A bustle is a gathering of the extra fabric or train on the wedding dress to keep the hem from dragging on the floor. Typically, the skirt of a gown is bustled after the ceremony so the bride can walk more easily to the reception and dance without tripping or ripping the back of the dress. If the gown has a circular hem that barely sweeps the floor then it’s probably not necessary, but with a long gown or dramatic train it’s definitely worth a conversation with your designer or seamstress.
When it comes to the type of bustle, designer Hayley Paige says that:
“Ultimately, you want something that doesn’t take away from the dress or alter the shape in the back area too drastically.”
A tie or buttons on the back will be needed in order to pull up and hold the fabric, so be sure to bring your Maid of Honor or dependable bridesmaid along to one of your final dress fittings to see how it should be bustled. You’ll need some help with this one.
Depending on the style and silhouette of your dress “it’s important to really look at the natural movement of the gown and play into the draping of the fabric,” says Paige. There are a variety of different bustle types, so choose the one that works best for you.
Also known as the Over Bustle, this style is created by lifting the train up, using buttons and loops, to the proper area on the back of the gown so the bride can walk, dance, and enjoy her reception! The length of the bustle should be the same length as the hem, making it even all the way around.
This unique bustle (a.k.a. Victorian Bustle) favors wedding dresses with natural waistlines as it’s the reverse of the American Bustle. It’s created by tying multiple ribbons underneath the gown’s train where the fabric is pulled up and tucked under for a subtle fold. Think Belle from Beauty & the Beast!