How to Bustle Your Wedding Dress 

This article is part of our Ultimate Wedding Dress Shopping Guide. 

Your dream wedding dress is finally in your hands, and now it’s time to alter it to fit like a gorgeous bridal glove! While you may be familiar with the process of hemming and taking in a dress, adding a wedding dress bustle is bound to be unfamiliar to many. Keep reading to learn about wedding dress bustle types, how to bustle a wedding gown and more! 

What is a Wedding Dress Bustle? 

First, you might be asking yourself: “what is a bustle on a wedding dress?” To bustle a wedding gown means to alter it in a way as to lift the train, allowing the gown to function as though it doesn’t have one. In simpler terms, it is a way to ensure that you can dance the night away without guests stepping on your train! You can also call the style created when bustling a dress a bustle. A bustle point is any point in the bustle where the train is attached to the rest of the gown. These can be buttons, hooks, ties, snaps or any number of other things. Your seamstress will recommend the best type for your gown silhouette and bustle! 

Popular Bustle Styles and How to Bustle Them 

American Bustle / Over-Bustle: 

The American bustle (or “over-bustle”) consists of one or more bustle points scattered at your gown’s waist or hip line, meant to pull the train up and over the rest of the gown. It is one of the easiest and most basic wedding dress bustle styles, but it’s well-loved due to its versatility. Want something low-maintenance and simplistic? Go for one single point down the center of your gown. Want to create a stunning display of your dramatic train detail? Try it with 5 or 7 bustle points to create an incredible draped look! Whether you’re rocking a full ballgown, showing off your curves in a fit-and-flare or walking down the beach in a flowy chiffon number, the American bustle in its many forms could be the right choice for you! This bustle looks great on any style of gown but will vary in appearance depending on the shape and fabric of the skirt. For example, you may bustle your train at the waistline for a ballgown but at the join line or point of flare for a mermaid or fit-and-flare.  

French Bustle / Under-Bustle: 

Reminiscent of a vintage gown, the French bustle is formed with bustle points meant to pull the train fabric up and under the gown- the opposite of the American bustle. Typically, this wedding gown bustle will be created with ribbons at each bustle point to hide the attachment and make it appear the most seamless. BONUS BUSTLE: If you’re more into that traditional “Belle from Beauty and the Beast” look, you can have your seamstress create a French bustle in the Victorian or royal style, creating multiple bustle points throughout the skirt for some beautiful pickups all over! This dramatic bustle style looks stunning on ballgowns. 

Austrian Bustle: 

While not the most well-known of the wedding dress bustles, the Austrian bustle creates a beautiful shape. This style of wedding dress bustle is more complicated to create for the seamstress but easy to bustle and involves running a ribbon through a back seam and pulling it through to create what looks like ruching. This bustle works best with gowns made of simple, unembellished fabrics. 

Train-Flip Bustle / Ballroom Bustle 

If you don’t love the look of a traditional bustle, the train flip or ballroom bustle might be for you! This bustle is created by flipping the fabric of the train under the gown and attaching it along multiple points underneath, giving the illusion that the gown was just meant to graze the floor all along and providing a bubble-hem look! This bustle is most easily used on skirts with no hem detail and typically looks best on a ballgown, although it can work with any silhouette. 

How to Bustle a Wedding Dress 

How do you Bustle a Wedding Dress with Tulle Overlay?  

Tulle wedding dresses look best with an American bustle, as a French bustle can make the train look bulky. You can also opt for a ballroom bustle as well! 

How do you Bustle a Dress with Lace Overlay? 

A dress with a lace overlay can be bustled in any style, depending on the silhouette of the wedding dress. One thing to take note of is if your gown has a lace border around the hem and train that you want to show off, avoid a train flip bustle. 

How do you Bustle a Dress with Buttons? 

We love a wedding dress with buttons down the back, but this classic detail can make executing certain wedding dress bustle styles more difficult. We recommend sticking to an American or French-style bustle. 

When Should you Bustle Your Wedding Dress? How Long Does it Take to Bustle a Wedding Dress? 

A train is typically bustled after the ceremony and your photos, right before the reception begins. Bustling your gown should take only a few minutes! We recommend bringing a bridesmaid to your fitting to learn how to bustle your dress. Taking videos of the seamstress doing the bustle can also be helpful to serve as a reminder in case your bridesmaid needs to remember a step or two.  

Is it Difficult to Walk or Sit in a Bustled Wedding Dress? 

It definitely shouldn’t be! The point of having a bustle is to make movement easier. Your seamstress will be your best resource for choosing the ideal bustle option for your silhouette and train style so you feel comfortable throughout the night. Bustles can break even if your seamstress does their best work, so be prepared with some emergency safety pins, needles and fishing line or thread. 

How Much Does Getting a Bustle Cost? 

While the cost of a wedding dress bustle can vary depending on how many bustle points are needed and how complicated the train of your wedding dress is, the average is between $75 and $250. Make sure to factor the cost of a bustle into your budget! 

What are Some Alternatives to Bustling Your Wedding Dress? 

Not loving the idea of having to bustle a wedding dress? There are many wedding dress bustle alternatives to choose from! If you love the idea of a long train, you can have your wedding dress hemmed to be floor length and opt for a detachable train, cape or an overskirt for the ceremony. Simply detach it for the reception so you can dance the night away! You can also opt for a second look, like a gown that is floor length all around or a cute jumpsuit, pantsuit or midi or mini dress. 

Are you ready to find the wedding dress of your dreams? Learn more about our designers, then find a True Society location nearest to you and book a bridal appointment. Our passionate team of bridal stylists, the True Crew, can’t wait to meet you! Availability varies per store.  

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