Home » The Top 5 Wedding Dress Bustle Types Every Bride Should Know

The Top 5 Wedding Dress Bustle Types Every Bride Should Know

by Staff

Congratulations, you’ve found your dream wedding dress! While the hardest part might be over, there are some additional details you now have to attend to, such as alterations and fittings, finding the ideal veil, and figuring out the exact science of bustling. By definition, a bustle refers to the process of altering a wedding gown to function as if it had no train, via the process of fastening the train to the rest of the dress. “Bustle” can also function as a noun and refer to the style once it’s sewn into the gown.

Though the process of bustling may sound easy to manage, it does come with a few challenges, especially since there are several wedding dress bustle types to consider. That’s why it’s best to familiarize yourself with these various styles before heading into your first fitting and speaking to your seamstress.

Interested in learning more? Ahead, we break down the top five wedding dress bustle types every bride should know. Plus, we share a few tips on how to execute a picture-perfect bustle on your big day. Read on for more.

The 5 Most Common Wedding Dress Bustle Types

Unless your dress is short or tea-length, you’re likely going to need a bustle in order to dance and move around comfortably during your reception. Most wedding dresses come without bustles, however, so you’ll need to work with your seamstress to find the right style and fit to suit your gown. Unsure of which bustle is right for you? Here, we explain five of the most common wedding dress bustle styles to consider for your big day.

American Bustle or Over Bustle

An American bustle (also known as an over bustle) has several hooks scattered throughout the waistline of your dress that enable 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.

Good bustle style for ball gowns.

Ballroom Bustle

This style tends to transform a dress silhouette from the back, essentially making the train disappear. With a ballroom bustle, it doesn’t look like the dress has been bustled, but rather gives the illusion that it was a floor-length gown all along. To create this look, multiple bustle points are sewn around the bodice, and the fabric folds into itself delicately. This style, however, is typically the most expensive given that more bustle points need to be sewn in.

Good bustle style for ball gowns.

Austrian Bustle

This unique bustle style is quickly gaining popularity and creates an eye-catching shape. To achieve this style, a seamstress will gather the gown fabric centrally, down the middle of the gown, and through the back, creating a vertical illusion similar to ruching. Another benefit of this style? It’s particularly easy for bridesmaids to help get things in place for you.

Good bustle style for gowns with intricate detailing.

Train-Flip Bustle

Like the ballroom bustle, this style gives the illusion of no bustle at all. In this style, though, the train of the dress flips under the fabric and is pinned into itself, once again giving the illusion of a floor-length gown (with an even fuller bottom, thanks to the extra fabric attached underneath).

Good bustle style for ball gowns.

French Bustle, Victorian Bustle, or Under Bustle

A French bustle (also known as a Victorian bustle or under bustle) favors gowns that have a more natural waistline. This technique is the reverse of the American bustle, as hooks pick up the train of the gown as they tuck it under the silhouette itself. Often, ribbons are attached to connect and secure the fabric and can have numerous pick-up points for extra flair. (Think Belle, from Beauty and the Beast)

Good bustle style for A-line dresses or mermaid dresses.

By sewing ribbons through the back seam of the gown, it can be pulled to secure both sides together, as an alternative to over or under.

Tips for Bustling Your Wedding Dress on the Big Day

Ahead, discover the best tips on how to bustle your wedding dress for a comfortable and enjoyable reception experience.

Ensure someone knows how to bustle your dress.

Once you’re in your wedding dress, it’s nearly impossible to effectively put the bustle in place yourself. That’s why it’s important for you to enlist the help of your maid of honor, a bridesmaid, your mom, or your mother-in-law when bustling your gown. With that in mind, whoever you choose will need to come with you to your final fitting to learn how to bustle your dress directly from your seamstress. Even if they’ve bustled a dress before, every wedding dress is different, so learning from an expert is essential and required.

Know that bustles can break.

No matter how carefully your seamstress stitches your bustle, there’s always a possibility that it can break during your reception. Wedding dresses can be very heavy, and you’re relying on a few delicate bustle points to hold the whole operation in place while dancing, walking, and mingling. The solution? Prepare for the worst-case scenario by having safety pins, a sewing needle, and a clear fishing line on hand in the bridal suite. More specifically, if your wedding dress is bustled with ribbons and one of them comes loose, a bridesmaid should be prepped to sew the ribbon back into the dress with the clear fishing line. If the problem is more complicated, you can pin the dress together at the broken bustle point with an oversized safety pin.

Don’t forget to budget for your bustle.

Wedding dress bustles don’t come cheap, and the final price will depend on how many bustle points and what type of bustle you need. The cost of adding a bustle to your wedding dress ranges between $75 to $250 on average, so don’t forget to add that cost to your overall wedding dress budget.


  • Brides will typically bustle their dresses after the ceremony and before the reception, though some opt to leave their train flowing for the first dance.

  • Bustling a wedding dress shouldn’t take longer than a couple of minutes, depending on your helper’s familiarity with the process. This is why it’s important for them to attend at least one fitting with you to understand the technique and reduce any fumbling time on the wedding day.

  • Bustles are intended to add to your comfort and mobility, not impede it. A professionally executed bustle is created to fit your body and the natural fall of the wedding dress, so it shouldn’t be any more constricting than the silhouette’s own design.

You may also like