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Article: 4 Things To Consider Before Reception Dress Shopping

woman wearing wedding reception dress

4 Things To Consider Before Reception Dress Shopping

Your wedding day should always be your version of perfect: from the food or the venue to the guests you celebrate with or what you wear. If you've found your dream wedding dress to wear down the aisle, but now you're considering a second, separate dress for the reception, let me take you through everything you'll need to know about reception dresses so that you can make a more informed and thoughtful decision.

What Is a Reception Dress?

A wedding reception dress, or simply a reception gown, is an alternate wedding dress, often referred to as a 'second look.' It's an outfit that the bride changes into after her wedding ceremony to wear for the wedding reception. Think party dress, but wedding style.

Why Would I Wear a Reception Dress?

  • You might be a bride who wants to go for something more comfortable, relaxed, and laid back for your wedding afterparty. Buying a reception dress that's easier to move in, dance in, or sit around eating, drinking, and partying in is the perfect solution to that!
  • Reception dresses can serve as both a style moment and functionality. One example of this would be brides that have planned a choreographed wedding dance and wanted a reception dress more suited to a dance moment that their grand wedding dress wasn't going to allow.
  • You might be eloping or doing a courthouse style wedding that revolves more around the reception than the ceremony itself, which is a perfect time to opt for a reception gown that serves as your wedding dress too instead of being a 'second look' style gown/
  • You might be a bride who wants to live out the 'second look' tradition and opt for a grand second gown to follow your dream wedding ceremony dress.
  • Not to be TMI, but some brides opt for a second gown/gown change due to the climate and temperate where they'll be getting married because of hot, sweaty conditions.
  • Cultural or religious reasons may require a bride to wear a different dress for the wedding ceremony or the reception.

When Should I Change Into My Reception Dress?

There's no one 'right' answer to this question, it's your wedding, and you can do what you want, whenever you want. Some brides will change between the ceremony and reception, while others may wait until the formalities of the wedding reception are done and then get changed when it's time to eat, sing and dance the night away.

As always, our advice is to do what suits you best on your special day!

What Can I Wear For My Wedding Reception Dress?

You can wear anything you want! From a pantsuit to a short elopement style dress to a simple slip, a mini, or even a fully sequin ball gown: the choice is yours! 

Reception dresses are generally less formal than a wedding ceremony gown, so there's a lot of freedom when it comes to picking a reception gown. 

Additionally, some brides may opt for a religious or traditional/cultural gown to wear at their ceremony and then wear something different at the reception or vice versa.

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