25 Stunning Wedding Reception Dresses for Every Bridal Style

From modern mini dresses to sequin slip dresses.

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wedding reception

PHOTO BY MORGANE LAY AND JONNY COCHERANE

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.

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

01
of 22

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

off-the-shoulder 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.

02
of 22

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.

03
of 22

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.

04
of 22

Best High/Low Style: Whistles Lace Two Piece

reception dress

Courtesy of Whistles

If you're a bride who wants to show a little skin and move about the dancefloor with ease you'll love this lace two-piece from Whistles with a slightly cropped top and a high/low hemline that barely grazes the floor.

05
of 22

For a Formal Wedding: Roland Mouret Bow-Shoulder Silk-Cloqué Gown

reception dress

 Courtesy of Matchesfashion

A reception dress by no means has to be more casual than your wedding dress. We love this structured gown featuring soft details like a shoulder bow and a gentle ruffle for a black-tie wedding.

06
of 22

Best Tea-Length: By Watters Swiss Dot Tulle Dress

teal-length dress

Courtesy of BHLDN 

Featuring retro details like a bustier bodice and a tea-length hem, this By Watters dress is perfect for the bride with a vintage-inspired aesthetic.

07
of 22

Best Mini: Bardot Strapless Taffeta Mini Dress with Ruffles

reception dress

 Courtesy of David's Bridal

Show off those curves in this strapless body-hugging number. We love the idea of adding a veil or a modern headpiece to complete the look.

08
of 22

Best Floral Style: Zimmermann Tie Shoulder Dress

floral dress

Courtesy of Shopbop

Who says you have to wear white to your wedding or to any of your other parties? Whether you choose to wear a colorful dress for your rehearsal dinner, ceremony, or reception this floral Zimmermann dress is perfect for a spring or summer wedding.

09
of 22

For a Black-Tie Wedding: Carolina Herrera Gathered Silk-Poplin Mini Dress

reception 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.

10
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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.

11
of 22

For a Garden Wedding: Zimmermann Lace Eyelet Linen-Blend Midi Dress

reception dress

Courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue 

Nothing says summer or warm weather quite like eyelet lace and linen and this Zimmermann style has both! After the ceremony, slip into this easy, breezy dress for a light and carefree look.

12
of 22

Most Whimsical: Theia Sequin Mini Dress

reception dress

Courtesy of BHLDN

If you're a bride who's looking for a little whimsy when it comes to your bridal style, check out this fun sequin mini that says it all.

13
of 22

For the Classic Bride: Carolina Herrera Bridal Off-The-Shoulder Bow-Embellished Silk Midi Dress

reception dress

Courtesy of Moda Operandi 

For the bride who leans towards a classic and traditional aesthetic, we've found this midi dress from Carolina Herrera. Featuring a subtle bow on the bodice and crafted from light-weight silk, this style is perfect for a summer or city wedding.

14
of 22

Most Embellished: White by Vera Wang Sequin Plus Size Mini Dress

reception dress

 Courtesy of David's Bridal

This White by Vera Wang plus size mini dress is from the designer's "Party" collection making it a no brainer choice for the bride who's looking for something especially fun and sparkly for their wedding day.

15
of 22

For the Romantic Bride: Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini V-Neck Sequin Dress

reception dress

Courtesy of Shopbop

If it's subtle sparkle that you're craving, this v-neck number features allover sequins of a more muted and less metallic variety. This dress was designed with hidden pockets perfect for stashing your lipstick and phone!

16
of 22

For the Sexy Bride: Tadashi Shoji Long Sleeve Lace Dress

reception dress

Courtesy of Tadashi Shoji

Show off those legs in the body-hugging mini dress complete with a plunging neckline and graphic floral lace.

17
of 22

Most Unique: Fame and Partners Peplum Hem Dress

reception dress

 Courtesy of Shopbop

A peplum hem provides a dress with movement making it perfect for dancing. Unique details like an asymmetrical neckline and a ruffle bell sleeve sets this dress apart from the rest.

18
of 22

For a Destination Wedding: Badgley Mischka One-Shoulder Floral Dress

reception dress

Courtesy of 11 Honoré

 

If you're getting married in the spring or summer where floral motifs are a must of if you're looking for something that is anything but bridal white, then this vibrant one-shoulder gown is the perfect fit.

19
of 22

For the Minimalist Bride: Galvan Silk-Satin Halter Neck Dress

halter neck dress

Courtesy of Matchesfashion 

All eyes will be on you when you make your entrance in this pearlescent and impossibly chic silk-satin dress designed with the minimalist bride in mind.

20
of 22

Best for the Afterparty: 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!)

21
of 22

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.

22
of 22

Best Slip Dress: Amsale Satin Bias Dress

slip dress

 Courtesy of Amsale

You can never go wrong with an elegant slip dress. This style from Amsale is crafted from fluid satin and features pin-thin straps, a flattering cowl neck, and a delicate lace hem.

Shopping FAQs

Searching for the perfect reception dress? We've answered three common questions brides ask when shopping for a reception dress.

  • 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. A reception dress can range from casual and comfortable to short and sparkly.
  • When should I change into my reception dress? It's really up to you! 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.

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