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The Ultimate Guide to Bustling Your Wedding Dress

Bustled wedding dress

A wedding day is a magical event, filled with joy, love, and the creation of cherished memories. Among the myriad of details, one often overlooked aspect is bustling the wedding dress. “Bustling” refers to the process of lifting and securing the train of a wedding dress off the floor so that the bride can move comfortably during the reception. It is vital for preserving the gown’s beauty and avoiding accidents. In this article, we’ll delve into the types of bustles, the bustling process, common issues encountered, and helpful tips for a flawless wedding dress bustle.

Types of Bustles


The overbustle, also known as the “American” or “traditional” bustle, is a popular choice for brides seeking a simple yet elegant solution for their gown. This style involves attaching the train to the exterior of the dress, typically by securing a loop to a button. The overbustle creates a visually appealing fold, showcasing the gown’s beautiful details and allowing for easier movement. Suitable for a wide range of dress styles, the overbustle can be adapted to accommodate varying train lengths and fabrics.


An underbustle, or “Austrian” bustle, offers a more discreet option for bustling a wedding dress. By tucking the train under the dress itself, the underbustle creates a seamless and elegant look. This style uses ribbons, which are strategically sewn onto the interior of the gown, to gather the train in an even, horizontal fashion. The underbustle is especially fitting for dresses with intricate detailing, as it allows the ornate elements to shine without obstruction.

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French Bustle

The French bustle, or “Victorian” bustle, provides a touch of vintage charm with its distinct, multi-layered appearance. While similar to the underbustle in that it involves tucking the train beneath the dress, the French bustle sets itself apart with its series of ties or loops. These fastenings are arranged in a cascading fashion, creating a romantic and voluminous effect reminiscent of a bygone era. The French bustle works well with gowns that have a moderate to long train and lends itself to dresses with lace or ruffles.

Ballroom Bustle

For brides seeking an opulent and dramatic look, the ballroom bustle is the ultimate choice. Specifically designed for dresses with extensive trains, the ballroom bustle involves numerous points of attachment to lift the train, creating the illusion of a floor-length gown. This elegant transformation is perfect for a regal and glamorous reception entrance, ensuring that the bride’s grandeur is on full display. The ballroom bustle is best suited for gowns with substantial structure and detailing, as well as those with heavier fabrics that can support the multiple attachment points.

bustled wedding dress

Choosing the Right Bustle

Selecting the appropriate bustle for a wedding dress involves considering the gown’s style, train length, and fabric. Brides should take into account the overall aesthetic they wish to achieve, as well as their comfort and ease of movement during the reception. Consulting a professional seamstress or wedding planner for guidance on the best choice for a particular gown is highly recommended. These experts can provide invaluable advice on the most suitable bustle style, ensuring that the bride’s vision is flawlessly executed on her special day.

The Bustling Process


Before bustling the wedding dress, gather all necessary materials, including safety pins, a needle and thread, loops or ties, and any other specific items required for the chosen bustle style. Set aside ample time to practice the bustling technique, as familiarity with the process will help ensure a smooth experience and a beautiful result on the wedding day.

Understanding the Dress

Take time to study the gown’s structure, focusing on details such as seams, layers, and attachment points for the bustle. Determine the desired outcome of the bustling process, considering factors such as the overall look, comfort, and ease of movement. Familiarizing yourself with these elements will provide a clearer understanding of the steps necessary to achieve a flawless bustle.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Bustling a Wedding Dress

  • Lay the dress flat on a clean surface or have the bride wear it to assess the train’s length and flow. This will provide a better understanding of how the bustle will appear when completed.
  • Identify the attachment points for the chosen bustle style and match them with their corresponding loops or ties. If necessary, use a fabric pen or safety pins to mark these points for easy reference.
  • Starting with the center points, fasten the bustle according to the chosen style (overbustle, underbustle, French bustle, or ballroom bustle). Work your way outwards, ensuring that the attachment points are evenly spaced and secure.
  • Adjust the gathers and folds of the dress until the desired look is achieved. This may require some trial and error, so be patient and make any necessary modifications.
  • Secure any loose ends or additional points of attachment as needed, double-checking that all fastenings are firmly in place.

Tips for Ensuring a Secure Bustle

  • Use sturdy materials for attachment points, such as durable buttons, reinforced loops, or strong ribbons. This will help prevent the bustle from coming undone during the reception.
  • Double-check each fastening point for security, ensuring that all loops, ties, or buttons are fastened tightly and will not slip.
  • Enlist the help of a friend or family member during the bustling process. They can provide a second set of eyes to ensure a balanced and symmetrical result, as well as assist with securing hard-to-reach points of attachment.
  • Practice bustling the dress multiple times before the wedding day. This will build confidence in the technique and help identify any potential issues or adjustments needed.
Bride sitting in her bustled wedding dress

Common Issues with Bustling

Dress Material Difficulties

Working with delicate fabrics like chiffon or silk can present challenges when bustling a wedding dress. These materials may require special care and attention to avoid damage, such as fraying or tearing. To ensure the best outcome, consider seeking professional assistance from a seamstress or wedding planner experienced in handling such fabrics.

