None of the hustle, all of the bustle!
The type of bustle will depend on the dress design.

You've asked and we've answered! Welcome to your weekly column 'Planning Your Happily Ever After' with wedding consultant Shikima Hinds.

There's nothing quite as spectacular as a dramatic train on a wedding dress progressing up the aisle! Come time for the reception, however, when the bride is ready to hit the dance floor, 'Houston, we have a problem' is oftentimes the cry heard from the maid of honour. Worry not, there's good news. You can have your cake and eat it too, by adding a bustle to your wedding dress.

What is a bustle?

A bustle refers to the process of transitioning a wedding gown to function as if it had no train. A series of hooks, ties, or buttons are sewn onto the train of the wedding dress to create a uniformed hemline after the ceremony and photos. They secure any extra fabric from the dress from off the ground to the back of the dress to keep it from dragging across the floor.

I recently found myself flat on the floor on two separate occasions un-bustling and re-bustling two not-so-well bustled dresses. Utterly unexpected! But the experience has taught me some wisdom; the task sometimes takes a little figuring out based on the design of the dress. The thing with bustling a dress is knowing what kind of bustle you have and remembering how to bustle it.

Here's the tricky part — you can't bustle your own wedding dress while you have it on. It's quite difficult to locate the different attachments on the back of the dress if you can't see what you're doing, and besides, you also run the risk of tearing your fabric with misplaced pinpoints.

I highly recommend training someone in your bridal party on how to bustle your wedding gown so that they're ready to help you and are armed with all the knowledge they need to make your bustle perfect. Have this designated person attend your final dress fitting to learn how to bustle and practice with the pro.

Do I need to bustle my wedding dress?

Wedding dresses don't come with built-in bustles. They are generally customised to your ideal hem length by the seamstress during your dress alterations. The bustle will depend on your height, gown silhouette and fabric, and your personal preferences.

You won't need a bustle if your dress doesn't have a train and is manageable.

An alternative to a bustle for a dress with lightweight fabric is a loop to the underside of your train that secures around your wrist. This helps your gown stay off the ground.

Types of bustles

There are two: An underbustle and an overbustle.

The Overbustle

This bustle involves gathering up the train and fastening it over the rest of the skirt, creating a cascade of folds. A seamstress can add several pick-up points to increase the drama of the bustle. This bustle is best suited for lace, chiffon or flowy dresses.

The Underbustle

This bustle tucks the train underneath the skirt, creating a tidy poof or swell of fabric. It is more suited for dresses made with heavier fabrics like satin, crepe or lace dresses that have a heavier lining. Dresses with ball gowns, A-line or fit-and-flare silhouettes should consider this bustle.

Top benefits of bustling your wedding dress

1. Protects from dirt and damage.

2. Allows ease of movement, especially for your first dance.

3. Affords a different look.

Dresses with wristbands are a good alternative to bustles.
A simpleoverbustle
An overbustle

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