35 Reception Dresses Brides Changed Into for Their Parties

wedding reception dresses spaghetti strap tea length dress with slit
Photo: Rebecca Yale Photography

There's so much that goes into choosing a wedding dress. From selecting whom you'll bring along on the search to the actual shopping process, you'll likely experience every possible emotion during the journey. One of them is bound to be relief—especially once the final choice has been made. But then the following thought might bubble up: What if one wedding dress just isn't enough? This might be something you have in the back of your mind from the very beginning (raise your hand if you're a bride that definitely wants two wedding dresses!) or something you determine later, once you consider what it will be like wearing your gown during the reception.

While your wedding dress might be the ultimate choice for your walk down the aisle, you may find it's not quite right for your first dance. It's often this conundrum that leads a bride to opt for an outfit change, either at the beginning of the party or mid-festivities. The moment you decide to change is entirely up to you, but it typically depends on a few factors. Some brides want to linger in their first dress and really show it off on the dance floor. Others feel restricted by their ceremony attire (especially those wearing tighter, more form-fitting silhouettes!) and want something easy and breezy to kick off the evening. Or maybe you're a fashion-lover who just wants to wear two looks on your big night. Regardless of the camp you find yourself in, you're likely in the market for reception wedding dress inspiration.

Luckily for you, we rounded up a few of our favorite second wedding dresses that brides wore to their own parties. These inspired looks—from sexy mini-dresses to romantic reprisals of gown number one—are sure to inform your own party change. Click through for the ultimate second wedding dress inspiration.

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Romantic Sleeves

wedding couple dancing at reception in casual attire
The de Jaureguis

This bride opted for a jumpsuit with poufed sleeves and a delicately draped bodice.

02 of 34

Reception Jumpsuit

wedding reception dresses jumpsuit with overskirt
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

This bride's Naeem Khan jumpsuit proves that there's nothing more celebratory than a voluminous overlay.

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A New Look

Couple in second reception outfits
Sacia Matthews

For her reception, this newlywed changed into a sequined jumpsuit from Retrofete. Its deep-V neckline and short sleeves created the perfect culmination of sexy and stylish.

04 of 34

High Neck

niara allen wedding couple reception dress
Elizabeth Austin Photography

Is there anything that says "Let's party!" like a shorter hemline? Not according to this beauty, who changed into a BHLDN mini dress before hitting the dance floor. A high neckline and long sleeves kept the look classic.

05 of 34

Sparkly Sheath

tebogo simon wedding reception first dance couple
Margaux Cronje

Need a look worth dancing in? This glowing bride changed into a slinky, sparkly sheath dress for her wedding reception.

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A Nod to New Heritage

victoria tk wedding bride's red and yellow african reception dress
Enuel Viera Photography

"I chose to wear a dress with colorful vibrant African fabric during the party, to represent Tk's heritage and celebrate the culture I am joining," shares the bride, Victoria. Nigerian seamstress Glory Ojei of Bespoke By Glory designed the dress.

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Beautiful Blues

happy wedding couple stand smiling reception
Janine Licare

When it came time for her reception, this radiant bride slipped into a long-sleeve dress by Needle and Thread.

08 of 34


wedding reception dance floor bride groom walking
Hajley Photography

Looking to add some glamour to your reception? Make like this bride and change into a fitted, beaded gown—hers was from New York's Faviana—before your first dance.

09 of 34

Bohemian Nods

laura alexander wedding couple in white at brunch
Vicki Grafton

This Finland wedding was a daytime affair, but that didn't stop the bride from donning a gorgeous reception dress. The sleeve details and tiered skirt are just the thing for a garden soirée.

10 of 34

La Vie en Rose

bride and groom in disco reception outfits on the dance floor
Greg Finck

The bride traded in her wedding dress for a bespoke rose gold jumpsuit by Ella Pritsker Couture for the after-party.

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Bow in the Back

wedding reception dresses bow in back
Greg Finck

Consider a racer-back wedding dress (like this one by Marchesa) for the latter half of your big day—the sporty cut allows you to move without restraint.

12 of 34

Short and Sweet

wedding couple dipping and kissing in industrial space
Redfield Photography

You don't have to wear a long gown all night. This bride changed into a light and airy sparkly mini dress for the wedding reception, chosen specifically because it matched the venue's disco balls.

13 of 34

Wide-Leg Jumpsuit

bride and groom reception last dance
Allen Tsai

Nothing makes dancing easier on your wedding day than changing from a big ballgown into a jumpsuit with a fitted bodice and wide-leg trousers.

14 of 34


wedding couple dancing at rehearsal dinner

This bride's second look, which she actually debuted at her rehearsal dinner, could easily be worn as a wedding reception outfit. She changed into an Oscar de la Renta toile crop top and skirt with one-of-a-kind lapis earrings from Lizzie Fortunato

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Captivating Cape

couple exit wedding barn to sparklers
Amanda Lane

For the reception, this new bride changed into a chic, stretchy Alamour gown with a BHLDN cape.

