Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Dress Bustles

Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Dress Bustles

Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Dress Bustles. Mobile Image

Apr 28, 2022

This week we are back with all of the wedding dress and bridal fashion advice and inspiration for you. This week is a highly requested topic from our brides: wedding dress bustles. Whether the bustle is on your wedding dress or you're a friend of the bride in charge of managing her dress bustle on the wedding day, there are always lots of questions, concerns, and confusion about the bustle of a wedding dress. Every wedding dress is unique and will have a bustle specifically designed for that gown. While we can’t offer a simple tutorial that will work for all of our brides and all of their different wedding dress designs, we are here to offer all the tips and tricks you need to know when it comes to wedding dress bustles. This is everything you need to know about a wedding dress bustle and how to prepare for it so that there are no fashion emergencies on your wedding day.


Video: What is a Wedding Dress Bustle? 


We know that many of you like your wedding planning help on video. This week’s wedding dress advice video from our Wedding Fashion Expert is all about the bustle, so you can learn all there is to know about wedding dress bustles and why they are important. 




What is a Bustle?


Let’s start at the beginning and talk about what exactly a wedding dress bustle is. First things first, a bustle is done during the wedding dress alteration process. The bustle refers to the technique or manipulation that is done to a dress, maybe through snaps, buttons, or ties, that will pull up a wedding dress' train so that the train no longer trails behind or hangs on the ground. The bustle is what will allow for your wedding dress train fabric to be gathered up, which creates a more balanced length at your dress hemline. This is especially important for brides who have a very long train on their wedding dress because all of the fabric that flows behind your wedding dress will be gathered up into the bustle.


It’s amazing to have a dramatic wedding dress train in your wedding portraits, but it’s not very practical for dancing the night away at your wedding reception. You want to be able to move freely and not worry about tripping over extra fabric or having guests step on and possibly rip your wedding dress. 


Bustles are custom done to each individual wedding dress. This is partly due to the design and aesthetic of each wedding gown, but also because the bustle is based on the length of your wedding gown. Wedding gowns can’t come with a pre-made bustle because each bride is a different height, so your bustle will be added during the alternation process once the final length of your wedding dress is determined.


Because of the custom nature of a bustle based on your individual dress length, it is important to bring your wedding shoes with you to your alterations appointments, so that your seamstress can determine the correct length of your wedding gown for you to be able to walk around freely on your wedding day. When it comes to altering the height of your wedding dress, the front of your dress will be hemmed to the correct length and then a little bit of the side as it gradually transitions to your train. From there, the train is then gathered up and that is where the bustle gets created. 


Looks Versus Functionality 

All of the different design elements of a wedding dress add to each dress needing a unique bustle. A bustle on a ball gown is going to be different than a bustle on a fitted dress. And fabric plays a role too. A different bustle will be needed for a taffeta fabric versus a tulle fabric because they all gather differently. 


Seamstresses also choose different bustles not just for looks or style, but for functionality. Some bustles could be a loop with a string that's met to it and you tie it, or it could be a loop that goes around a button, or even a hook and eye. Trust your seamstresses to choose the correct bustle for your unique wedding gown to give you the best visual look and functionality.


At Lovella, we hear from so many brides that they don’t like the look of a bustle, or they feel that it’s uncomfortable or makes their wedding dress heavy. It really comes down to personal preference to have a bustle or not on your wedding dress. 


When To Bustle Your Wedding Dress


Many of our brides ask when during the wedding day is most common to bustle their wedding dress. They often want to build time into their wedding day timeline. At the point on your wedding day when it is time to bustle your wedding dress, most often, you are already going to have all your formal portrait photographs taken. You are typically bustling at some point during the wedding reception, whether that be before you are announced into the reception or maybe after your first dance, but typically all of your staged family and wedding party photos will be captured.


At this point in the wedding day, most of your photos will be full frontal or just from the waist up. After the ceremony is over, the formal portrait stye photos are taken and you've moved on to the reception, no one will be taking photos of the back of your wedding dress. The bustle becomes pure function at this point so that you can dance and move around.


It's very important for brides to keep in mind that your wedding dress bustle may not always lay exactly in place or look incredible like it did when you were standing still in the wedding dress shop, but that’s because your wedding dress is moving. Once you start moving and dancing, the bustle may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, it will keep you comfortable and safe by not having extra fabric to trip over or have to carry around. 


