Changing Your Wedding Dress at the Reception

Bride in short dress on couch

The gown you choose to wear for your wedding ceremony will be absolutely gorgeous of course, but what if you want to change it up for your reception? What would be the benefit of doing that? Here are some reasons you might choose to switch out your outfit for the reception.

Showcase an Additional Dress

When you were wedding dress shopping, if more than one dress caught your eye, changing at the reception might be the perfect excuse to showcase both dresses, especially if they differ in style and type. If you have it in your budget to wear two separate, full-out wedding gowns, changing at the reception is a perfect option for you! You might also want to wear a wedding gown that’s been passed down in your family, but weren’t sure how to incorporate it. This is especially wonderful if you had a hard time deciding upon what dress to choose in the first place — so why not both?

Transforming Dress

What if, for the reception, you’d just like to change a bit of your dress to add some extra flair? Why not choose a transforming dress for the reception? This way you can still change up your look for the second half of your wedding day, but without the price tag and potential hassle of a whole separate dress for the occasion. Some dresses are have a detachable top shrug piece or even a skirt that can be removed to give your reception outfit a sassier, more party-ready look.

Bride and groom running together on the beach

Photo Options

One benefit of changing at the reception is that you’re also able to get a variety of looks in your photos for the day! Some brides choose to not only change their gown from the ceremony to the reception, but also their hair and makeup as well – maybe a classy updo with the full gown at the ceremony and a more free-flowing hairstyle with the less-fancy reception dress. However you choose to do the details, changing at the reception gives you the opportunity to not only showcase another dress look to your guests, but in your future photo albums and wedding video as well.

Traditional for the Ceremony, Sassy for the Reception

Especially in the cases of religious ceremonies, there may be specific expectations placed upon the gown you actually get married in. Many churches and other places of worship require shoulders to be covered, or a certain length of skirt for the bride’s attire. This means that your dress options would be limited to gowns that are appropriate for those settings. And if your personal style doesn’t align with those options, you might feel frustrated by your dress choices. Changing at the reception means that you’re able to honor and respect those traditional expectations while still being able to celebrate your wedding in a gown that you really feel represents you and your personal style. This might be especially applicable if your favorite gown is a little more revealing than the venue would prefer, or has a fit (like a mermaid style) that may be tighter than a traditional ceremony location might find respectful. It’s your wedding, so you should wear whatever you love the most, but making the change from ceremony to reception gives you the opportunity to respect both your venue AND your personal preferences!

DJ working at a wedding reception with people dancing

More Appropriate for Ceremony Activities

There are also times when you may need to wear a different dress for your reception, depending upon what the activities you have planned for your reception. The most obvious example for this is, of course dancing, but you could even have an extra-special activity or exit planned that would require you to have more mobility than perhaps a traditional gown might allow. In this case, changing into a cocktail-type dress might be a great way to keep yourself comfortable while you’re dancing your heart out, but still look like an absolutely stunning bride on your big day.

Wear It Again!

One of the extra-special things that can happen if you do choose a more casual reception style to change into is the ability to wear the dress again for special occasions in the future. Some brides choose a cocktail-style reception dress and then wear it every year to dinner on their anniversary! I’ve even heard of a bride who, after the wedding, dyed her short reception dress a gorgeous color, and now wears it to every wedding she attends as a guest, as a way to remind her and her husband of the day they made that special commitment to each other. However you choose to utilize a reception dress in the future, it can be especially wonderful to know that you’ll be able to revisit the dress from one of the best days of your life and wear it again and again.

Whatever reason you choose to change at the reception, there are many wonderful ways this can spice up your wedding reception look and add a new spin on things! Did you change at your reception? Are you glad you did?

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