Your Guide To The Second Wedding Dress

Your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, an epic occasion you only get to celebrate once the first time around truly. While that may add an aura of urgency or stress, it's also a beautiful concept to consider: you get one shot, and you may as well make it your best.

In the modern wedding landscape, comfort, quality, and versatility lead brides on their decision-making journeys, taking the front seat to most choices. Brides are forgoing the traditional 'rules' placed around weddings and doing things their way, leading to the rise of second wedding dresses, also known as reception gowns, bridal minis, or many other nicknames people use.

A second wedding dress opens you up to a world of possibilities; there are so many options that you should consider, each with its pros and cons. With that in mind, this next part is your guide to deciding if a second wedding dress is right for you or if it's just the one wedding dress for your big day.

Every story has two sides: the pros of wearing one dress vs. the pros of having a second wedding dress.

The pros of wearing one wedding dress

Timesaving: Changing into a second dress or any additional outfit or ensemble on your wedding day will require more time. With this in mind, wedding days can be quite a rushed experience in between the 'I do's' and the party, so having to find time to store the dress, then get changed into it while ensuring your original dress is safely escorted back to where you're staying creates more time spent on a day when you're already strapped for time.

Moneysaving: Weddings, in general, will always be costly, even for the most budget-savvy amongst us. When you're now looking at the costs of two gowns, your overall budgeting numbers start adding up much faster than you expected. It's essential to stay within your budget, so if it's going to be too expensive to do, you must factor that into your decision-making experience.

Traditional Values: Some of us will be sticking to a traditional or possibly even religious-based wedding. If you've got a specific gown you need to wear down the aisle, you might need to accept that a second wedding dress won't work for you, and that's totally okay!

Aesthetic Consistency: If you've spent all this time, money, and effort designing a wedding day that matches your specific aesthetic, adding a second dress might throw a spanner in the works. If you've got your details perfect, and your main wedding dress is exactly what you wanted to work with the florals, venue, etc., you won't need a second dress.

Photographic Consistency: If you want your wedding album to have one fully cohesive look, changing dresses may interrupt that and impact the consistency of your photos. With that in mind, if you stick with your main wedding dress the whole way through, all your photos will have that one consistent vibe to them!

Dedication To Design: Some brides opt to have their gown made by a designer they love, cherish, and adore the creative direction of. And when you're having a dress crafted like this, where it means so much to wear a specific designer's creation, you might need to wear it for the entire wedding to showcase this couture dream of yours.

The pros of a second wedding dress

Comfort Is King: Depending on the style of wedding dress you wear, some can be pretty heavy on the body, being worn around all day, while others can feel quite hot during an outdoor wedding, among other reasons. With that in mind, once the formalities of the wedding ceremony are complete, many brides opt to wear a second wedding dress for the reception/party portion of their special day to ensure they're comfortable throughout the night. Some gowns may also make dancing difficult due to the weight, style, or restriction of the wedding gown itself, so having a party dress to dance in could be essential for you.

Fashion Forward: If you're a fashion-forward bride, having several looks throughout your wedding day allows you to make a statement with each gown, garment, or ensemble. You get to explore different vibes, designs, or styles in the one-off event that is your wedding.

Photographic Diversity: Opting for a second wedding dress will allow you to have multiple looks in your wedding's photo album, giving more diversity to your photos and making your day more unique.

Surprise Elements: After the wedding ceremony, your guests will likely go off to the reception space or nearby to wait for you to have portraits taken before the reception begins. Some brides change outfits to surprise their friends and family when they enter their wedding reception.

Versatility: If you're having a beach wedding, but your ceremony is in a ballroom, changing from a boho-style look into a bling-vibe mini dress would allow you to explore a second look's versatility.

Styles of second wedding dresses or wedding reception dresses

If you've read through the different pros to each option, and you're still unclear, you may need some style inspo to seal the deal. We're covering some of the different styles of wedding reception second dresses you might want to consider:

The plain full-length wedding reception dress: for something elegant and classic, some brides opt for a full-length gown but keep it toned down and minimalist in nature.

The bridal mini: Undoubtedly the hottest trend in bridal right now, a short wedding dress, or mini gown, as your second wedding dress has become the 'go-to' for many brides in 2022/2023, and now heading into 2024, it's only heating up further with more options available on the market.

Jumpsuits or Pantsuits: For something modern & trendy, opting for a jumpsuit or pantsuit could be a vibe that matches your preference.

Separates: Doing a mix-and-match style ensemble utilising bridal separates like a top and skirt, pants and top, or something similar to create a unique second look at your wedding is a versatile option we've seen brides use.

Coloured gowns: If you want the classic white wedding dress moment but also want to wear something with a bit more colour involved, you can do just that by having your wedding reception dress have some colour to it.

Ultimately, whatever you decide to do, you must consider your personal style, the budget you will be allocated for the wedding reception (and your wedding attire!), the type of environment you'll wear the gown and the comfort levels you'll be seeking based off your main wedding dress.

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