The wedding dress… one of the more important pieces of the wedding, right? You spend all this time and money finding the perfect dress only to let it get ruined at your reception from numerous people stepping on it and dragging it on the filthy, dirty ground. That doesn’t sound right, does it? An easy fix to this wedding dress nightmare is to bustle your dress at some point after the ceremony has ended. Bustling works best if you have a train on your dress. If you are wearing a shorter dress or a dress without a train, then you may not need to bustle your dress.
Dress bustling dates way back to the 1800’s, when women would wear bustles under the back of their dress to keep the skirt from dragging. The act remains the same today, but is most frequently used with wedding dresses. Very few wedding dresses actually come with a bustle. They are normally added during alterations. The bustle should lift your wedding dress to your hem length, resulting in a different and customized fit for each bride.
Let’s explore the different types of bustles out there –
American Bustle (or Overbustle)
This sounds just like you think it would be – the train is secured up on the outside of the wedding dress using a hook and eye or a button. A one-point bustle, which is better for lighter fabrics, is secured at the base of the bodice. A three-point bustle is more secure than a one-point bustle and helps spread out the train more. A three-point bustle is also good for longer trains or dresses made from a heavier fabric. The American Bustle is usually the easiest and least expensive option.
French Bustle (or Underbustle)
The French Bustle (or Underbustle) is lifted from the bottom with ribbon ties (or sometimes snap buttons) securing the dress into place with the ties being completely hidden inside the dress. This works well for wedding dresses without a waistline or that are very decorative in the back area. This is more secure than an American Bustle. Usually the ribbons ties are numbered or color coded to help match up where each point should be secured.
Although technically a variation of the American Bustle, the Ballroom Bustle creates a standout effect. This bustle is created using multiple points across the bottom of the bodice which spreads out the train and creates the look of a skirt with a pronounced backside. If this is done well, you shouldn’t be able to tell there was a train at all.
The best way to describe the Austrian Bustle is to compare it to pulling up a window shade. It is composed of a loop and pull system in which you pull a string, and the train is bunched up.
While the American and French Bustles are hands down the most popular method of bustling, the Ballroom and Austrian Bustles give an option to brides looking for a little something different. Bustles are known to break, so speak with your seamstress about the best option for your dress. Bring someone with you to your fitting so they know how to bustle your dress, whether it be your mom, bridesmaid, or wedding planner. While it’s certainly possible to figure it out on site, you certainly don’t want to waste valuable reception time trying to tie up your train.
Did you bustle your dress at your wedding? If so, what kind of bustle did you use?