Poorly Placed Bustle

A poorly placed bustle can result in an unflattering silhouette, detracting from the gown’s overall appearance. Proper placement of attachment points is crucial to achieving the desired aesthetic. When attaching the bustle, make sure to evaluate the gown’s proportions and train length to ensure a balanced and visually appealing result.

Incorrectly Secured Bustle

A bustle that is not properly secured may come undone during the reception, leading to discomfort, embarrassment, or even accidents. To prevent this, make sure all attachment points are fastened securely and double-check your work. If necessary, reinforce attachment points with additional stitching or safety pins.

Tips for Avoiding and Fixing Common Issues

  • Consult a professional seamstress or wedding planner for guidance on bustling techniques. Their expertise can provide invaluable insights on the best methods for your specific gown and fabric type.
  • Practice bustling the dress several times before the wedding day. This will help you familiarize yourself with the process, identify potential challenges, and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Keep extra materials, such as safety pins, a needle and thread, and additional loops or ties, on hand for any last-minute adjustments or repairs that may be needed during the event.
  • Communicate with your bridal party or designated helper about the bustling process. Ensure they are familiar with the attachment points and style so they can assist you efficiently on the big day.
  • Take photos of the bustle during the practice sessions. These visual references can be helpful in guiding you or your helper through the bustling process on the wedding day.
Bride in bustled wedding dress

Conclusion: How to Bustle a Wedding Dress

Bustling a wedding dress is an essential aspect of preparing for the reception, as it ensures the bride’s comfort and preserves the gown’s beauty throughout the celebration. Selecting the right bustle style not only enhances the overall appearance of the dress but also allows the bride to move freely, dance, and socialize without worrying about her train. Proper bustling contributes to the overall success of the event, allowing the bride to enjoy every moment of her special day.

While the process of bustling a wedding dress may seem daunting, it is essential to remember that professional help is available. Do not hesitate to consult with a seamstress or wedding planner to ensure your gown is perfectly bustled and ready for your unforgettable celebration. Their expertise and guidance can provide invaluable support, allowing you to focus on enjoying your special day to the fullest.


Q: How do I know which type of bustle to use for my dress?

A: The type of bustle used depends on the style of the dress and personal preferences. Common types of bustles include overbustle, underbustle, French bustle, and ballroom bustle.

Q: Can I bustle my wedding dress myself, or do I need professional help?

A: While it is possible to bustle your wedding dress yourself, it is recommended to seek professional help from a seamstress or tailor to ensure that the bustle is properly secured and that the dress looks its best.

Q: Can I remove the bustle once it’s been put in place?

A: Yes, the bustle can be removed once the wedding reception is over, and the bride is ready to move around more freely without the train or back of the dress secured.

Q: Is bustling necessary for every wedding dress?

A: Not every wedding dress requires bustling. It depends on the length and style of the dress, as well as personal preferences. However, if the dress has a train or a long back that could potentially get in the way during the reception, bustling is recommended.

Q: How do I prepare my wedding dress for bustling?

A: Before bustling your wedding dress, make sure it’s clean and free of any wrinkles or creases. You should also ensure that any buttons, hooks, or loops needed for the bustle are intact and functioning properly.

Q: How long does it take to bustle a wedding dress?

A: The time it takes to bustle a wedding dress depends on the type of bustle being used and the complexity of the dress. On average, it takes between 10 to 30 minutes to properly bustle a wedding dress.

Q: Can I bustle my wedding dress if it has a long train?

A: Yes, you can still bustle a wedding dress with a long train. A French bustle or ballroom bustle is typically recommended for dresses with longer trains, as these types of bustles help distribute the weight of the train more evenly across the back of the dress.

Q: Can I reuse the bustle after the wedding?

A: Depending on the type of bustle used, it may be possible to reuse the bustle after the wedding. However, it’s important to take proper care of the dress and bustle to ensure that it remains in good condition.

Q: Can I bustle my wedding dress without damaging it?

A: Yes, it’s possible to bustle a wedding dress without damaging it. To prevent any damage, make sure to use proper techniques when lifting and securing the dress, and avoid pulling or tugging on the fabric excessively.

Q: Is bustling a wedding dress an additional cost?

A: The cost of bustling a wedding dress depends on whether you choose to do it yourself or seek professional help. If you choose to seek professional help, there may be an additional cost for the service.

Key Takeaways

  1. Bustling a wedding dress involves lifting and securing the train of the dress off the floor so that the bride can move comfortably during the reception.
  2. There are different types of bustles to choose from, including overbustle, underbustle, French bustle, and ballroom bustle. The choice depends on the style, train length, and fabric of the dress.
  3. Selecting the right bustle involves considering the gown’s style, train length, and fabric. Consulting a professional seamstress or wedding planner is recommended for guidance.
  4. The bustling process requires preparation, understanding the dress’s structure, and following step-by-step instructions for attaching the bustle.
  5. Tips for ensuring a secure bustle include using sturdy materials, double-checking attachment points, practicing bustling multiple times, and enlisting the help of a friend or family member.
  6. Common issues with bustling include difficulties with delicate fabrics, poorly placed bustles, and incorrectly secured bustles. Professional assistance and practice can help avoid and fix these issues.


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