I got a great question (actually several questions) regarding wedding dress trains from a current client whose wedding is coming up in July. She is about to get her dress altered and was trying to decide if she should keep the train on her dress. I thought I would share my answers here and hopefully for anyone out there who is trying to figure out if they should have a dress with a train, this at least helps shed a little insight into the matter…. I amended my answers from her email to make them slightly more generic and less specific to her situation, but other than that these are basically the answers I gave her.
1. Are trains a big pain to manage when in grassy areas?
Personally, I don’t think trains are that big of a deal, though some can be easier to bustle than others. It’s really an issue of how comfortable YOU are with a longer train. If you’ll be overly concerned with it getting dirty then it might just be better to forgo the train altogether if you’re gonna be shooting in areas with tall grass, sand, dirt, etc etc. As for walking though, generally brides just gather the train in one arm and hold it up while they walk. Or they enlist their new husband for the job since his hands are generally empty during photo time. It’s not a huge deal.
2. Do brides typically need someone with them during photos to help with the train, or is this something you typically help with?
Great question! No. And in fact, I’d rather you not have someone come with you. First off, when we’re shooting the two of you, I want you guys totally focused on each other and not on the fact that we’re taking pictures of you. I’ve found that helpers, while they always have the very best of intentions, can sometimes make you feel self conscious which is the very last thing we want. Further, while obviously we will do a few “full body” type shots, a lot of the images of the two of you will be rather close in (so nobody can see your train anyways) and I’ve found that “helpers” can sometimes be kinda obsessed with always making sure the train is neatly laid on the ground, even when it won’t show in the photograph and it kinda wastes time. For the full body shots where we need it to look nice, it’s easy enough for myself or even for the groom to help with it.
3. Does a train add to the photos?
This is subjective. Some people love ‘em and others could totally care less. Every year I have some brides who wear dresses that have a huge honkin’ train and then others whose dress barely touches the ground. Both look great. Does having a train really “add to the photos” though? My own personal opinion?… no. Not really. But the photos aren’t for me. They’re for you, and if you really like the look of having a longer train, then by all means you should have one. The decision is all about what you want and what you think will look good! :)
4. Any train-wrecks you’ve seen that would sway me against it?
I haven’t seen any huge “train-wrecks”… If we’re shooting out in the grass, it’s just gonna be somewhat of a given that the train IS going to get a little dirty. For some people they totally don’t care… for others, it’s a much bigger deal. You’re almost certainly going to bustle the dress before the reception which will hide the majority of any dirt or grass stains. But no, I haven’t seen any huge epic train “fails” that are YouTube worthy or anything like that. I’m sure there are stories out there, but in general I think having a train ultimately is a personal decision and less a strategical one.