How to Bustle a Wedding dress

How To: Bustles

First comes the dress, then comes the alterations! When you first tried on wedding dresses, you might have had some idea in your mind of what you wanted – lace, beading, train, sleeves, etc.. But before your gown can fit like a glove, you have the process of alterations, which in and of itself can be an intimidating process. Part of that process if choosing which type of bustle you prefer.

You may be surprised to learn that your wedding dress does not come with a bustle in place. Wedding gown bustles are added during the alterations process. This is because every bride is unique, and your bustle needs to be custom made to lift the back of your wedding dress to your perfect hem length.

Why bother with bustling?

Bustling your wedding dress will protect it from getting dirty and damaged after your ceremony. It also allows you to dance the night away without tripping over your train. You don’t want to haul around a huge lace train all night and have people step on it. Adding a bustle will shorten the length of the back of your dress so you can move comfortably and seamlessly from ceremony to reception.


Can I bustle my own wedding dress?

Bustling a dress is not as simple as it may sound. As mentioned above, professional seamstresses custom bustle each dress to the bride’s perfect hem length. If you bustle your own dress, you also run the risk of tearing your fabric with misplaced pins. (Trust us, it’s worth the cost to have a professional add a bustle to your wedding dress.) But if you’re determined to learn, has a great tutorial.

Popular types of wedding dress bustles.

The Over Bustle or Ballroom Bustle: Hooks and eyes, or buttons, are sewn into the dress to lift the train off the floor and over the outside of the dress. This presents an elegant “ballroom” look for full gowns and long trains.


Via Rowan Wells Photography and Amazing Day Events

The Under Bustle or French Bustle: For A-Line skirts, or skirts with intricate detailing, an under bustle is ideal. The train is gathered under the skirt with hidden ribbons, which your “helper” will tie together. It’s a good idea to ask your seamstress to label your ribbons A to A or B to B so it’s easy to match the ribbons.



via Haley Rynn Ringo

The American Bustle: This style has several hooks scattered throughout the waistline of your dress that enables the train to be lifted up and hooked  over the top of the dress itself. This style can have one, three, or even five bustle pick up points for an even more dramatic look.


via Jennifer Gold Photography


There are many styles of bustles not listed above. Talk with a seamstress about the best bustle option for the style and fabric of your gown. Have a favorite bustle not listed above? Share it with us in the comment section below.