How to Dance in a Wedding Dress With a Train?

You don’t have to sacrifice your dance moves for your dream dress. We’ll show you how to dance in a wedding dress with a train, so you can party all night long.

By The Zola Team

dancing with a wedding dress train
Photo by Rebecca Hicks Photography

Whether you have yet to go wedding dress shopping or have already decided on your dream dress, you don’t want to overlook this one thing: the train.

The train of your wedding dress can impact everything from how easy it is to walk down the aisle to how low you can get on the dance floor. But if your heart is set on a long train, you don’t have to sacrifice your dance moves for your dream dress or vice versa—you just need to prepare a little.

If you’ll be donning a heavy wedding dress train, we’ll show you what steps you need to take to ensure you can dance the night away in style.

How Do You Dance in a Wedding Dress With a Train? - Zola Photo Credit // Faith Photography

How to Dance in a Wedding Dress With a Train

Alter Your Dress

Before you click away, let us explain. We’re not saying the way to dance with a train is to alter it away. However, there are a few simple alterations your seamstress can make that will make it easier to dance in your wedding dress when the time comes.

Shorten the Train

If you fell in love with a dress that has an extravagant train, you don’t have to commit to its length. Your alterations expert can often easily shorten the train on your wedding gown to be more manageable (read: danceable). Take it to a seamstress who knows what she’s doing and find a train length you’re comfortable moving around in.

Add a Bustle

A bustle is the best way to alter your dress to be reception-ready without taking away from the integrity of it. Bustles come in all shapes and sizes, but are usually made up of a series of loops and buttons that connect.

Post-ceremony, your maid of honor, or another bridesmaid, will typically be the one to help you connect the dots. Once bustled, your train will cascade down the back of your dress, or be tucked neatly underneath it in a secure fashion that frees up your feet. And don’t worry: A talented seamstress with experience bustling wedding dresses will disguise the buttons and loops in the seams and beading of the wedding gown, so they’re hardly noticeable.

If you don’t want to bustle your dress, either because you don’t like the way it looks or because you don’t want to pay for the alterations, you can also add a simple loop to the end of the bridal train. You can wear the loop on your wrist to carry your train with you around the venue and on the dance floor. This style works best for dresses with short, lightweight trains, since you will, in fact, be carrying it all night.

Make the Train Detachable

Praise the wedding dress designers who first decided on detachable trains. If you opt for an attachable skirt, a Watteau, a bridal cape, or the like, you can remove the extra fabric completely post-ceremony and pre-reception. A detachable wedding train not only makes the dress easier to dance in, but also creates a whole new look. It’s as if you got a super-fashionable BOGO deal on your dream dress.

Know What Your Dress Can Do

Not all wedding dresses are created equal and some are more difficult to dance in than others. Know what your dress can do before you attempt to bust a move, so you don’t break more than the dancefloor.

Select the Right Silhouette

The silhouette impacts your ability to dance the most. For example, a mermaid gown will restrict the size of movements you can make, specifically with your feet and legs, while an off-the-shoulder gown will restrict how much you can move your arms.

If you love to dance, pay special attention to how your bridal gown will affect your moves. The dress’s silhouette, sleeves (or lack thereof), and the train length will influence your ability to dance the most. If you are planning a choreographed first dance, be sure to tell your choreographer if there are any movements you won’t be able to master based on the style and fit of your dress.

Practice

While you won’t be able to run a dress rehearsal of your first dance, unless you buck tradition and are willing to let your fiancé see you in your dress before the big day, you can still practice in it. When you’re at your final fittings, attempt any choreography you plan on doing on the day of to the best of your ability to ensure your dress can handle it. It’s better to risk popping a seam or letting a button fly when your seamstress is right there to fix it than it is on your wedding day.

It’s also important that the hemline is short enough, so you won’t be tripping over your dress on the dance floor. Take steps forward, side to side, and backward while at your fitting, both with and without a bustle, to make sure you can not only dance, but also get around in your gown. If you can’t walk with ease, have your seamstress raise the hemline up a bit.

Practicing the first dance isn’t only important before the big day. If you can, sneak away during cocktail hour, once you and your partner have already seen each other (and are married!), to practice one last time. Ditch any moves that could potentially damage the dress and remind your spouse not to step on it.

Change Your Dress

Dancing in a wedding dress can be difficult, which is a very valid excuse for an outfit change. You wouldn’t be the first bride to swap her beaded heels for Chuck Taylor’s or her ball gown for a mini dress, and you definitely won’t be the last.

Opt for a Second Reception Dress

If you’ve already fallen in love with a wedding dress that will be unforgiving when you want to walk, sit, and dance at the wedding reception, consider changing into a second dress. If the budget allows, a second dress can be your saving grace. It not only gives you the freedom to dance the night away, but also allows you to preserve the train on your original dress.

Plus, you can showcase your bridal style in more ways than one. Change into a slinky slip dress or show off your shoes in a fun fringed mini. Whatever you choose, it should be comfortable and easy to move in.

How Do You Dance in a Wedding Dress With a Train? - Zola Photo Credit // Waldorf Photographic Art

...And Change Your Shoes

You will be especially prone to stepping on your dress when taking quick or big steps while dancing, and depending on the style shoes you’re wearing, you could damage your dress. Heels can easily get caught in a lacy bridal train or layers of tulle. Say goodbye to your precious pumps in favor of wedges, platform heels, or even sneakers. That’s right, if you’re wearing a long bridal gown no one will see your feet anyway.

If you’re attached to your heels and don’t want to slip on some flat shoes for the reception, be extra careful and consider donning a petticoat underneath your dress. A petticoat can protect the inner layers of your gown from holes or snags that can happen when dancing.

And you thought you couldn’t learn how to dance in a wedding dress with a train? With a little practice, the right alterations, and a backup dress (or shoes) you’ll be swinging and swaying in style well into the night.