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Can Bridesmaids Change For The Reception?

It has become more and more common for brides to have more than one outfit for their wedding. The show-stopping ceremony dress and a slightly more relaxed (and comfortable) reception outfit. After all, the reception is the big party portion of the wedding day, and not all brides want to be held back by a dress that just isn’t built for an evening of dancing. But, what about the bridesmaids? Would it be rude or even a little offensive if they were to change? Here is all you are going to want to know.

So, can bridesmaids change for the reception? Bridesmaids can change for the reception, so long as they get the go-ahead from the bride! It’s generally best that they check with the bride ahead of time, running their potential outfit change by them. If the bride does not want her bridesmaids to change, it’s generally best that they don’t. 

Equally, if the bride wants her wedding entourage to have a particular, special look for the wedding reception, then she may even suggest an evening dress. Or at least a style.  

Ultimately, the bride is the ringmaster of her wedding day, and her say goes. 

But if you get the all-clear, then just make sure you get a good outfit (The Dress Outlet will help you there) if you need inspiration.

Nevertheless, if you are a bridesmaid who is considering having a different reception gown or outfit for any reason, read on to find out when it is appropriate for you to change, how you should change, and even where.

When It’s Okay For The Bridesmaids To Change For The Reception

It’s generally okay for bridesmaids to change for the reception if the bride approves, no more photos are planned or scheduled, and if changing attire makes sense from a comfort perspective.

Changing outfits at a wedding is a far more common occurrence with weddings these days, but there are still some unwritten rules when it comes to whether you can do it or whether you can’t. 

Just keep in mind that this isn’t your day, as much as you are a big part of the day, but it is the brides’, and she may have a very specific aesthetic in mind for her wedding photos and videos, which will usually include the outfits of her bridal party.

So, when is it okay for the bridesmaids to change for the wedding reception? We’re are going to cover some of the times that are totally ok for you, as a bridesmaid, to change what you are wearing.

The Bride Gives Her Approval

This is the biggie. It’s the bride’s special day and what she has in mind for her wedding goes, and usually without much question. 

Having her approval when it comes to her bridesmaid’s outfits is the first box you’ll want to check. 

If the bride wants every member of her bridal party to look the same or keep to a theme, she may be reluctant to allow you to change for the reception. 

One way of sidestepping this is suggesting a more comfortable outfit for the entire bridal party for the evening that still matches the wedding colors or theme. 

However, you may have to pay for these outfits yourself if you are able to choose your own, or if the bride is happy to add this to the wedding budget, she may still want to have the final say on the actual outfits chosen and also be prepared for the bride to still say no. 

No More Photos Are Schedules

Naturally, the bride will have an idea in her head of how she wishes her wedding photos and videos to look. 

The bridesmaid’s outfits are included in this. 

So, if the bride is quite happy for her bridal party to change their outfits, you should at least wait until after all of the formal photos have been finished. 

This means you won’t have to deal with an unhappy bride once her very expensive wedding photos finally make their way to her.

Extreme Weather

If your region experiences extreme weather – think freezing snowy winters or super hot and humid summers – asking to have an alternative outfit for after the ceremony and photos isn’t a super uncommon request. 

As beautiful as most bridesmaids’ gowns are, they may not be suitable for the entire wedding day and the weather that comes with it. 

Changing into something more breathable for hot days or something far cozier for cold ones isn’t an unreasonable request. 

However, your bride may ask that your post-ceremony outfits still match the color or theme of her wedding.

Uncomfortable Gowns

Look, just because your bridesmaid’s outfit is stunning doesn’t mean it’s going to be comfortable for the entire day. 

Some gown materials can be very unforgiving when it comes to stretch and even breathability.

Most reasonable brides understand this and are quite happy for their bridesmaids to change into something far more comfortable once the ceremony and official photos have all been done. 

However, this is definitely something you should discuss before the big day itself.

When Is A Good Time For Bridesmaids To Change For The Reception?

The best time for a bridesmaid to change her ceremony outfit is after all formal photos have been taken after the wedding ceremony. This ensures that the aesthetic the bride has in mind for these moments are kept to, and you’ve also got a good amount of wear out of your bridesmaid’s dress – we know those gowns can be pricey. 

You also want to make sure all changes are done before the wedding reception for two reasons. 

Any videos or photos taken at the reception will keep to some sort of continuity but also so that you, as the bridesmaid, don’t have to miss out on any of the wedding fun. 

Discuss the perfect time for changing with the bride. 

She may have something planned for the wedding reception that requires that her bridesmaids are still donning their ceremony outfits. 

So, although we say it’s best to change after the ceremony but before the reception, this can differ if the bride has different plans. 

Where Can Bridesmaids Get Changed For The Reception?

Where the bridesmaids change their outfits is going to depend entirely on the ceremony venue and also the reception venue

For example, if the wedding is in a church and the ceremony is in a restaurant, your places to change discretely are fairly limited. 

If you live close by, you can dart home to get changed, or the restaurant may have a private room where all the bridesmaids can change.

If the wedding ceremony and reception are in one place – a venue where you are renting rooms also – changes are easily done by taking a few moments to change in your rooms, and because they are on the same venue, you won’t be gone long. 

Wedding halls may be able to save a room specifically for wedding party changes, but you will have to ask whether this is a service the wedding hall can provide.

The simplest place for bridesmaids to change their outfits is the bathroom of the venue. 

Although, this means you may have to carry bags that contain your second outfits or drop them off at the reception venue prior to the wedding. 

Also, getting changed in a bathroom isn’t as glamorous as a room with a mirror, space, and no toilet roll drifting around trying to stick to every stiletto walking through the place. 

What Should Bridesmaids Wear For The Reception?

If the bridesmaids are changing their outfits for the wedding ceremony, it’s important that they are comfortable

Most wedding receptions are the party, which means music, drinks, dancing, and a lot of movement. 

Bridesmaids definitely want to be as comfortable as possible to enjoy the bride’s big day properly. 

If the bride still wants to keep her theme or aesthetic running into the evening portion of her wedding day, the reception outfits may still need to be a certain color or style so that the bridesmaids match and don’t look out of place.

Again, this is something that should be planned before the wedding day and with the bride as her opinion on what she is hoping for are incredibly important. 

If you have a very easy-going and relaxed bride, she may not mind what you wear for the reception. 

If that’s the case, the skies are the limit, and you can pick any beautiful gown that tickles your fancy. 

Just make sure it’s wedding appropriate but also comfortable, breathable, and perhaps able to take a few drink spillages without upsetting your look for the evening. 

And if you are looking for a new outfit, I would recommend you head over to The Dress Outlet. With 80% off your standard retail price and countless options of evening dresses, you’ll be sure to find what you want at a great price.


Although second outfits for bridesmaids are a little controversial, it is slowly becoming more of a common trend in the wedding industry. 

Brides are becoming more aware of how important it is that their entire wedding party are comfortable and enjoy the day too. 

Also, some brides don’t like to be the only one everyone is looking at, so having your bridesmaids change into a second reception outfit can take a little of the pressure off the bride.

When it comes to whether a bridesmaid can change, it’s all down to the kind of wedding the bride is hoping for, the venue you are at, and also whether you are comfortable in your reception gown. 

As long as you have your bride’s approval, changing your wedding outfit for the reception usually isn’t a problem and can make the party far more fun to enjoy. 

Have other questions about the reception? Then my following guides may be of interest: