Wedding Wardrobe Change: Should You Change into a Reception Dress?

Your wedding dress is undoubtedly one of the most important and most memorable outfits you will wear. The process of finding a wedding dress can be almost as special as wearing it, too, as many brides choose to bring their best friends, sisters, future sisters-in-law and moms with them as a team of supporters while they try on different gowns. 

Some brides, however, don’t stop at just one wedding dress. It’s common for the bride to alter her appearance in some way or even undergo a full-on outfit change between the ceremony and the reception on their wedding day. The outfit change is meant to create a difference between the more traditional ceremony and the fun, upbeat party at the reception. 

If you’re thinking about making a change in your bridal jewelry and accessories or changing into a different dress between your wedding ceremony and wedding reception, you have a few options. There are also a few things you should consider before buying a second outfit. Here’s what you need to know about a potential wedding wardrobe change. 

When deciding on a potential wedding outfit change, consider these wedding day elements:

  • Budget: First of all, it’s important to be real with yourself about your wedding budget. Lay it all out on the table and organize things based on what’s paid for by someone else and what you are paying for with your personal expenses. The idea of a wedding wardrobe change might sound great to you, but is it more important than other elements of your wedding day? For some brides, it might be a choice between an outfit change and another wedding feature like late-night snacks for your guests or an additional piece of bridal jewelry. Decide what means the most to you cost-wise, and this can help you make a decision! 
  • Venue: You’ll also want to take into account where your wedding reception will be held. Depending on the atmosphere of your venue, you might feel more comfortable staying in your original wedding dress. For instance, if the reception venue is similar to or in the same location as your ceremony, you might think about staying in your original dress. If the party is going to move to a different location with a totally different vibe, you might like to create a separate look for that part of the evening. 
  • Your First Dress: Think about your wedding ceremony dress. If you feel absolutely beautiful in that dress and don’t want to take it off, then you should definitely wear it all night long! The most important thing is that you feel beautiful and comfortable throughout your entire wedding day experience. 

If your original wedding dress is large, extravagant or extremely heavy, you might consider changing into a more party-friendly ensemble for the reception. However, modern wedding dresses are pretty savvy when it comes to changing things up. Check out wedding gowns with removable skirts or two-way features that are easy to switch up without having to change into an entirely new outfit. 

In this case, it’s common for brides to switch up their accessories as well, often taking inspiration from their engagement rings. For example, brides with beautiful round engagement rings might go for a circular reception jewelry vibe by switching to sparkly hoop earrings and a few bangles to match. 

  • Location and Season: Sometimes weather can be a make-or-break situation when it comes to wedding festivities. For your wedding dress, though, it can help you decide what style of dress to wear. 

If your wedding ceremony is inside and the reception is outdoors, or vice versa, an outfit change might be appropriate. For example, if your wedding is during the summer and features a reception under the stars, you might consider changing from a full-length gown to a shorter dress with more breathable fabric. This way, you’ll be able to comfortably dance the night away even if the temperature remains warm! 

A Few Second Dress Options

If you’ve officially made the decision to include an outfit change on your wedding day, know that there are a few ways to pull it off. Any way you do it, make sure to have your wardrobe change planned out in advance with someone to help you get changed so you don’t hold up your photographers or wedding guests. Decide beforehand if you would like to have post-ceremony photos in both outfits and make sure your photographer knows the deal. 

From there, your second outfit choice is all about you and your personal style! A classic wedding wardrobe change involves changing from a long dress to a short one, though brides have pulled off midi lengths and just about everything in between. A short dress is great for dancing and showing some leg! Other popular options include bridal jumpsuits or even a more casual all-white look that is revealed just as the bride and groom hop into their getaway car. Choose what feels most true to your style and dance the night away in your reception look!