Why a ceremony dress AND a reception dress?

posted 2 years ago in Dress
Post # 2
722 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

SunnierDaysAhead:  Yes I did.  I didn’t do it because it has become a “fad” in a way.  I did it because my wedding dress was a ballgown.  Even wearing it in the store and in fittings I knew it would be hard to be in that dress all night. 

I had another a-line dress made of raw silk (almost weightless) that was given to me by a loved one, which I changed into for dancing.  Thank god.  I would not have made it through the whole night in the ballgown.

I changed basically after the first dance, father-daughter dance into my second dress and was much more comfortable for dancing.  Plus, the second dress meant a lot to me for sentimental reasons.

Best decision I ever made!

ETA: Just wanted to clarify that I wore my wedding dress for the ceremony and half of the reception…so it wasn’t really a ceremony dress and reception dress.  Moreso wedding dress and dancing dress (that was also a wedding dress lol)

Post # 3
2657 posts
Sugar bee

I used to wonder about reception dresses too until I started shopping for my own dress.  Some wedding dresses are just really hard to move around in.  I couldn’t imagine myself dancing at a reception in some of the dresses I tried on because they were either really heavy or constricting.  I see a lot of bees who end up buying reception dresses for comfort.

Post # 4
4441 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

SunnierDaysAhead:  I didn’t but understand why some do.  If you’re getting married in a church you may need your ceremony dress to be more modest.  Or you want the freedom to move and dance at your reception, I considered a reception dress because my satin dress was HEAVY but in the end couldn’t find a dress I liked in my budget.

If you watch SYTTD you’ll see plenty of reasons to have different dresses.  One girl was having a formal wedding and in her religion or culture it was standard to have a RED wedding dress but she was having another ceremony or reception dress (I forget which) that was white.

Post # 5
1532 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Many women have been dreaming since they were little girls about that big breathtaking wedding dress for that moment when the walk through the church doors (or inset dream entrance here). They want the huge train or a hoop skirt or whatever it is they’ve been dreaming about. They want those pictures. To them, that’s what it means to be a “bride”

But then we grow up, and while that dream stays with us, we also realize we are still gonna be human beings on our wedding day and not just “brides” and those giant dresses make very little sense at a reception.

Thus the concept of two dresses was born!

Now I described like the exact opposite of myself here. I never once dreamed of being a bride. I am still amazed at how much dress I put up with. I actually wore a slip! Insanity. 🙂 But it was still plenty small enough to have on for the whole night. Cuz like you – I wanted to get the most out of it.

But there’s no way I’m taking away other girls’ dreams. I loooooooove the dresses they pull off. I’d be sad if the world was filled with girls like me that can’t handle the poof. 🙂 Here’s to dress changes! 

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by  koi424.
Post # 6
5207 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

SunnierDaysAhead:  I think it’s for comfort. My friend recently got married and wore a ballgown throughout the reception. Her skin was literally raw by the end of the night, scratches and everything. My wedding and reception were on 2 different days so of course I had 2 dresses.

Post # 7
144 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Why not.

Post # 8
6525 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

SunnierDaysAhead:  I don’t get it. I found my wedding dress and wanted to wear it as long as possible. I loved going to fittings because it was another chance for me to wear it.

I see that some brides got two dresses because they couldn’t wear a ballgown all night – my question is – then why get a ballgown at all? Just for the heck of wearing a ballgown for an hour or two? Its just not practical IMO. Even if you have the money, its a waste. 

Then there is a religious reason, they need to cover up- surely there has to be a coverup that can be worn with a dress that is more “wearable”

Another thing I keep thinking is that maybe some brides get two dresses because they couldn’t decide between the two dresses, so they got both! Again, a waste of money IMO. 

Like I said, I loved my dress so much, I couldn’t imagine wearing a different dress, and maybe some brides never had that feeling so they got two. 

