Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Dress Bustles

Dec 14, 2022

When it comes to your wedding dress, we want it to be absolutely perfect for you — from the time that you say “yes” until the end of your reception! Part of this includes your alterations and bustle!

Now, let’s go through what exactly a bustle is and what your options are. We know that it can be overwhelming so we’re here to help!

What is a Wedding Dress Bustle?

A wedding dress bustle is the process of transitioning a wedding dress to function as if it has no train. It is done by using buttons, hooks, or ribbons to put the train up and away from the floor.

While your seamstress is perfecting your dress to make sure that it fits you like a glove, they will also most likely add a bustle. This will make it easier to walk and dance after the ceremony!

Does my Dress Need a Bustle?

Almost every traditional wedding dress needs a bustle. If you don’t have one, then your train is going to be stepped on all night long! Or, you’ll be tripping over it.

If your dress is short or has a very short train, then you may not need one. Or, another option is to have your seamstress add a loop underneath the train to have around your wrist to lift the train up! 

When it comes down to it, you’re most likely going to want a bustle if your dress has a train. However, some brides absolutely hate the idea of a bustle. And that’s okay! This is your gown — if you absolutely do not want one, then you don’t have to have one!

What Types of Bustles are There?

There are numerous types of bustles that could be done on your wedding dress. We are going to go over the two most common/popular, but keep in mind that there are other options out there!

Over-Bustle (aka American bustle)

An American bustle has multiple hooks, either throughout the dress’s skirt or the waistline. These allow the train to be lifted up and hooked on top of the dress!

With this type of bustle, you can have one, three, or five pick-up points. The more that you have, the more dramatic of a look it will be! However, it will also be more expensive.

Under-bustle (aka French bustle)

A French bustle is the opposite of an American bustle. This has hooks that pick up the train to tuck it underneath the gown. 

Typically, ribbons are attached to connect and secure the fabric. This can have numerous pick-up points for extra flair — if you want to look super princess-y, If you want to have a super dramatic bustle, this might be the one for you! This bustle favors gowns that have more of a natural waistline.

Which Bustle Should I Use For My Dress?

Your best bet is to talk to your seamstress! She’ll be able to figure out what is right for you depending on your wants, the dress fabric, and your height.

Additional Tips For Bustling

Here are some additional tips for bustling your wedding gown!

Bring someone with you to your final dress fitting

In between the ceremony and reception, you will be IN your dress already. So, it will be pretty impossible to do the bustle by yourself! Choose someone that you trust — your maid of honor, mom, or mother-in-law, to take care of bustling your dress for you. Whomever you choose, make sure that they come to your final dress fitting! This way, they can learn from the seamstress how to bustle the dress. They can ask questions and even take a video of her bustling your dress!

Don’t choose a bustle that you don’t like

If you absolutely hate the bustle that your seamstress is recommending, please speak up! There is likely going to be another option for you, even if you end up deciding not to have a bustle at all. You should absolutely love your gown from the beginning of the ceremony to the end of the reception!

Keep your budget in mind

Don’t forget about your alterations budget! Keep in mind that the more dramatic the bustle, the more money it will cost. Don’t forget to factor these costs into your overall dress budget!