How to Pick the Right Wedding Dress Bustle

What is a bustle?

In a nutshell, a wedding dress bustle is a fastener or set of fasteners attached to the back of your dress that lift your wedding gown train up off the floor in a decorative fashion. The fasteners can be loops, buttons, hooks, eyes, and ribbons. There are different styles of bustles, and all are of two main types: the under bustle and the over bustle. An over bustle is made up of one or more fasteners on the top of the train, and when fastened, the train will drape over itself. An under bustle folds the train under itself and attaches to the underside of the gown.

Why do you need a bustle?

Without a bustle your dress could be stepped on, dragged in the dirt, ripped and more. A bustle also allows you to comfortably dance the night away at your reception! If you decide to go for a bustle, it’s super important to know the different types to determine which is best for your gown. Below is a run-down of the most popular types to help you get started!

The American Bustle

This bustle is also known as the over bustle and is the most common as well as the most simple and inexpensive. It is simply secured by using one point at the base of the bodice. The one-point over bustle is on the full side and works perfectly for brides on a budget and wedding gowns made from lightweight materials.

The Ballroom Bustle

A ballroom bustle is an over bustle created by many points across the bottom of the bodice, which spread out the train of the dress and create the look of a normal skirt. If they are made well, they can make a dress look like there was no train at all! This type of bustle is the perfect choice for the bride who plans to wear a full skirt or ballgown, or gowns made with heavier fabrics.

The French Bustle

The French Bustle is an under bustle that is sewn in by attaching a series of ribbons inside the dress. This is an awesome bustle for fuller gowns and gowns of any fabric. The ribbons can be placed high or low, depending on your dress. These ties are totally hidden and tend to be more secure than over bustles. It is as lovely as it is practical.

Photo credit: Little White Dress

The Austrian Bustle

An Austrian bustle uses the excess fabric from the train to create a ruched or ruffled look. Lifting the train requires using a drawstring. Although this type of bustle is the most complex to construct, it is super easy to use. If your train fabric is more simple, such as silk crepe, this may be the bustle for you.

The Wristlet Bustle

If you aren’t a fan of the above bustles and want to go with pure simplicity, consider a wristlet bustle. This style takes the tip of the train and fastens it to a loop that goes around your wrist. It looks lovely and flowing, but keep in mind it can get a bit heavy if your fabric is on the heavier style. Not recommended for ballgowns or heavier fabrics, as you can imagine!


TIP! No matter which bustle you choose, make sure that your appointed bridesmaid or Maid of Honor is comfortable and familiar with how it works. Be sure and practice the technique before the big day!

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