Pros and Cons: Wearing Two Wedding Dresses or Multiple Wedding Dresses

The perks and drawbacks of changing dresses after your ceremony... maybe more than once.

We’ve outlined both sides of the argument to bring you a list of the pros and cons of this opulent two-dress fad for wedding gowns. Find out which option is right for you!

bride with long hair curls and tiara getting wedding dress off of hanger bridal suite
Photo: Milanés Photography

Riding the line between innovation and tradition has become a staple of the modern day, 21st-century wedding. Some forms of traditional wedding etiquette have been replaced with more modern ways of doing things – from some couples sending out digital invites to others sending out traditional paper invitations but asking for RSVPs to come in via a wedding website instead of a postmarked envelope. Modern weddings have also transformed the traditional concept of saying "I do" in a wedding dress to having the opportunity to have not one, but two wedding dresses – and sometimes even multiple bridal gowns, a wedding dress for the ceremony and two dresses for the reception (one reception dress and a second dress for the after-party, for example).

When this trend first started to become fashionable, some guests may have thought a second dress to be an extravagant detail; however, as more and more brides wear two dresses on their wedding day, it's becoming more than a trend and instead a choice a bride must make leading up to her wedding day. Experts have debated back and forth about the potential merits and disadvantages of this trend of wearing two wedding dresses, so we’ve outlined both sides of the argument to bring you a list of the pros and cons of this opulent two-dress fad for wedding gowns. Take a look at the pros and cons of a bride wearing two or more wedding dresses below!

Pros of Wearing Two+ Wedding Dresses

No compromises on your wedding-dress style.

If you’re looking to wear a classic, conservative wedding dress for your church ceremony but you want a sexy, revealing wedding gown for your lively reception, good news: you can do both! Changing wedding dresses after the “I dos” and before the wedding toasts first became en vogue because brides wanted to honor their religious beliefs and feel like themselves on their big day.

You don't have to consider the weather as much.

Similar to the dress style versatility, donning a two wedding dresses affords you the luxury of going from indoors to outdoors, cold to warm, dry to humid relatively quickly. Putting on a dance floor-friendly dress after feeling somewhat restricted in a ceremony gown is a feeling unmatched by nearly any other. If you want a long-sleeve ball gown for an outdoor ceremony and a sleeveless style for an indoor dance-heavy reception, you're going to need two wedding dresses!

A show-stopping outfit change.

If we’ve learned anything from Broadway musicals, it’s that quick changes are undisputed crowd-pleasers. While thinking of your wedding as a performance isn’t always the best scenario, there’s no denying you want to entertain your loved ones on the big day. Of course, some people won’t even realize you’ve switched ensembles, but when you have a flair for the dramatic, all the world’s a stage.

Cons of Wearing Two+ Wedding Dresses

Financial compromises.

This comes as no surprise: two dresses are more expensive than one dress. There’s always a possibility you’ll need to rearrange your wedding budget allocation in order to make the second (or third) wedding dress a viable option. You may need to make a decision between the extra hand-laced masterpiece and the beautiful charger plates you've been eyeing, but if that's okay with you and your spouse-to-be, by all means increase your dress budget to do something you'll love.

Time allotted.

A wedding timeline can be quite intricate, so make sure you let your wedding planner know to pencil in extra time to make the change from your ceremony dress to your reception dress. If you want formal wedding photos of both gowns, you'll also need to factor in time for this. With all of these new things to consider, you’ll likely take time away from pictures, cocktails, or a quiet moment alone with your new spouse. Not to mention the complications that come with taking off one wedding dress and putting on another; your bridesmaids will need to train with your intricate bodices for twice as long.

The cynics.

As with most matrimonial elements that stray from wedding tradition, you’re going to find some naysayers amongst your guests – and maybe even your partner. More than likely, you’ll encounter a few purists that strongly believe in the idea of “The Dress,” – similar to “The One,” as in, “The Only One.” It’s true what they say: you can’t please everyone.

If you’re considering a bridal gown transformation or two, make sure you weigh the factors: financial, climatic, and theatrical alike. For the bride who is on the fence about changing her wedding dress between events but likes the idea of having a different look for the reception, it's very popular to wear an overskirt or bolero for the ceremony, and then remove the accessory for the reception or after-party. As with every piece of wedding advice we provide, we want to encourage brides to make decisions that they won't regret after the wedding is over – be true to yourself, your spouse, and yourselves as a couple, and you'll have everything you could have dreamed of and the very best wedding day.

For more inspiration, view wedding dresses worn by real brides in our photo galleries.