Wedding Dress Bustle Types

Did you know that there are different wedding dress bustle types to choose from? Read on to learn about the differences.

By Jane Chertoff

Wedding Dress Bustle Types
Photo by Flavio Studios

The First Look ✨

  • Bustles are sewn into the dress to secure and keep the train off the ground, usually with buttons, loops, and/or ties.
  • There are a few different styles of bustles, such as the ballroom or French bustle.
  • No matter which bustle your dress has, make sure that your designated bridesmaid or MOH is familiar with it and practices before the big day

Once you’ve zeroed in on the perfect wedding dress, you can probably list all the fabulous details about it in your sleep: strapless, sweetheart neckline, fitted mermaid, Chantilly lace, check, check, check. But, quick bonus round: Do you know which type of bustle your dream dress has? Did you even know that there are different wedding dress bustle types?

Wedding dresses have different types of bustles, depending on their design and style. If you don’t know which type your dress has, no worries. Follow the guide below to learn more about the different wedding dress bustle types and how they work. (And, note that you can always check in with your bridal boutique or online retailer and ask them about your style and how to bustle your wedding dress, if you aren’t sure.)

What’s a Wedding Dress Bustle, and How Does It Work?

Wedding Dress Bustle Types Photo Credit // Kaleb Fulton Photography

Wedding dresses usually have a train on the back so that you can make a show-stopping walk down the aisle. Sometimes the train is extra long, ala Kate Middleton. Other times, it may be less obvious. In either case, you’re going to want to pin your train up on your wedding gown post-ceremony. That way, you can mingle and dance to your heart’s content without getting your dress dirty or worry about tripping over it (or having a guest trip, yikes) while you’re out there enjoying your reception. That’s where a bustle comes in.

Bustles are sewn into the wedding gown to pull the train off the ground, usually with buttons, loops, and/or ties. There are a few different types of bustles, listed below.

The Ballroom Bustle

The most seamless (and potentially most complicated for your MOH to master) is the ballroom bustle. With a ballroom bustle, the train is completely hidden and the dress folds into itself. The dress will remain floor-length, too. With this type of bustle, there are multiple attachments sewn around the bodice that the train will hook onto (or tie or button, depending on your dress.) The ballroom bustle can be tricky (especially after a few pre-ceremony drinks), so make sure that your MOH, or whoever will be in charge, attends the fitting for a tutorial.

The French (Under) Bustle

The French bustle style is sometimes called the under bustle because, as the name implies, the train folds underneath the silhouette of the dress. The fabric will fold in with this type of bustle. To attach a French bustle, there are usually ribbons under the train that are numbered or color-coded. Your MOH or designated bustle-er will tie or hook them to the designated matching points under the dress. With this style, there may be multiple points where they attach to for a dramatic effect, making this bustle style a bit tougher to get the hang of.

The American (Traditional) Bustle

With the American or traditional bustle, the train is lifted and hooked over the back of the dress. This look adds a bit of lift or cascade effect in the back of your dress that looks really fun in photos. It’s also easy to attach to a wedding gown. There are usually loops on the hem of the train that attach onto buttons along the waistline or along multiple points of the exterior dress for a bit more lift.

The Bow Bustle

If your dress has a dramatic bow or sash in the back, you’re probably looking at a bow bustle. Here, the train is tucked underneath the bow, so all your MOH has to do is lift and fold the fabric and secure it underneath the bow.

The Austrian Bustle

An Austrian bustle uses the excess fabric from the train to create a ruched look. This is usually really simple for your MOH to bustle when it’s time. All she has to do is look for the ribbon or cord running down the middle of the train and pull on it, similar to pulling a drawstring. This is then tied up at the designated point, usually along the center back seam of the dress.

Tips for Bustling a Wedding Dress

Wedding Dress Bustle Types Photo Credit // Robert Godridge Photography

Whatever style bustle your dress has, be sure to familiarize yourself with it before your big day.

  • Designate your MOH or another bridesmaid as your wedding dress bustle expert. On the big day, she will be in charge, so make sure that she can attend at least one fitting with you to practice in person (and take notes, if needed, from the seamstress.)
  • Every dress has a type of bustle that will work best. If you aren’t sure, work with a seamstress who is familiar with wedding dresses and can sew in the appropriate bustle for your dress.
  • Take most of your family and posed photos before your dress is bustled, so that your train is shown off in all its glory.
  • If you plan on dancing the night away, you may want to ask your seamstress to install extra loops or buttons to ensure that the bustle stays secure throughout the entire event.

Still don't know what bustle type is right for you on your wedding day? Don't worry! A seamstress can help recommend the best bustle option for your unique wedding gown. Whether you have a long train or a regal ball gown, your seamstress will have no problems in pulling back that extra fabric. However, as the bride, don't spend too much time worrying about your wedding dress bustle. Remember, it's your wedding day. Enjoy the love you will receive on this very special occasion and everything else will fall into place.

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