Why do some wedding gowns have trains?

January 16, 2015

By imagining the quintessential fairytale wedding, a horse-drawn carriage, gothic castle and a long, flowing wedding dress probably come to mind. The train of the wedding dress may, at first glance, seem something of an excessive extravagance, but it's actually steeped in history. How did the wedding dress train come about, and what purpose does it serve?

The forever train

The train of the wedding dress can trace its roots right back to medieval times. It was initially created purely to impress wedding guests, with pure aesthetics in mind rather than practicality – much as is the case today. The groom's family were the main group that were expected to be thrilled, and one of the most common ways to do this was by wearing a flowing train that was as long as could be afforded.

However, trains in those long-gone days were only affordable to the gentry and high society, and having a train would show that the betrothed had some form of connection with the king or queen of the time. Indeed, the longer the train, the closer the relationship was said to be between the bride and the monarch. Furthermore, the length of the train highlighted the bride's social rank, as only a family of great wealth could afford the extra fabric for the dress.

Train of thought

The purpose of the wedding dress train remains much the same today as it did back then, bar the royal connection. As the bride walks up the aisle, her train can create an impact right away, lending an elegant factor to an already stunning dress.

However, the length of the train, especially in modern times, does not determine how beautiful the final dress will be. Indeed, there are many dresses with a very short train, or even none at all, that are just as exquisite as those with a five-metre length. Sweep trains, as they are called, extend less than a metre or so behind the bride. These shorter trains are far more practical for certain weddings, such as ones held on a beach. 

Come and visit Eternal Weddings' showroom and have an informal chat with one of our assistants, who will be happy to advise you on the most suitable train for you on your special day.