Hi! I'm Sarah Kolis, a custom couture wedding dress designer based in Michigan but serving the whole midwest. I love creating custom gowns and alterations for clients and I have a special love for vintage fashion. Thanks for stopping by!
In the latest episode (#8) of Dressing Up with Sarah Kolis, Sarah discussed all things bustles! Well, first things first, what is a bustle? Sarah describes a bustle as “a system sewn into your wedding dress that allows the train of your dress to be picked up in order for it not to drag behind you during your reception.” Simply put, adding a bustle to your wedding dress makes it significantly easier to bust a move on the dance floor, weave through a crowded reception, or visit with your guests! According to Sarah having your dress bustled is one of the best things you can do for yourself on your big day as the bride!
Anyone and everyone! Bustles are all about function. Nobody adds a bustle to their wedding dress because of how it looks, but rather because of how it helps YOU as the bride! Sarah recommends that all brides bustle their gowns for the functionality at the reception. Bustles on wedding dresses are pretty standard, with the exception being if you have a whole different second dress for the reception. If you have chosen to have two different dresses for your wedding, then you will not need a bustle since you’ll be making a dress switch between the ceremony and reception. However, Sarah recommends to make sure that your second dress is hemmed all the way around so you are not tripping on the train.
A bride will typically bustle their gown after they have finished bridal portraits and before they attend the reception. While a bustle is incredibly helpful and allows you to have more freedom of movement during your reception, you are not going to want to wait until AFTER your formal photos to bustle- let that train have it’s moment!
A tip from Sarah: “Decide WHEN you’re bustling BEFORE the wedding day hits! This way, whoever is going to be bustling your dress knows exactly when and where to be in order to help bustle your dress!”
Truly anyone in your bridal party could be assigned the job of bustling your gown, but Sarah always recommends choosing the person in your bridal party, a friend, or a family member that is going to be the most capable of handling this responsibility! When you’re planning your wedding, make sure to assign this job to a particular person, or a couple people is even better!
Weddings take a LOT of detailed planning to pull off, and often times brides have many friends and family members who offer to help with wedding-related tasks. While offers for help on your wedding day are great, sometimes there just aren’t enough tasks and jobs to meet the number of volunteers, and in can be tricky navigating the volunteers who really want to be involved. Enter: the bustle! This might be just the task that your aunt (who desperately wants to be involved) is perfect for! Once you’ve decided who will be doing your bustle, you should bring them along to your 2nd fitting with Sarah so that they can learn how to properly set attach the bustle.
“[Sarah Kolis] has a great eye for what bustle would be great for the dress/fabric and shape. She’s creative in the bustles and ensures that you like them before pinning them!” – Jessica, 2023 Bride
When you come in for your second fitting with Sarah, you will be shown a variety of bustle styles that Sarah thinks work best for your gown, and you’ll decide! Keep reading for a simple overview of each type.
Ballroom Bustle– A system that will sweep your train up and under your dress. Ballroom bustles are great for satin, mikado, or similar ballgowns. This bustle type also works great for super sleek and simple dresses with a shorter train!
French Bustle– A small flap-like tuck in the center of the train. Great for satin or mikado ballgowns, and can also work for crepe or mermaid style dresses!
The Over/American/Traditional Bustle– A system where the train is picked up and hooked over the dress. Works well with most dress types, and is the easiest bustle to put in place. In Sarah’s opinion the over bustle is the most sturdy, so if your plan to spend a lot of time of the dance floor, this is the bustle for you!
“[Sarah Kolis] created a bustle for my dress and it held for the entire night even with me dancing, jumping, and some of my friends accidentally stepping on it.” – Marissa, 2022 Bride
Whichever bustle you choose, you can’t go wrong! Adding a bustle to your dress will be one less thing to worry about on your wedding day and Sarah is here to help you throughout the entire alteration process! Head over to Sarah’s instagram (@sarahkolisdesigns) or listen to episode 8 of Dressing Up to dive deeper into the world of bustles!
I can’t wait to hear all about your love story and the vision you have for your big day.
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Sarah Kolis is a couture gown designer based in Detroit who serves the whole Midwest area and beyond.