Should You Buy a Reception Dress?

See if this bridal trend is right for you.

As weddings become both more extravagant and more personalized, the idea of a second bridal gown for the reception has become quite popular. Some brides choose to change purely for the drama of a new entrance, and others just couldn’t decide on only one dress. However, there are plenty of practical reasons brides might feel they need two dresses. 

when you should get a reception dress, when you need a second wedding dress
Photo by Jose Villa Photography; Planning & Design by Mindy Weiss Party Consultants

If you are having a church wedding, you might have modesty requirements (such as covered shoulders) to keep in mind. Even if it’s not required, per se, plenty of women would feel uncomfortable bearing a lot of cleavage in a house of worship. Now, of course there’s nothing wrong with having a more modest gown for the whole day, but some brides might prefer to be sweet for the ceremony and sexy for the reception. 

In fact, even without having your nuptials in a church, you may find that you’ve always dreamt of a ball gown in order to feel like a princess on the big day. This particular look is magical for the vow exchange, but in some cases can make dancing the night away rather difficult. We recommend leaving the original gown on for the first dance – and maybe even the father-daughter dance – before changing into something more comfortable. Unless, of course, you cannot sit down in your gown or the corset is too tight to enjoy your meal – then have both dances at the start of the reception and slip away to put on your second dress while dinner is served. 

Perhaps your mom or grandmother has spoken about how much she’d like to see you wear her wedding dress. If you want to take part in the touching gesture, but still want to showcase your own style, wearing your loved one’s gown for the ceremony and another dress for the reception could be the perfect way to marry both options. In fact, depending on the era your relative got married, they may have a mini frock that is more befitting of the reception or after-party. Just be sure to have portraits taken in both ensembles.

Learn about the logistics that go into changing into a second gown and discover the pros and cons of having more than one dress for your wedding.

Authored by: Emily Lasnier