“Don’t forget that you have to bustle my dress after the ceremony.”
That was my reaction to that statement, until I went to the alterations appointment with my friend (the bride). I was the Matron of Honor at a wedding the last weekend in June and had no clue how to bustle a wedding dress. My own wedding dress was ankle length and there was no need for anything fancy like a bustle, so I was in a little bit of a panic mode.
Thankfully the lady that did the alterations to my friends dress explained exactly what I needed to do the day-of and let me take pictures to share with you. She put in two types of bustles for what’s called a combination bustle. There’s the French version and the American version so I’ll go over both.
What a wedding dress bustle is, and why you need to know how to do one if you're a 'maid:
A wedding dress bustle is when a wedding dress is hooked at the back to hold up a train of fabric. Generally this is done after the ceremony so that the dress doesn't drag. This responsibility often falls on the bridesmaids. If you don't know what you're doing the bride could end up looking ridiculous. Luckily, it's easy to get it right if you plan ahead.
I put together the American bustle first which is on the outside of the dress. At the bottom of the dresses lace there were a bunch of eyes (not eyeballs, but a little round circle like for your bra) and scattered throughout the tulle were the same number of hooks. It’s just like putting your bra on, find which hook goes with which eye and put them together. The one your bride has may be buttons instead, but it’s the same idea. Once you’ve got all of the hooks and eyes together the dress should be at least somewhat more off of the floor.
My friends dress was super full so we ended up doing a French bustle which is underneath the dress. If you feel uncomfortable getting all up in your friends business, this may not be the job for you. The French bustle consists of ribbons on two parts of the dress needing to be tied together to pull the dress up. The alterations lady labeled the ribbons for me which was pretty much the best thing ever. I didn’t have to stress if I messed anything up because I could put A with A. My friends dress only had three ties that needed to be made, but yours may have more. I’m pretty sure the hardest part of this bustle was figuring out which layer I needed to get to.
I now feel super confident that I can bustle pretty much anything which will actually probably never come in handy ever again, but oh well. Honestly ladies, I can’t stress enough how important it is to go with your friend/sister/whoever to the person doing the alterations so you see how to bustle a wedding dress and don’t freak out on the day of. And if you do need to do the French bustle, ask if the ribbons can be labeled for you because you have way too much shit on your plate the day of the wedding to be worrying about what needs to go where on the dress.