There is a pretty good chance that before you started wedding planning, you didn’t know what a bustle was. There’s an even higher chance your fiancé definitely doesn’t know what a bustle is. Now that you have started wedding planning, there’s still a chance you haven’t heard the word bustle before, and I want to make sure we are on the same page first. A bustle is when the train of your dress is buttoned up to floor length before you enter your reception. There are different types of bustles out there and different ways to connect a bustle. There are some key things to know before we dive into the types though. First, your wedding dress does not come with a bustle in it, and your seamstress needs to install one with your alterations. Second, your seamstress will often make the best choice of bustle based on your dress style and material. That doesn’t mean their recommendation is your only option though. So, let’s jump right into to what the different styles of bustles are.
While looking through those, there may be some you like the look of better than others. Remember, not all bustles can be done with all dress styles. Sometimes, a specific style or material won’t work with a specific bustle. Start out your alterations appointment by asking what types of bustles are possible with your dress.
In order to install your bustle, your seamstress will choose between ribbon ties, buttons, or hooks.
Now that we know the pros and cons of each bustle installation, I also want to add that sometimes dresses need more than one type of bustle connector. If you have a dress with lots of disconnected layers, it may be necessary to do ties for the bottom layers and buttons for the top layers. I have found this works really well if you like the look of an American/bow bustle but have a really heavy train that you don’t want to risk breaking with the button installation. The American/bow look can still be achieved with the top layers of your dress because those layers are lighter weight and can easily sit on a button for the evening. Then, your heavier under layers are tied up under the dress and can’t be seen under those top layers. Still, ask for the buttons and button loops to be reinforced.
FINALLY, the last suggestion I have with your bustle is to make sure it’s all the way off the ground. I see so many bustles that still have a foot of the dress dragging behind the bride. This is really pretty and still shows the train off a little while moving around the reception, however, you are going to hate it when people KEEP stepping on your dress. If you plan to dance at all, this is going to happen a LOT because those dance floors get crowded! Not only is it annoying and jerks you back a little, but that is typically how the bustles end up breaking. The sudden force all harnessed onto that one point of contact multiple times in one evening will eventually rip that button right off your dress. Then, you’re left with 2 feet dragging behind you until the second button gets ripped off. By the end of the night, you’re having to throw your whole train over your arm to do anything, and you will be super annoyed with it.
When you have your alterations appointment, bring this up with your seamstress. So many times, the seamstress does your bustle in the easiest, prettiest way they know how, but that doesn’t always translate to a bustle that stays and works for you the whole evening. It’s probably safe to say they never see their bustles in action at a full reception. Therefore, they don’t realize that hooks NEVER stay hooked; buttons sometimes break; and ties are the everlasting gobstopper of bustles. There’s no way for them to know that so let them know these secrets, and I guarantee they will make one you think is beautiful AND stays for the whole evening!
If you’re looking for a great seamstress, I love recommending Leah with The Perfect Fit Alterations! She’s my go to girl and always does amazing work!
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