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Tips for Finding Two Dream Wedding Gowns for Your Ceremony and Reception

Many brides dream of walking down the aisle wearing a big princess-style ball gown, but by the end of the evening, it can become extremely cumbersome and uncomfortable to move in, making it difficult to enjoy your wedding reception and dance the night away.

Or, maybe you love the idea of having both a ball gown and a sexy, mermaid dress and are struggling to choose just one. For either reason, more and more brides are choosing to purchase a second (or third or fourth) dress just for their wedding reception.

But while planning an outfit change will ensure you get the best of both worlds, finding not one, but two or more dream wedding dresses can be a bit of a challenge.


History Behind the Two Dress Trend

While nowadays, it seems like the majority of brides are opting for an outfit change during their wedding reception, the trend has been around for longer than you might think.

Going all the way back to the 1930s, it was common for brides to change towards the end of their wedding reception into a “Going Away Dress” for their grand exit, where they would be whisked off to their honeymoon.

This “Going Away” ensemble typically consisted of a bridal-inspired skirt and jacket.

Now fast forward to 2019, and the trend has slightly shifted, with many brides purchasing two or more vastly different gowns for both their wedding ceremony and reception.

Reasons to Buy a Second Wedding Dress

So, you’ve already found your dream bridal gown that makes you feel your most beautiful. You might be wondering – why would you want to wear anything else on your most special day?

Here are some of the most common reasons why brides are ditching their ceremony gowns before the reception.


Just like you may want to change out of your high heels as the night wears on, you may find yourself uncomfortable during the reception if your dress is a large, ball gown silhouette with lots of heavy fabric and beading.

Or maybe you went with a slinkier silhouette with a corset back that looks beautiful, but is difficult to sit and move in.



Even if you don’t find yourself uncomfortable in your ball gown by the end of the night, dancing can still be a challenge in a big poufy gown. While dancing and twirling the night away in a sea of tulle can sound like a dream, in actuality, having so much fabric can increase your risk of people – including your groom! – stepping on the hem of your gown and tripping while out on the dance floor.


Getting married outdoors in the summertime has lots of advantages, but unless the temperature starts to dip after your ceremony, wearing a heavy gown with many layers of fabric and beading can leave you feeling sweaty and uncomfortable throughout your reception. By switching to a lighter, airier gown, you will feel so much cooler and not run the risk of overheating.

Difficulty Choosing Just One Style

Ball gowns, and a-lines, and fit and flares, oh my! With so many options for bridal gowns these days, finding your dream dress can be overwhelming and make your head spin.

Further adding to the stress is the fact that many brides struggle to decide what they want to look like on their wedding day and whether they should go with a sexy or princessy look.

If you find yourself in this predicament, purchasing a more fitted, sexier gown for the reception will help ease any indecision you are experiencing.


If you are getting married in a church, there are often some modesty rules you have to follow. This means you will likely need to stay a bit more covered up during your ceremony by having your shoulders or arms covered and concealing cleavage.

But after your ceremony, you may want to let loose and show off your sexier side. In this case, having a second dress is a good compromise.

Tips for Finding Your Reception Dress

Now that you’ve established the fact that you’d like to purchase a second wedding dress for your reception, how do you choose which one?

Here are a few tips for finding your dream wedding dress….again.


Make Comfort a Top Priority

When picking your first gown, the one thing at the top of your mind is usually finding something that makes you feel absolutely beautiful, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.

So, when searching for dress #2, you should be aiming for something you feel comfortable AND beautiful in.

Budget for Two Dresses

Before you even start shopping for your first wedding dress, it’s important to decide early on whether or not you feel you will want a second dress for your reception to help determine your budget.

If you’ve been dreaming of huge ball gowns or a skin-tight, corseted fit and flare, you may want to search for a ceremony dress that leaves enough room in your budget for a second gown. You can also consider increasing your budget in order to afford both gowns, or find a budget-friendly reception gown that will allow you to afford your dream ceremony dress.

Think Outside the Box and Have Fun

Your wedding day is a once in a lifetime experience, so why play it safe?

If you’re a fun bride who likes taking fashion risks, your reception dress is the perfect opportunity to show off your personality.

Don’t confine yourself to the traditional long, white gown. Try playing around with some colour and go with a blush, pale blue, silver, gold, or lavender dress, or even something more daring like black or red.


A short and sassy dress, a jumpsuit, or romper are also great options that are super trendy right now.

If you chose to remain modest for your church ceremony or to avoid offending any older family members, also don’t be afraid to unleash your sexier side for your reception. At the end of the day, your wedding is all about you and your new spouse. So, don’t hold back, and wear what makes you feel your most confident.

Make Sure You Can Dance in It

The highlight of any wedding reception is dancing, so if you know that you will be getting down and boogieing the night away, it’s important to have a dress that you can move in.

To make sure you actually enjoy your reception and don’t spend most of it sitting down and feeling uncomfortable, find a dress with fewer bells and whistles that will help you focus on having fun, rather than trying to maneuver in your gown.

When Is the Best Time to Change

Now that you’ve found both dresses for your wedding, the next step is to determine when you will make your outfit change. There is no set rule for this, so the decision is completely up to you.

However, a good rule of thumb for when to change from your ceremony dress into your second dress is during the cocktail hour, after you’ve finished taking photos.

But if you’d prefer to have your first dance in your ceremony gown, changing immediately after that is a good time as well.

Whether you can’t decide between two or more completely different bridal looks or you just want to feel more comfortable during your reception, choosing more than one dress is a great option to ensure you are 100% satisfied with how you look and feel on your wedding day. And when you do decide to go shopping, refer back to these tips to help find your dream bridal gowns.