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Embellished Separates

brittany brian wedding couple walking by pool
KT Merry

For her rehearsal dinner, this bride wore a two-piece pantsuit-inspired look that would serve as a gorgeous wedding reception 'fit. Floral embellishment and cigarette-style pants make for stylish and easy fashion.

17 of 34

Little Black Dress

Bride, groom, and friend at reception
The Edges

Who says the bride has to wear white? The woman of the hour, pictured center, did a quick change into a black velvet Tom Ford halter mini dress for the rest of the evening.

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Halter Top

bride wearing jumpsuit during wedding reception
Corbin Gurkin

This bride changed into a Mira Zwillinger sequined jumpsuit with a jewel neck and fitted bodice for her wedding reception.

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Fully Floral

ronita ryan wedding couple golden hour portrait
Laura Gordon

The bride pictured here changed into a pink-and-white floral Oscar de la Renta gown for the reception. Her groom also sported a second look in Burberry.

20 of 34

The New Pantsuit

wedding reception dresses pantsuit with sequined pants
Mandee Johnson Photography

If you're known for your fashion sense, one outfit change might not be enough. This bride, for example, donned three looks throughout her wedding. Her new-age pantsuit, which featured a peplum, off-the-shoulder top and metallic wide-leg pants, was an appropriate way to close out the reception and enter after-party mode.

21 of 34


wedding reception dresses one-shoulder tea length gown
Sarah Kate Photography

We're not sure what we love more about this mid-length number: the gauzy asymmetrical neckline or the skirt's metallic embroidery.

22 of 34

Another Long Number

meki ian wedding michigan reception dancing
Lisa Ziesing for Abby Jiu Photography

If you fall in love with two different wedding dresses, know that there's nothing wrong with changing into something that's decidedly bridal, like this bride did. She walked down the aisle in a Monique Lhuillier trumpet and made her reception debut in a sleeker Pnina Tornai gown.

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wedding reception dresses short gown with fringe
Sarah Kate Photography

We'd argue that there's no detail better suited for a night of dancing than tassels. This bride definitely got the memo.

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Ruffled Metallic

hamida charlie charleson wedding getaway exit
Gayle Brooker

Why not break free of the wedding white mold come your reception? Make like this bride, who swapped out her traditional cream bridal gown for a ruffled metallic Ulla Johnson dress. She polished off her edgy look with a pair of Tory Burch velvet bow pumps.

25 of 34


John Legend and Chrissy Teigen Kissing at Wedding
Polly Alexandre Photography

Consider another shade of wedding white to differentiate your second look from your first. This bride transitioned out of her bright-white ceremony garment into a champagne-colored number by Monique Lhuillier for her party.

26 of 34

First Dance Jumpsuit

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen Kissing at Wedding
Katie Stoops Photography

A choreographed first dance calls for a look that commands attention. A jumpsuit is different enough to make a statement—and allows you to hit all those moves uninhibited.

27 of 34

Cultural Nod

reception wedding dresses
M Harris Studios

If you're set on wearing a white wedding dress for your ceremony, consider switching into a second look that pays homage to your roots. This bride (and her groom!) stepped into traditional Nigerian attire for the latter half of their party.

28 of 34

All About That Lace

wedding reception dresses short lace a-line gown
Rebecca Yale Photography

Looking for another fun factor? Pair a lacy knee-length number with a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses before getting down with your guests.

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Patterned Skirt

wedding reception dresses patterned skirt with slit
Mandee Johnson Photography

Really want to get experimental? Enter your party in couture—an unexpected silhouette (like this floral skirt and structure peplum top) is the ultimate way to make an entrance.

30 of 34


John Legend and Chrissy Teigen Kissing at Wedding
Mustard Seed Photography

If you know that you want to change into a shorter number for the reception but don't want to deviate from your first look entirely, consider choosing a second dress that references the first. Both of this bride's wedding dresses featured long sleeves (this one was by Jenny Kim Couture), which eased the transition from service to party.

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Long and Flowing

wedding reception dresses one shoulder sheath
Greg Finck

This Prabal Gurung reception dress makes the case for long and flowing (you'll realize the power of that combination when the band starts up).

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Feathered Skirt

New Years eve wedding bride groom dance
Alison Conklin

We love this bride's approach to reception style—she wore a BHLDN camisole with a feathered Carol Hannah skirt. Choosing separates meant she could more easily wear both pieces again.

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Glitzy Glamour

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen Kissing at Wedding
Max Wanger

Add edge to your reception look by deviating from bridal white entirely. This bride slipped into a statement-making black Monique Lhuillier gown with plenty of shimmer before cutting the cake.

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In the Details

lillie riley wedding reception couple
Meg Lucks, Abby Jiu Photography

This bride changed into a beautifully embellished Bronx and Banco gown for her wedding reception.

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