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A wedding trend that has emerged in recent years is for the bride to change out of her wedding dress and into something else for the reception. It allows her to wear a less formal gown and enjoy the reception without worrying about ripping or staining her wedding dress.

But planning for a new outfit may take some thought. How do you know what to wear to your reception? We have everything you need to know about what to wear to your wedding reception, from the differences between a ceremony and reception dress and where to buy these dresses.

What’s the Difference Between a Wedding and Reception Dress?

Beyond the bride wearing both, a wedding dress and a reception dress likely won’t have much in common. In general, the main difference between the two is the formality. Ceremony dresses are more formal to match the tone of the location. Conversely, a reception is a party to celebrate your union.

Ceremony dresses are typically more formal and go to the floor. They also usually have a long train and a fuller skirt. Many brides like to choose dresses with intricate detailing. Between that and the fit, wedding dresses typically restrict a bride’s movements.

On the other hand, reception dresses can be looser, allowing for more movement. While most wedding dresses are white, your reception dress doesn’t have to be. Feel free to pick a color that matches your theme or the groom’s tie. They also can be much shorter, like knee-length or tea-length.

Should I Wear a Different Dress to My Reception?

There are a few reasons why you may want to wear a different dress for your reception. It could be a personal choice or for cultural reasons. Keep in mind no one is forcing you to wear a different dress for the reception. The choice is entirely up to you! After all, it is your day.

Personal Choice

Some brides choose to wear a different dress for their reception. This could be because there’s another dress she fell in love with, or the wedding dress was a family heirloom and she wants to put her own spin on the reception style. Reception dresses are also less restrictive, meaning more room to dance the night away.

Cultural Tradition

In some cultures, the bride always changes into another gown after the wedding. For example, Japanese brides will typically wear a simple kimono during the ceremony and a more intricate one for the reception.

For multicultural weddings, it’s relatively common for the bride to change her gown for the reception. The wedding gown may represent her culture, while a reception dress could celebrate her groom’s culture.

Where to Buy a Reception Dress

Most bridal stores will sell reception dresses as well. This allows you to easily shop for your wedding and reception dresses at the same time. You can also find them at department stores like Macy’s or Nordstrom. By venturing outside of bridal stores, you’re likely to see more options that will match your wedding’s theme for a lower price.

Plan Your Outdoor Tent Wedding at Windows on the Water

Whether you decide to stay in your wedding gown or change into a new dress for the reception, your wedding day should be the one you’ve been dreaming about for years. At Windows on the Water, our expert outdoor wedding planners will help make your dream a reality.

When you’re ready to say “I do,” choose Windows on the Water to celebrate your love. Call (609) 208-9475 or complete a contact form to speak with our wedding planners today!