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Your wedding day is finally here. Your dress is perfect and pristine as you walk into your reception venue for a much-deserved glass of champagne, slice of cake, and a night of dancing with those you love most. Here are some tips to make sure the bottom of your dress exits the reception venue as spotless as it entered.

The key? Properly bustling your dress.

Bustling only takes about three to five minutes but is so often left as an afterthought and halfheartedly done that many dresses end up unnecessarily dirty. Don’t let that be your story! Three to five minutes is a short investment for a pristine dress at the end of the night.


What is a bustle, anyway?

  • For those that may not know, a bustle is something – ribbons, buttons, hooks and eyes – installed into a dress to lift the dress up off the ground for the reception. There are even apparatuses that aid in the process, like a bustle pin, which works wonders with a tulle dress, as, when you wear tulle, there’s lots of material.
  • There are many different ways to bustle a dress, and each bustle has to make sense for that particular dress and its train. Please consult with your bridal shop about which bustle would work best – The White Room is happy to consult on this! In this consult, we’ll tell you which bustle looks most aesthetically pleasing and appealing – we always want to help you find the most elegant way to bustle your dress.
  • The two most popular types of bustles are the American bustle and the French bustle. Here’s a good article from Brides about the differences between the two.
  • When bustling with ribbons, the ribbons aren’t the slick, shiny ones you might think of – we recommend cotton twill tape. When these two ribbons get tied together, the dress isn’t going anywhere.
  • Sometimes we choose to use clear buttons, applied on the outside of the dress. The whole point of the bustle is to not know it’s there.

Why Proper Bustling Matters

  • Many times, when a dress is brought back to The White Room to be cleaned and preserved, we notice that one side is dirtier than the other at the bottom. This is often because the bustle was done better on one side than the other, and the bustle was uneven. Make sure effort is put into the entire bustle.
  • So often the bustle process is hurried through – don’t make that mistake! Do not rush it – three to five minutes of solid attention to detail can save you a handful of money later.


Our best tips and tricks for bustling

  • Before the wedding, decide who you will designate to bustle your dress at the reception site. We suggest having the Maid or Matron of Honor be in charge of the process, with the bridesmaids holding the dress up if need be (i.e., if it’s a ball gown). Mothers of the Bride are often far too stressed to do this job on the day of the wedding.
  • Your MOH should come to one of your final fittings for a bustle practice run with a professional from The White Room. Many Mothers of the Bride actually video the MOH in action and send it to her so she can refer back to it if needed.
  • The final bustling decision needs to be made before you leave your fitting – it is too late to change course when you get to your reception site.
  • During this practice run, we’ll have you twirl as if you’re dancing at your reception, wear the heel height you plan to wear, and basically simulate the actual experience of bustling at your wedding.
  • Make this a special moment between the bride and her MOH – the MOH is helping the bride preserve one of the most beautiful gowns she’ll ever wear.
  • The best time to bustle the dress is after the bride and MOH get to the reception venue, before the bride and groom are introduced. It should only take three to five minutes if the MOH is fully engaged in the process. That being said, try to do it in a private room without distractions.
  • With ribbons, it’s critical when you’re underneath the dress to bring the ribbons together – make sure you follow through in tying the butts of the ribbon together so there is no slack. If not tied properly, the train is going to be on the ground. How you’ll know you got it right is some parts of the train will still hit the floor, but will be out of the way of dancing.

We are happy to answer any and all bustling questions you have – we understand that your wedding is often the first and only time you’ll ever bustle! Let us help you – that’s what we’re here for. Also, The White Room offers the service of having your dress professionally cleaned and preserved. Just bring the dress back and we will take care of it.