Bustle Advice from the Best Napa Wedding Planner

Bustle Advice from Mel – The Best Napa Wedding Planner

I feel like I’m a pretty practical girl, even if people do call me the best Napa Wedding Planner…I even have an award from Catersource Magazine that says exactly that. 🙂 But first, let me tell you a few things about me:  I have a degree in Theater/Costume Design and one thing I took with me from that whole experience was that I have to be prepared for when something will rip… or burst….. or……catch on fire. I’ve definitely applied that to weddings because Sasha has a fondness for the term “en Fuego”:).

I was at a wedding recently, and I found myself, yet again, “fixing” the bride’s bustle. It’s actually a fun challenge and it takes me back to the theater, but I realized that I am in this situation far too often. I said to myself, “Self… who is causing this chain of events that end with me under a dress all up in someone’s business?” Let’s investigate…..Here is a list of suspects:

Our first suspect is the designer. I have been looking through bridal magazines since my days at Jessica McClintock and it’s definitely all about selling the fantasy. You know, that highly stylized photo of the bride splayed out on an indecipherable pelt flanked by random wild animals and fake flowers. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. Or where the bride is peering at you coyly over her shoulder, with a look that says, “This could be you, baby”. Let me just say that these photos do not give us any bit of practical information, let alone what the dress looks like from the front. When “VW” or “ML” are designing their next gowns, I’ll bet they don’t take a step back and think, “Hmmmm, how will this dress bustle? I’d like to make a dress that’s beautiful on the dress form and practical at the party that will last from day into evening and still look good when the bride gets to the honeymoon suite.” I’m thinking, not so much. Gown designers need to get past the pretty and inject some practicality.

Second, is the seamstress that puts the bustle into the dress. I totally understand that it takes mad skills to do this kind of work, and there are people out there that do an excellent job, but there are a few things I’d like to share from the battlefield.

  1. Please account for what type of surface the bride will be on the day of the wedding. We do a lot of outdoor events and tend to be on grass a lot of the time. It just makes the bride a target for being stepped on when the train is propped up by the freshly trimmed green blades of summer grass.
  2. I’m not sure why so many of the gowns I see still have some fabric hitting the floor. Again, it’s going to get stepped on, so please pull it up to the heel of the shoe!
  3. Allover lace is heavy. Securing the train with a pickup bustle (single point) on the dress is not secure enough for both layers of fabric and will tear the underside or cause us to whipstitch a new bustle the night of the wedding.
  4. Find a system for the bustle that makes sense to a 3-year-old. Draw a diagram even. I once had to bustle a dress that had 24 points. It took me a half an hour to do it because the mother of the bride had started and gotten completely confused. It was a “train” wreck (pun intended) under there. I suggest if you do something like this, use a numbering system if you can. It’s so easy!

Last but not least is the bride. I’m sorry girls but there’s just no instruction manual out there for you on this subject. Not everyone is a seamstress, and honestly, when you’re getting your fitting done, they can pretty much put a bunch of junk in your trunk, and you won’t know if the contraption will turn out to be a lemon on the wedding day. As the best napa wedding planner, I’m here to tell you that you should definitely think about all of the items in the list above. Most importantly, good friends don’t let their friends go to their bustle fitting alone. Take SOMEONE that will be attending the wedding who can manage bustling your dress and will not get too drunk to do it. And on that note, please think about your underpinnings, cuz you never know who’ll be under your hood.

Until next time,



Sasha Souza Events is an award winning event planning company considered one of the top event design & wedding coordination companies in the US. Sasha Souza Events has offices in Napa Valley, Sonoma, San Francisco & Los Angeles