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Does The Bride Change For The Reception? [Should They Do So?]

Wedding receptions are a lot of fun. Besides, they are for celebrating the completion of the ceremony and marriage after all. But what does the bride typically wear during the reception? Does she stay in her dress or change into something a little different? Here is what you need to know.

So, does the bride change for the reception? Brides can change into a second outfit for the reception, and it is common for them to do so. This is typically due to a desire to wear a different outfit, or for functionality reasons; the wedding dress is too big or long to move around in all night. Some brides, however, remain in their dress, and that’s OK!

And some brides change multiple times throughout the reception. 

2-3 times, in fact.

Is this too much? 

Well, that’s down to the bride and what she is willing and able to do!

So this could mean having two, and in some cases, three outfits ready for the special day.

It comes as no surprise that brides often question whether they need, or should change, for their reception. 

So, let’s talk about when and why some brides have multiple outfits and how to make it work. 

After all, you don’t want to spend all of your wedding in the changing room. 

Do You Wear Your Wedding Dress To The Reception?

You can wear the same dress from your ceremony to your reception, which would be perfectly normal. At the same time, changing from a wedding dress into a more practical outfit is a reasonable thing to do, too. It comes down to preference and choice.

We all know how much of an ordeal it was to find the one.

Both your partner and your dress, haha!

All jokes aside, it is perfectly acceptable to wear your gown all night long.

And many brides do.

These are the reasons you may want to consider wearing one dress for the whole wedding!

  • It cost you a pretty penny, and there is no better time to show it off!
  • It’s functional for both walking down the aisle and tearing up the dance floor. 
  • The wedding dresses that have trains typically have a built-in tie or button to make it easier to move around after the ceremony. 
  • It’s your wedding day! You get to do WHATEVER you want!

Let’s talk a little more about why you would want to change!

From there, you can determine whether it makes sense to stick with one or go with two dresses. 

Should A Bride Change For The Reception?

Whether a bride should change for the reception is going to be a matter of preference and choice. Although she should consider the venue, her comfort, and the festivities, is it practical to remain in the dress, or would it be better to be changed?

Only the bride can answer this question.

And it is going to differ from bride vs. bride, wedding by wedding.

But if you did fall in love with two dresses. Lucky you.

It gives you choices!

But why would you even want such a choice?

Well, it may be better to change.

Many brides have two wedding looks because their dream dress just doesn’t make sense to waltz around on the dance floor with. 

Functionality and being a style queen are the two most popular reasons for changing it up. 

Let us explore them further:


If you have a red carpet dress that has a train for 40 miles, then:

A) It’s going to get ripped off and trampled on during the dancing, or 

B) By the time you make your way over to cousin Cheryl, your train is still talking to your new husband’s friend Bobby. 

Most women that have a dress that limits how quickly they can move will have it put away and stored as the elegant piece it is. 

This is the best option for storing a big dress.

Most women will put on a shorter dress or a tighter fit after getting out of a massive one. 

Diverse Pictures

A great added benefit of changing is the diversity in your photos.

You won’t be able to take natural dancing photos if your dress gets in the way, which is why this is a fantastic option. 

Having a style change-up allows you to remember the night in different ways. 


Sometimes a girl just loves to shop? 

Well, it is no known secret that celebrities have multiple outfit changes on their wedding days, so why shouldn’t we? 

It is our special day too! 

Sometimes it’s just fun to switch up the style and wear a few different pieces that were absolutely impossible to choose from. 

But knowing when to make these switches is essential!

When Should a Bride Change for the Wedding Reception?

A bride should change at a time where this is not much needed of her and at a time where the change will be noticeable when returning. Depending on how many outfit changes she has will need to be strategic about when to do this. 

There are a few appropriate times that fit well. 

After Ceremony Photos

The first thing that happens right after the ceremony is the photos. 

You want to make sure you get enough beautiful photos of your special moment with the people you love, like the wedding party and parents. 

At this time, your guests will be drinking and enjoying themselves at the cocktail hour.

Taking an extra few moments after the photos to change into your second dress is a great time. 

People won’t know how long the photos are, and it’s a great move. 

The downside to this is if you want to walk into a wedding reception in the dress, this is not the right time to change.

On the contrary, introducing yourself in a new dress is a great photo op. 

It’s like walking down the aisle all over again. 

After The Cocktail Hour

If that was too short-lived to wear your wedding dress go ahead and enjoy some of the cocktail hours with your friends and family. 

You can walk in and enjoy the moment and let your guests see your dress up close and admire it! 

That’s why you got it right! 

After spending some time at the cocktail hour, you can sneak away before people are called to their seats. 

This is an easy time to slip into something else while everyone is getting settled. 

Then when you come back in, and everyone is seated, it is an easy way to notice the second look. 

After Dinner

Right after dinner or even right after cutting the cake, these are both great times to change. 

It signals that it is almost time to start dancing and having a great night, so it will be easy to slip away and shimmy into something else. 

The only thing you don’t want to do is wait too long and keep people from the dance floor or miss out on some of the action yourself. 

You’ll just need to keep an eye on the flow of the events. 

Where Do Brides Change Into a Reception Dress?

It doesn’t really matter where a bride changes into her reception dress so long as it is safe and private. It will typically depend on the venue in which the wedding is being held. Still, more often than not, the bride and her bridal party are offered a room for this kind of thing.

This room is for the women and whoever is in the party to store all their things.

This is also the best spot for a bride to change into her second dress because the room is secure. 

You don’t have to worry about someone accidentally stealing something or spilling anything on your first or second outfit. 

You may even end up changing your shoes along with it, too, so this is why a wedding room is dedicated just to the bride and her best ladies. 

Which Dress Is Best For The Reception?

The best dress to wear for the reception is going to be the dress that makes you most happy! 

Having said that, there are a few things to consider that make more sense in terms of order and functionality. 

Real It In

While there is no pecking order for which dress has to go first, it does make the most sense to choose a big dress for the ceremony and something more fitting and comfortable for the reception. 

It doesn’t have to be a mini dress; it can still be a tight gown or even something a little boho. 

Whatever makes the bride feel great on her wedding day!

Not The Statement Piece

Again there are no rules, but the statement piece wedding dress is best to be worn first during the ceremony. 

This is because of all the pictures from the special moment of “I Do” and the photos afterward. 

Later as the night goes on, there will be fewer posed photos of you and more of your guests remembering the special night. 

Switch It Up!

The great news is that no matter which direction you go in, either remaining in the same dress or changing, are great options. 

It comes down to context.

It depends on the beautiful dress you say yes to.

It depends on the wedding venue.

And it depends on your preferences.

Either way, it may be worth taking a second look at another dress to wear to the reception. 

Besides, the reception is very different from the ceremony.

The bride does not have to change for the reception, but there are a few great ways to do it if she does decide to.

Changing after the photos or after dinner are two ways to keep the transition smooth during your wedding night. 

You want to make sure you don’t miss out on any fun activities or keep your guests waiting for you to make your fourth change out of courtesy. 

If you do have a second dress consider making it easier to dance in and move around. 

You’ll likely have a dressing or changing room provided by the venue. 

There is no right or wrong to any of this as the bride can really do whatever she wants on her big day!

So enjoy it and keep on your gown or switch it up for some others! 

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