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How to Bustle Your Wedding Dress

Today on the blog, we’re talking about the most requested topic from you guys: Bustles! Brides-to-be, this blog post has everything from popular types of bustles to wedding dress depending on the silhouette and fabric. There are so many ways you can bustle your train once it’s reception time. Scroll down to learn about popular bustles and view photos of bustled wedding dresses on real brides. 

bustle wedding dress - style d2548 by essense of australia

Dress: Essense of Australia D2548, Photo: Vee Taylor, Bride: Hannah Sessions


If you bought a wedding gown from Essense of Australia, Martina Liana or Stella York, chances are it has a stunning train that you’re absolutely obsessed with. While it will look amazing for your ceremony, you’ll probably want to shorten your train for your reception to move, dance, and mingle among your guests. 

Before your gown can fit like a glove, you have the process of alterations. Part of that process is choosing which type of bustle you prefer. Wedding dresses don’t come with built-in bustles because they depend on your height, gown silhouette and fabric, and your personal style and preferences. With this in mind, your seamstress will be your number one resource for the best type of bustle for your dress. Check out our top recommendations from brides like you down below:


  • Bustle: The process of altering a gown in such a way as to lift the train, allowing the gown to function as though it doesn’t have a train
  • Bustle Point: Any point where the train is attached up to the rest of the gown. These can be buttons, hooks, ties, snaps, or any number of other things. Your seamstress will recommend what type is best for your gown and bustle!


American Bustle / Over-Bustle

bustle wedding dress - style 6817 by stella york

Dress: Stella York 6817, Photo: CMC Photography

The most versatile bustle, the American bustle (or “Over-Bustle”) consists of one or more bustle points scattered at the waist or hip line of your gown, meant to pull the train up and over the rest of the gown. It is one of the easiest and most basic bustle forms, but it looks great on many different silhouettes and styles. From voluminous ball gowns to curvy fit-and-flares to flowy chiffon sheaths, the American bustle might be perfect for your bridal look!

bustle low back wedding dress - style 6814 by stella york

Dress: Stella York 6814, Photo: Emma Bauso

TIP: For a simple, low-maintenance option, gather your train in a single point down the center of your dress. For a dramatic detailed look, try five to seven bustle points to create an incredible draped effect!

Royal Bustle / Victorian Bustle

bustle wedding dress - style 1027 by martina liana

Dress: Martina Liana 1027, Photo: Ben & Jess Photography, Bride: Sierra Maize

Elegant and vintage-inspired, the Victorian bustle is formed by gathering the train and attaching it to multiple bustle points down the back of the dress that create a beautiful fold effect. Traditionally, this style is created with ribbons at each bustle point to hide the attachment and make it appear more natural. This elaborate bustle looks best on a very full ball gown.

TIP: If you’ve always dreamed of that “Beauty and the Beast” princess gown, your seamstress can create a Victorian bustle with some beautiful pickups!

Ballroom Bustle / Train-Flip Bustle:

If you don’t love the look of a traditional bustle, we recommend the train flip bustle. This style is created by flipping the extra fabric of the train under the gown and attaching along multiple points inside the dress, as if hemming it. The end result is a no-frills illusion that your gown was always just a floor-length wedding dress all along.

TIP: Although this bustle is named the “ballroom” bustle, this style is stunning on much simpler dresses too. It looks amazing on tulle skirts that have no ornate hem detail. 

Bow Bustle

bustle wedding dress - style 6959 by stella york

Dress: Stella York 6959, Photo: Rachael James, Bride: Kayla Armstrong

The bow bustle is elegant and dramatic, perfect for gowns that have a statement bow or a sash. To achieve this look, the dress fabric is folded above the gown and secured with ties hidden underneath. This allows the fabric to pick up and flow down the skirt in a ruched fashion.

TIP: This type of wedding gown bustle is great for full skirts and tulle fabric.

French Bustle / Under-Bustle

bustle wedding dress - d3029 by essense of australia

Dress: Essense of Australia D3029; Photo: Alessandra Parks; Bride: Christina

The French bustle utilizes a fold technique with hidden fasteners beneath the skirt. The extra train fabric is folded underneath the skirt to shorten the length and create an elegant small billow in the back.

TIP: This bustle style is best for mermaid, sheath, and A-line gowns. It’s one of the easier bustle techniques, and when executed properly looks clean and simple.

bustle wedding dress - style 2988 by essense of austrslia

Dress: Essense of Australia D2988, Photo: Ike & Tash, Bride: Alisha Baldwin


Should I bustle my wedding dress?

It depends! If your dress doesn’t have a train or only has a short manageable one, you won’t need a bustle. Other wedding gowns might be constructed with a lightweight fabric that can be easily managed without a bustle. In alterations, your seamstress could attach a loop to the underside of your train that secures around your wrist. This helps your gown stay off the ground for easier management.

What are the benefits of bustling my wedding dress?

Bustling your wedding dress will protect it from getting dirty and damaged after your ceremony. It also allows you to dance and move around without tripping over your train or hauling it around. Adding a bustle will shorten the length of the back of your dress so you can move effortlessly and comfortably from ceremony to reception.

Can I bustle my own wedding dress?

Bustling a dress is a little challenging because your bustle should be customized to your perfect hem length. If you bustle your own dress, you also run the risk of tearing your fabric with misplaced pins. It’s totally worth the cost to have a professional add a bustle to your dress. 

How will I bustle my dress on my wedding day?

We recommend training someone in your bridal party on how to bustle your wedding gown so that they’re ready to help you out and have all the knowledge they need to make your bustle picture perfect. 

bustle wedding dress - style 873 by martina liana

Dress: Martina Liana 873, Photo: Maggie Conley, Bride: Michele


  1. Your number one source for all things bustles will be your alterations seamstress! They are trained with top notch insight on wedding dresses, silhouettes, fabrics, and bustle types and will be the best at bringing your bustle vision to life. 


  1. Every bustle is different for every bride! The same wedding dress might be bustled in completely different ways and techniques on two different brides, and that is totally OK. Bustles are unique to you and depend on your height, gown fabric and silhouette, and personal styling preferences. 


  1. Designate a wedding day bustler! Have your seamstress show someone in your wedding party how to bustle your gown before your big day. One less detail to worry about.

bustle wedding dress - style d2888 by essense of australia

Dress: Essense of Australia D2888, Photo: Tara Terry

Are you searching for a designer wedding gown with a statement-making train? Your dream wedding dress might be in one of our latest collections. View all of our most popular designs at Essense of Australia, Martina Liana, Stella York, and All Who Wander to find out!