Brides often ask me on what type of bustle they should get for their gown. This is a loaded question, because my preference is the understated French bustle, but depending on the gown and the effect one wants, than there are a myriad of things to consider.
Here's a list and descriptions of the different types of bustles out there. (Click on highlighted bold names for a photo of the bustle):
The Over Bustle: Blends the train in the gown into one seamless looking ballgown. This effect is made by putting in a row of buttons (covered) or hooks at the waist level of the gown where eyelets on the lower end of the gown can be picked up and hooked after the ceremony.
The French Bustle: Also known as the under or Victorian bustle, this little wedding gown pick up is done from underneath the gown with a series of ribbons. On the outside, it looks like a nice little understated fold in the gown that does not distract or look odd. Perfect for gowns without a waistline or a gown with an ornate back. Make sure to have your seamstress use matching colored ribbons so you can see which ribbon goes with which, it makes it easier when bustling the gown, because it's all color coded.
The Austrian Bustle: Probably the worst possible choice for today's bride, because it creates a series of hooks on the outside and makes the gown look like it's been picked up like balloon shades. This is accomplished by sewing bias tape down the back seams and running a ribbon through it or adding hooks or buttons to the back seam. Once the gown is picked up, the look is a series of tufts on the back side.
Tufted Gowns Bustle: Bustles for tufted gown can easily be disguised because the seamstress can create pick me ups that will duplicate the gowns original tufts and pick ups.
The Pick Up Bustle: The simplest of all bustles it requires one button and one matching eyelet to create a simple little lift to your gowns train.
In addition to these standard bustles, seamstresses and gown makers are becoming more and more inventive in the way they "lift it up" when it comes to the backside of your gown. So, if you are working with a designer or getting one specifically made, ask about their opinions on what type of bustle you should go with.
Hope this helps the great bustle question. Remember have your maids or planner practice the bustling of your gown. It will be far easier to do it on site if you try it before the actual day.
Photo from Roxy and Kai