedral train. However, semi-cathedral trains may still require a bit of assistance at times when it comes to turning or posing for pictures.
  5. The Watteau Train: The watteau train is the next size up for wedding dress train lengths. It's named after Jean-Antoine Watteau, a French painter who was known for his Rococo-style paintings. And like the Rococo period, the watteau train is all about flair and opulence! This wedding dress train style extends anywhere from four to six feet long and drapes beautifully as it cascades down the back of the dress. It will draw even more attention than the aforementioned train lengths, so if you prefer a more understated look, you’ll want to skip this style. But if serving up drama as you step down the aisle is your goal, then this is a design to keep in mind! Of course, since it's so long, the watteau train may mean you’ll require some assistance with moving or positioning yourself on your wedding day.
  6. The Cathedral Train: The cathedral train is the quintessential long train wedding dress. It extends anywhere from five to fifteen feet long, and it's named after one of the most famous wedding venues: the cathedral. While not easy to maneuver in, a cathedral train is a stunning, dramatic design. If you want to step down the aisle looking as elegant and dreamy as possible, the cathedral train is a great choice. Once you’re finished with the ceremony and pictures though, you may want to consider a bustle to keep your cathedral train off the ground while you mingle and dance.
  7. The Royal Train: Last but not least, there is the royal train, which is the longest wedding dress train length available. As the name implies, it doesn't get more elegant or formal than this style! The royal train extends anywhere from ten to twenty-five feet long. That's a lot of fabric! This wedding dress train length is perfect for any bride who wants the most luxurious look possible as they regally glide toward the altar. Whether you want to feel like royalty or simply wish to make a grand entrance on your wedding day, the royal train is the way to go. Just keep in mind that you'll need full-time assistance managing it on your big day! (And afterall, what are bridesmaids for?)

Customizing Your Wedding Dress Train Length

Of course, you're not limited to these traditional wedding dress train lengths. You can always customize your train length to be whatever you want it to be! Customizing your wedding dress train length means you’re able to strike just the right balance between designer styles and your personal style, and it also provides you with a truly unique look. There are two ways to go about wedding dress train customization: choosing a custom length at the time of your purchase or altering the length after you’ve received your gown. Here’s what you need to know about both options:

  • Choosing a Custom Train Length: While this isn’t a possibility with all dress designers, some do provide the option to select your preferred train length when you special order your gown (since special order wedding dresses are typically made specifically for you after you’ve purchased them). Of course, you’ll want to check before making your purchase to be sure that the customization option is available, and it’s also worth asking how any embellishments, trim, or other details might be modified with a longer or shorter train length.
  • Getting Train Length Alterations: Train length alterations are almost exclusively for shortening trains, as adding length to a completed gown is tricky if not impossible depending upon the style. That said, if you are considering any kind of wedding dress train alterations, it’s important to discuss the possibilities with your seamstress in advance. You’ll need to know if it’s possible to shorten the length of your wedding dress train without compromising the overall style (which is a very real possibility when there are gorgeous embellishments, scalloped edges, or lace details involved).

Did you know that you can skip the alteration concerns by customizing your wedding dress train length at Avery Austin? When you buy wedding dresses online at Avery Austin, you can customize your train length if you want it longer or shorter! Your dream gown can be made without the train altogether if that's what you want, or train fabric can be added or removed in one foot increments. If this is an option you’d like to explore, get in touch with one of our bridal specialists who can walk you through the process of choosing and ordering a wedding dress with a custom train length.

Choosing the Best Wedding Dress Train Length for You

Now that you know all about the options you have for wedding dress train lengths, it's time to choose the right one for you. To do that, there are three main things you need to consider: your wedding venue, your wedding theme, and your personal style preferences. Let's start with the wedding location.

  • Wedding Venue: Where your wedding is being held can make it easier or more challenging to wear certain types of wedding dress trains. For example, if you're having a traditional church wedding, you'll be indoors with a clear straight aisle for walking. In this venue, it's totally practical to have a longer train, such as a chapel, cathedral, or even royal train. On the other hand, if you're having a destination wedding on a warm sandy beach, wearing a wedding dress with a long train could be too hard to walk in. Imagine how much sand you'd be toting around in a long train! In this case, you might want to skip the train altogether. Yes, that's really an option! So many brides wonder if a train is right for them that we wrote another entire blog on the pros and cons of wedding dress trains! Check it out to find wedding dress train alternatives and when we recommend ditching the train altogether.
  • Wedding Theme: If you have a special theme for your wedding, you’ll want to consider how your choice of wedding dress train length can fit right in. Longer lengths lend themselves well to romantic themes because you should feel like a princess in your own fairy tale at such a celebration! Modern themes, however, call for simplicity and sleek designs, so shorter train lengths match these themes best.
  • Personal Style Preferences: Once you’ve considered the venue and theme, keep in mind that your style preference might just trump all! Whether you’ve always dreamed of a long, cathedral train or know you’d prefer to move around easily without help, nobody knows you better than you, so choosing your wedding dress train length should be about your comfort and dreams. Afterall, you’re the bride, and it’s your day! If you want to add flair and drama to your look, opt for a long train wedding dress. If you want to remain simple and understated, without the hassle of a train flowing behind you, stick with a shorter train. There's no right or wrong answer. It's all about what you love!
As you can see, choosing the best wedding dress train length really all comes down to…You! What you say goes! There’s no reason to compromise on what you want, and Avery Austin agrees. Whether you know you want to shop here for long train wedding dresses or prefer to speak with a bridal specialist to customize your wedding dress train length, Avery Austin has got you covered.