Wedding Dress Bustle 101: There's More Than One Way to Tie Up Your Train...

Wedding Dresses
Wedding Dress Bustle Styles

Photo: Getty Images

Once you've chosen your dream wedding gown, there's one final decision to make. To avoid that "I have no idea what you're talking about" look when your alterations professional inevitably asks how you'd like your bustle; read on. Our Bustle 101 guide will help you find the best bustle style for your unique bridal look.

What is a bustle, anyway?
Pretty much, a bustle is a fancy word for the sewing methods used to transition a gown with a long train into something you can actually walk, and dance in comfortably. Nearly every bride needs one (with the exception of short or tea-length dresses, of course.) Super popular in the mid to late 19th century, they have come a long way since the Victorian era, but are now a staple in the world of wedding gowns. For brides who want a long, gorgeous train but want to dance the night away too, any of these varieties of bustle styles can be a dream come true.

American Wedding Dress Bustle

Photo: Courtesy of Tucker Images

American Bustle
Also known as an Over Bustle or the Ballroom Bustle, this style has several hooks scattered throughout the waistline of your dress that enables the train to be lifted up and hooked (you guessed it) 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.

Austrian Wedding Dress Bustle

Photo: Courtesy of Essence Designs

Austrian Bustle
This unique bustle style is quickly gaining in popularity and creates an eye-catching shape. Using this technique, seamstresses gather the gown fabric centrally, down the middle of the gown through the back creating a vertical illusion. 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.

French Wedding Dress Bustle

Photo: Courtesy of Castle Couture

French Bustle
Also known as the Victorian Bustle and/or an Under Bustle this style favors gowns that have a more natural waistline. This bustle technique is the reverse of the American Bustle, as hooks pick up the train of the gown as they tuck 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!)

See More: 3 Things to Remember About Your Wedding-Dress Alterations

Ballroom Wedding Dress Bustle

Photo: Courtesy of Castle Couture

Ball Room Bustle (Or a "Pick Up Bustle")
This bustle tends to transform the dress silhouette from the back, essentially making the train "disappear". Occasionally referred to as a flip-up, or flip-under, bustle and most popular for ball gowns, this style can take a train from dramatic to demure.

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