• 05/23/2023

Should Every Bride Have a Reception Dress?

Dresses hanging up in a wedding dress shop.

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You might have seen brides enter their celebration in a different dress than the one they wore to their ceremony and wondered the reasoning behind it. While it’s not traditional, many brides choose a separate look for their reception. It can be freeing and fun, so should every bride have a reception dress?

What’s the Point of a Bride Having a Reception Dress?

It might seem odd to get two dresses for one occasion, but a wedding is actually two separate events: the ceremony and the celebration. It feels fantastic to wear a beautiful gown because you probably don’t usually get the chance to, but that feeling can turn into overthinking once you’re celebrating.

Champagne, wedding cake and dancing can mess up a dress if a bride isn’t careful. Instead of thinking about keeping their dress white all night, many brides opt for a reception dress so they can have fun and let loose for the rest of the evening. 

It even makes sense budget-wise, considering the second dress doesn’t have to be grand or white. Often, the entire point of getting one is to wear something less formal and more freeing, so they aren’t usually as fancy.

Does It Have to Be White?

While many brides typically wear white to their ceremony because it’s tradition, there aren’t any rules about the after-party. Truth be told, you can wear whatever you want to your reception. A second dress gives brides the perfect opportunity to experiment with color and style because they can switch to it later in the evening after photos.

There are also plenty of colors to choose from that fit into the aesthetic of a formal event. For example, blue represents femininity, innocence and peace. While you may not want to commit to color with your ceremony dress, it can be nice to treat yourself to something more fun. For example, the SAUKOLE ruffle strapless dress comes in a soft blue that’s great for a chic and inexpensive outfit change. You can have a second white dress if you want to stay on theme and be instantly recognizable as the bride, but it’s also totally okay to deviate and wear something colorful.

When Should You Change?

Planning takes place far in advance and weddings are typically on tight schedules to keep everything running smoothly. Brides make it look effortless, but finding a second to simply sit and breathe can be challenging. While you may be worried about squeezing in time to change into your second look, it actually gives you an excuse to take some time for yourself.

Try to plan ahead to have 10 or 15 minutes to get out of your first look and into your new one after your ceremony. You can change any time you want, but this is the best time if you’re switching for comfort reasons. Your guests will be fine since they’ll likely still be filtering into the venue and admiring it. It’ll also allow you to spend a few moments alone or with your partner, which can be valuable considering you’ll spend the rest of the night with guests.

What Are the Benefits of a Reception Dress?

There are actually plenty of benefits for a bride with a reception dress, with most revolving around the freedom it gives you during the celebration. 

You should consider wearing a different dress to your reception because:

  • It gives you some freedom. Your first dress might be elegant and beautiful, but your second option can put function over form so you can dance your heart away all night.
  • It protects your original dress. An alternative reception dress protects your original from any mishaps so you can enjoy your night.
  • It’s more relaxed. A bride has a reception dress typically to match the party atmosphere of the second half of the night. A fancier look matches the formality of the wedding, but a more relaxed outfit can be perfect for a night of dancing and celebration.
  • It gives you a moment to yourself. You would have to step away to change at some point, which means you get a moment all to yourself. 
  • It lets you express yourself. You can wear whatever you want for your reception because social expectations aren’t as strict. Brides often experiment with colors, designs and styles they wouldn’t necessarily wear for their ceremony. 
  • It gives you better photo opportunities. You don’t hire a professional photographer every day, so having a second outfit to take pictures in can be nice. 
  • It lets you show off your shoes. Since traditional wedding dresses are long, white folds of fabric often hide the bride’s shoes. Since short dresses are trendy, you can feel comfortable showing off your cute wedding shoes.
  • It allows you to let loose. Many wedding dresses are white, meaning they stain easily. With a second dress, you can eat and drink without a care in the world because your original is safe. 

After months of planning and preparing for the perfect wedding, brides should be able to relax completely during their big day. A second look is an excellent choice if you want to preserve your original for future generations or shove cake on your partner’s nose without worrying about getting any on your dress. 

Do You Have to Get a Second Dress?

Although it comes with a lot of benefits, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with your original. After all, how many occasions will you get to wear it again? Modern dresses are also more comfortable, so you’ll feel fine wearing them all night. That being said, you still have options if you want a second look but are stuck on the idea of having more than one dress.

Since having separate looks for the ceremony and celebration is becoming more popular, more shops offer styles that accommodate that. For example, the Sachin & Babi Poppy jumpsuit set has a detachable skirt you can easily remove when it’s time to change. Options like that are budget-friendly because you only have to get one dress for your wedding. 

Is a Reception Dress the Right Choice for You?

While reception dresses can be a great choice, sticking with your original is okay. A dress handpicked for the reception may be more comfortable, but it’s ultimately your decision. Your wedding is all about you, so wear whatever makes you happiest.

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