18 Stunning Wedding Reception Dresses for Every Bridal Style

From modern mini dresses to sequin slip dresses.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Wedding Reception Dresses

Brides / Chloe Jeong

A reception dress can transform your look entirely and for many brides, it's the chance to change into an outfit that is not only fun and stylish but comfortable too. While a second look might feel like an extravagance, there are plenty of budget-friendly dresses out there that practically feel and look like couture. Whether you're throwing a casual backyard ceremony or a glamorous black-tie wedding, there are scores of reception dresses out there to suit any and all bridal styles.

What Is a Reception Dress?

A reception dress is often referred to as a 'second look' and is an outfit some brides choose to change into after their ceremony.

For the minimalist bride who covets clean lines and sleek silhouettes, a simple and chic slip dress never disappoints. A summer bride will appreciate a quick change into a mini dress made from light and airy fabrics like linen or cotton. If you're headed to City Hall for your nuptials, modern jumpsuits and structured sets are the perfect complement to any courthouse wedding. And lastly, for the bold bride looking to make a statement, there are plenty of styles to be found in pretty pastel hues and unexpected vibrant prints.

Read on for the best wedding reception dresses for every style, body type, and budget.

Best Cocktail Dress: Lulus Bodycon Dress

cocktail dress

Courtesy of Lulus

As pretty as it is versatile, this frilly cocktail dress could easily be worn to your engagement party, rehearsal dinner, or as a second look on your wedding day.

Best Jumpsuit: Monique Lhuillier Silky Charmeuse Jumpsuit

reception jumpsuit

 Courtesy of BHLDN

Jumpsuits are a popular reception look choice and with good reason. Not only are they sleek and modern but they're incredibly easy to move around in, making it a cinch to work the room and show off your signature moves on the dancefloor.

Best Slip Dress: Fame and Partners Rosabel Dress

slip dress

Courtesy of Shopbop

If you're a minimalist bride who covets simple silhouettes and clean lines, then opt for an effortlessly chic slip dress. This slinky Fame and Partners number oozes sophistication and features alluring details like a cowl neckline and thigh-high slit.

Most Unique: Cult Gaia Feather Mini Dress

feather dress

Courtesy of Cult Gaia

Make an unforgettable entrance in this stunning feather creation from Cult Gaia. Not only will this mini dress look great in all of your reception photos, but it's also as light as air so it won't weigh you down on the dance floor.

For a Summer Wedding: Reformation Bow Shoulders Mini Dress

reception dress

 Courtesy of Reformation

Warmer seasons call for shorter hemlines and feminine details like shoulder bows and flouncy skirts. Wear yours with a minimalist neutral sandal or a pair of summer-ready espadrilles.

Most Afterparty Ready: Retrofête Sequin Mini Dress

sequin dress

Courtesy of Net-a-Porter 

Nothing says celebration quite like an allover sequin mini. This sparkly number was born for the dancefloor and made for an afterparty that goes late into the night (and morning!)

Most Unexpected: Nookie Strapless Dress with Detachable Bow

reception dress

Courtesy of Revolve

Who says a reception dress can't be a little extra? This mini dress features a dramatic bow train that can be detached when it's time to hit the dancefloor.

Best Budget: ASOS Edition Embellished Mini Dress

reception dress

Courtesy of ASOS

For brides who crave a little glitz and glam but at an affordable price, we've got you covered! This style from ASOS features a simple but beautiful silhouette embellished with allover sequins perfect for the summer bride looking for a little sparkle.

Most Playful: BHLDN Huntington Dress

mini dress

Courtesy of BHLDN

Equal parts sweet and playful, this forthy tulle mini dress is perfect for making an entrance. We love the idea of adding a veil or a modern headpiece to complete the look.

For a Black-Tie Wedding: Carolina Herrera Bow-Accented Silk Mini Dress

white dress

 Courtesy of Moda Operandi

If anyone knows their way around a wedding dress and a party look, it's Carolina Herrea. This modern yet feminine style is just the reception dress you need for your formal wedding. Wears yours with statement-making shoes or keep accessories simple for a more pared-back look.

For the Minimalist Bride: ML Monique Lhuillier One-Shoulder Dress

one shoulder dress

Courtesy of BHLDN

All eyes will be on you when you make your entrance in this captivating one-shoulder dress designed with the minimalist bride in mind.

Best Lace Style: Markarian Elliot Lace Midi Dress

lace dress

Courtesy of Moda Operandi

If there's one thing we know, it's that you can never go wrong with a lightweight lace dress for spring and summer weddings. This style designed with delicate shoulder bows is perfect for the bride-to-be who loves feminine touches.

Best Mini: Reformation Corinth Silk Dress

mini dress

Courtesy of Reformation

Looking to show off your legs (and moves!) on the dancefloor? This halterneck mini is the ultimate party dress. Pair yours with matching white accessories or go bold with colorful strappy sandals and a red lip.

For a Courthouse Wedding: Silk Maison Mini Silk Blazer Dress

mini dress

Courtesy of Silk Maison

If you're opting for an impossibly chic city hall wedding à la Bianca Jagger, this is the dress for you. Equal parts sexy and sophisticated, this blazer dress is for the bride who embraces a non-traditional look.

For the Laidback Bride: Reformation Off-the-Shoulder Dress

A woman in an Reformation off the shoulder reception dress.

Courtesy of Reformation

With loose-fitting, off-the-shoulder straps and a figure-flattering bodice, this Reformation dress is the epitome of relaxed elegance. Slip this style on for a completely effortless second look.

Best Bridal Suit: Reformation Blazer and Pant Set

wedding suit

Courtesy of BHLDN

More of a fashion-forward bride? Go for an ultra-cool wedding suit. We love this set paired with a silky camisole or a sexy bralette for a more daring look.

For a Warm Weather Wedding: Lulus Lace Off-the-Shoulder Midi Dress

lac dress

Courtesy of Lulus

Nothing says summer wedding quite like a floral lace midi dress. After the ceremony, slip into this easy, breezy number for a totally carefree and effortless look.

Most Statement-Making: Rotate Birger Christensen Mini Dress

pink dress

Courtesy of Net-a-Porter

Looking for a reception dress in anything but bridal white? This electric pink mini dress featuring an oversized bow is sure to speak to the bride-to-be who isn't afraid to make a statement.

What to Look for in a Wedding Reception Dress

A reception dress is often referred to as a 'second look' and is an outfit some brides choose to change into after their ceremony. Your reception dress can range from casual and comfortable to clean and minimalist to short and sparkly. When it comes to picking out a reception dress, many brides opt for a style and silhouette that is completely different from their wedding dress but still embodies the theme and aesthetic of the wedding.

FAQ
  • When should I change into my reception dress?

    Some brides change into their reception outfit straight after the ceremony, before the cake-cutting, or before it's time to hit the dancefloor. Changing into a reception dress can signal to your wedding guests that it's time to get the party started!

  • What can I wear for my wedding reception?

    The sky's the limit! Some popular reception outfit choices are mini dresses, allover sequin styles, simple slip dresses, bridal suits, and jumpsuits.

Why Trust Brides

Contributing writer Sophie Moore is a former fashion editor at Brides and is an expert in all things bridal attire, from couture wedding gowns to the perfect "something blue" accessory. She researches and sources the best fashion items for brides, grooms, wedding guests, wedding parties, and more.

Related Stories