When To Not Have A Bustle


Many brides ask our bridal stylists what style of wedding dress is not suited for a bustle. Do all wedding dresses get a bustle or not? If you have a super long train on your wedding dress, it is sometimes not even worth doing a bustle. In this case, we mean a really, really, really long, dramatic wedding train on your bridal gown. If there is that much fabric, a bustle is just not going to be super functional or practical for you.


If the train on your wedding dress is extra, extra-long and you aren't able to do a bustle, we suggest a second wedding dress or fun reception-style wedding dress that you can change into for dancing. If you are one of the brides that don’t like the look of a wedding dress bustle, then consider getting a second wedding dress you can change into and skip adding a bustle to your wedding dress.  


We also have other brides that are very concerned with their bustles on the wedding dress. Just remember that bustles look different on every single wedding dress. Different fabrics will drape differently and sit differently on different body heights and shapes. Many times when your wedding dress has a train, big or small, the fabric must be gathered up one way or another and sometimes there's no beautifully aesthetic and perfect way to do it. Sometimes the bustle will be just purely function and not about the look or the style. On the other hand, you can also find wedding dresses that look beautiful and aesthetically appealing with their bustle that are also functional.


Be Sure To Record


Because every bustle is different for each individual bride, we can’t offer a simple tutorial on how to bustle each wedding dress style. If you're wondering how to do your dress' bustle, we have a very simple process for learning how to do your bustle. For every bride with a wedding dress with a bustle, there is a simple solution.


We highly recommend recording a video of your seamstress or wedding dress stylist doing your bustle. Then you can share this video with your family members, bridesmaids, wedding planner, or whoever will be with you on your wedding day to help you with your dress' bustle. This is our biggest tip when it comes to wedding dress bustles! It will totally take the pressure off on your wedding day if you have this video as a backup. It also removes the pressure of needing to have someone with you at your fitting appointment too. 


If possible, we recommend that you have a friend or whoever will help you with your bustle on your wedding day with you at your alterations appointment so that they can watch and learn from the seamstress and bridal stylists. But, that's not always possible, we understand. For more on what to expect at your appointments, be sure to get our free wedding dress shopping appointment checklist

We have heard from so many brides at their wedding dress fitting appointments that they don’t need the bustle video, they’ve got it under control. And then we hear from them after the wedding day that they couldn’t figure out the bustle or it took a long time to figure out and they missed part of their cocktail hour or reception. You don’t need this added stress on your wedding day. You just want to get out onto the dance floor, so be sure to have a video to reference when your wedding dress is getting bustled on your wedding day. 


Be Prepared


A last little recommendation for you when it comes to wedding dresses and bustles is to have safety pins and a mini sewing kit on hand, just in case. We have a free and very handy wedding day attire checklist you can download so you don’t forget any little detail for your wedding day.


We often hear from brides after the wedding day that someone accidentally stepped on their train on the dance floor and the bustle ripped. A quick safety pin or sewing repair can get you back on the dance floor in no time!


If you are really worried about a malfunction, you can also have a simple dress on the side to change into as a backup plan. It doesn’t even need to be a wedding dress, it could just be a simple white dress you change into during the reception if you run into a wardrobe malfunction or you get uncomfortable in your wedding dress. 



About Lovella


If you're shopping for your perfect wedding dress, come visit us at Lovella Bridal in Glendale, CA. We carry wedding dresses in all sizes and styles, including plus-size bridal gowns and a full selection of veils and accessories. Lovella Bridal is the premier, luxury bridal wedding dress shopping boutique located in Los Angeles, California. Lovella features couture, feminine, modern and chic bridal gowns in all sizes from the best wedding dress designers. Schedule an appointment to find the wedding dress of your dreams at Lovella Bridal. We can't wait to help you!


About Wedding Fashion Expert


Our wedding dress shopping tips and advice are from Nayri, Lovella's own, in-house wedding fashion expert. Nayri is truly the expert when it comes to bridal fashion and wedding style. As the Wedding Fashion Expert, Nayri is the top bridal fashion stylist and the best-selling author of the book "I'm Getting Married And I Have Nothing To Wear," the ultimate guide to helping brides find their wedding day style and their perfect wedding dress. You can subscribe to her YouTube channel or listen to her podcast for more helpful and practical advice on wedding dress shopping.