Post # 9
2792 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014


SunnierDaysAhead:  I am totally in the “Wear the pretty dress as long as you can” camp.  Yes, between how warm it was and how heavy it was, I probably lost five pounds on my wedding day, but I’m not sad about it. 

There are some who get the second dress for comfort, which I can understand.  I spent some time thinking about buying something cute off Mod Cloth to have something to change into when I stopped being comfortable.  Not what I ended up doing due ot budget, but I had an awful lot of off white dresses favorited on Mod Cloth for a while. 

I do have to say, as many people do it for comfort, I think there are almost as many who get a second dress because they couldn’t stop wedding dress shoping.   It’s kind of fun to pay dress up in expensive clothes as an adult, and I will admit to some sadness that we found my dress the first time and bought it right away.  I think this is a bit wasteful and silly. 

Post # 10
943 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Daizy914:  I agree! I wanted to wear my wedding dress for as long as possible (well, for the wedding and reception). I wanted a poofy dress, so… I found a poofy dress that I could move around in!

Post # 11
2065 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I think it is a thing because many wedding dresses are hard to move in and they want to dance.  I think it is a bit ridiculous.  It is already insane enough to spend thousands on a dress that is only worn one day, but to spend that on a dress that is worn only an hour was a bit much to me.  I was never into the princess poofy look- that is just not me, so finding a dress that was comfortable to wear all night was something important to me.  

Post # 12
439 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

I’m doing something a little in between. I have a mermaid gown but I also got a big tulle overskirt so I can have a ballgown for my ceremony. It wasn’t about comfort, I was just stuck on having that “bride” look with an overflowing train and veil. But at the same time, I wanted to show off my curves and I knew my fiance would like me in a mermaid gown. So I said, why not have both! It didn’t cost me too much so I was very pleased. I probably wouldn’t have done it if I had to buy 2 gowns. I always thought you should love your dress and wear it as long as possible! So, same dress / removable skirt made me feel a little better about that.

Post # 13
2151 posts
Buzzing bee

SunnierDaysAhead:  I think it became a “thing” when shops realized they could sell a bride two dresses instead of one. Just like how now there are professional engagment pictures in addition to wedding pictures (that didn’t used to be a thing either). I think in general wedding stuff has just gotten bigger and bigger. I was recently talking to a friend who went to a wedding where the bride wore three dresses, one for ceremony, one for cocktail hour, one for reception.

Most people also didn’t used to rent a whole second venue for a reception, it was just church then either church basement or someone’s back yard, they definitely didn’t spend thousands on flowers or professional pictures. Now professional top of the line everything is the norm. Catered sit-down dinners were also just for really rich people, now many middle class and lower middle class people do it too. 


I mean, from a sales point, why not sell someone an uncomfortable ceremony dress, and then sell them a second recpetion dress so they can party? More commission! (haha, I worked retail for a long time if you can’t tell) 

Post # 14
1668 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

SunnierDaysAhead:  I only had one…but i was obsessed with it, comfortable in it, and didn’t want to take it off. To each their own…I can’t imagine moving around in a ball gown for 8 hours! Mine was a tulle mermaid and it was pretty comfy and easy to ‘navigate’ 🙂

Post # 15
164 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

I will have 2 dresses, but they’re not exactly ceremony and reception dresses… We are having the cocktail hour before the ceremony and, because I would like to be there, I’ll be wearing an ivory cocktail dress. (I just have to do everything my own way lol) I don’t want people to see me in my wedding dress before the ceremony — I still want the oooh’s and the aaaah’s as I walk in lol As for the actual wedding dress, I love it and I’m wearing it as long as possible! I don’t really understand getting a dress that you can’t be in for more than 30 mins because it’s heavy/huge/uncomfortable. Everyone in my circle had just the one dress for wedding and reception. I guess it’s just not a “thing” around me. That said, I also have one friend that had 2 dresses because she just couldn’t make up her mind – they were so similar that no one even noticed she changed!

Leave a comment

Sent weekly. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Find Amazing Vendors