Let’s talk about the most common wedding dress alteration: a bustle! Wedding dress bustles are designed to pin your train up in a way that is chic but functional. Most bustles are fastened using buttons and loops, hook and eyes, or ribbons.

To many’s surprise, no wedding gown comes with a bustle. Wedding gown designers do not include a bustle due to bride’s differing heights. A bustle is pinned after your hem length is pinned to ensure the bustle length in the back is the same as the length of the front of your hem. Depending on the style of your gown, there are a few different types of bustles your seamstress can create. Keep reading to see what bustle options may be available to discuss at your first fitting.

1. American Bustle

An American bustle, also known as an English bustle, is fastened to the outside of the gown with a series of buttons or hooks. The bustle will usually be added into the waistline or just under the hipline. This is the most common style since it allows itself to most dress silhouettes. An American bustle can have anywhere from one to nine bustle points depending on how many layers of material and how heavy your train may be.

Example of American Bustle

2. French Bustle

More traditional, a French bustle is fastened to the inside of the gown. Most times this is fastened using a series of ribbons and loops, or with a series of hook an eye closures. Most seamstresses will use different colored ribbons to help your designated bustler an easy “connect the dots” instruction on how it’s done! Once the bustle is fastened, it will create a pleated look on the outside of the gown. This style is most common with plain, satin or single-layer dresses.

Example of French Bustle

3. Ballroom Bustle

Not just for ballgowns, a Ballroom Bustle is used to create the illusion that there was no train all along. Carefully folded and fastened underneath the gown, this bustle will turn your gown into a seamless, floor length gown. This is the least common bustle, as it creates more bustle points in the long run.

Bustling Tips and Tricks

Designate a loved one to learn your bustle

As the bride who is wearing said wedding gown, it will be quite difficult to attempt bustling yourself. Bring a loved one to your final fitting that way your seamstress can show them how to bustle your gown.

Pro-tip: Have your seamstress take a video with you at your final fitting so you have a reference on the day-of. Share the video with your designated bustler or your wedding coordinator for a smoother process!

Have a Back-Up Plan

No matter how strong your seamstress makes your bustle, there is always the possibility of it breaking. This can be caused by someone stepping on your train, bustling improperly, or just the weight of the material of your gown. Plan for this! Pack an emergency kit including safety pins just in case disaster happens.

Add Bustling into Your Timeline

You may be wondering: when does the bustle go up? Typically, the bustle will need to be done before your entrance into the reception. Most brides prefer to keep their train down for photos post-ceremony. Depending on your timeline, talk to your day-of coordinator about adding time into your timeline for your bustle to be done! For example, if you plan on your first dance happening upon your introduction into the reception, be sure to have your bustle done while you’re waiting to be introduced.