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 that practically feel and look like couture.
A second look is the perfect opportunity to wear something totally unexpected and different than your ceremony dress, while keeping with the theme and colors of your wedding, if you choose.
While the ideal dress will depend on the bride's individual style and wedding theme, for the minimalist bride who covets clean lines and sleek silhouettes, a simple and chic slip dress never disappoints. And if you're headed to City Hall for your nuptials, modern jumpsuits, and structured sets are the perfect complement to any courthouse wedding.
Whether you're throwing a casual backyard ceremony or a glamorous black-tie wedding, we've combed through countless styles and researched gorgeous dresses to suit every style, wedding aesthetic, and budget. For the bride who's ready to get down on the dance floor, the Adore 2Way Strapless Dress and Sachin & Babi Pippa One-Shoulder Pearl-Embellished Dress are the perfect party mini dresses. Looking for something ultra-elegant and chic? We love the Hope & Ivy Bridal Bow Back Maxi Dress.
Read on for the best wedding reception dresses for every bridal style.
Nookie Adore 2Way Strapless Dress with Detachable Bow
Size Range: XS-XL | Materials: Nylon, poly, spandex | Length: Mini | Shipping: Free 2-day shipping | Return policy: Full refund within 60 days
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 dance floor. You'll feel fancy all night long but be ready to dance without a long train getting in your way.
Price at time of publish: $369
For the Laidback Bride
Reformation Butterfly Dress
Size Range: 0-12 | Materials: Viscose | Length: Ankle-length | Shipping: Free standard shipping | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days
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. We love the look for a laidback summer wedding.
Price at time of publish: $328
For a Warm Weather Wedding
Lulus Lace Off-the-Shoulder Midi Dress
Size Range: XS-XL | Materials: Cotton, nylon | Length: Mid-calf length | Shipping: Free standard shipping on orders over $50; $5 flat rate shipping on orders under $50 | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days
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. The flared skirt will keep all eyes on you as you twirl around the dance floor.
Price at time of publish: $82
Best Under $60
Lulus Sealed with a Kiss Bodycon Dress
Size Range: XXS-XL | Materials: Rayon, nylon | Length: Mini-length | Shipping: Free standard shipping on orders over $50; $5 flat rate shipping on orders under $50 | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days
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. A budget-friendly option, it will also keep you cool and comfortable in medium-weight stretch knit.
Price at time of publish: $58
Ronny Kobo Nole Deep-V Belted Wide-Leg Jumpsuit
Size Range: XS-XL | Materials: Nylon | Length: Floor-length | Shipping: $4.95-$10.95 standard shipping | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days
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. We love this option for the bride looking to make a statement.
Price at time of publish: $567
Most After-Party Ready
Retrofête Claire Belted Sequin Mini Dress
Size Range: XS-XL | Materials: Polyester | Length: Mini-length | Shipping: Shipping rates vary | Return policy: Full refund within 28 days
Nothing says celebration quite like an allover sequin mini. This sparkly number was born for the dance floor and made for an afterparty that goes late into the night (and morning!) We particularly love this high-shine number as an unexpected counterpart to a more traditional ceremony dress.
Price at time of publish: $485
Cult Gaia Shannon Feather Mini Dress
Size Range: XS-L | Materials: Viscose, ostrich feathers | Length: Mini-length | Shipping: $10 ground shipping | Return policy: Full refund within 7 days
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. The ostrich-feather trimmed dress also comes in other colors if you'd like to shun tradition and don a bright shade.
Price at time of publish: $1,198
Best Slip Dress
Fame and Partners Rosabel Dress
Size Range: 0-16 | Materials: Polyester | Length: Floor-length | Shipping: Free 2-day shipping | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days
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 and unexpected details like a cowl neckline and thigh-high slit.
Price at time of publish: $279
For a Courthouse Wedding
Silk Maison Mini Silk Blazer Dress
Size Range: XS-L | Materials: Silk | Length: Mini-length | Shipping: Free shipping worldwide on orders over $259; $18 for shipping on orders under $259 | Return policy: Full refund within 15 days
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. It's also versatile, so practical brides will love the chance to wear it again.
Price at time of publish: $279
Best Subtle Details
Markarian Exclusive Melia Asymmetric Silk Midi Dress
Size Range: 0-6 | Materials: Silk | Length: Midi-length | Shipping: $10 standard shipping fee| Return Policy: Full refund within 28 days
All eyes will be on you when you make your entrance in this captivating one-shoulder dress designed with the minimalist bride in mind. It's cut from luminous silk and trimmed with faux crystals for a look that's both elegant and fun.
Price at time of publish: $3,295
Best Bridal Suit
Banana Republic Lido Sculpted Italian Wool Blazer and Wide-Leg Pant
Size Range: 0-20; Short, Regular, Petite | Materials: Virgin wool | Length: Floor-length | Shipping: $4.95-$10.95 standard shipping | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days
More of a fashion-forward bride? Go for this ultra-cool wedding suit. We love the jacket paired with a silky camisole or a sexy bralette for a more daring look. The impeccably tailored wide-leg trousers feel modern and polished.
Price at time of publish: $349
Camila Coelho Megara Mini Dress
Size Range: XS-XL | Materials: Polyester, spandex, ostrich and turkey feathers mixed | Length: Mini-length | Shipping: Free 2-day shipping | Return policy: Full refund within 60 days
Changing into a reception dress pretty much signals that it's time to get the party started–so have fun with your look! We love this sparkly mini dress complete with a unique feather hem, perfect for taking you from the reception to the afterparty.
Price at time of publish: $318
For the Classic Bride
Rixo Leanna Bow-Embellished Midi Dress
Size Range: 6 UK-12 UK | Materials: Triacetate, polyester, viscose | Length: Midi-length | Shipping: Shipping rates vary | Return policy: Full refund within 14 days
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 lightweight fabric, this style is perfect for a summer or city wedding. Wear your hair up to showcase the pin-thin spaghetti straps and elegant neckline.
Price at time of publish: $485
Katie May Elle Mini Dress
Size Range: XS-XL | Materials: Nylon, polyester, spandex | Length: Mini-length | Shipping: Free 2-day shipping | Return policy: Full refund within 60 days
Equal parts sweet and playful, this forthy tulle mini dress is sure to leave a lasting impression. It features a boned bodice for extra structure and support as well as a banded waist for a figure-flattering look. We love the idea of adding a veil or a modern headpiece to complete your ensemble.
Price at time of publish: $525
For a Formal Wedding
Hope & Ivy Bridal Bow Back Maxi Dress
Size Range: 2-12 | Materials: Polyester | Length: Floor-length | Shipping: Free on orders $49.99+; $7 flat rate on orders less than $49.99 | Return policy: Full refund within 28 days
If you're searching for a formal reception dress that feels special but doesn't compete with your wedding gown, may we suggest this floor-length number? Timeless and supremely elegant, this pared-back dress makes for the perfect second look for a black-tie wedding.
Price at time of publish: $286
Sachin & Babi Pippa One-Shoulder Pearl-Embellished Mini Dress
Size Range: 0-16 | Materials: Polyester dupioni | Length: Mini-length | Shipping: $4.95-$10.95 standard shipping | Return policy: Full refund within 30 days
Looking to show off your legs (and moves!) on the dance floor? This pearl-embellished mini is the ultimate party dress. Pair yours with matching white accessories or go bold with colorful strappy sandals, fun earrings, and a red lip.
Price at time of publish: $598
Starlet Bridal Backless Cowl Neck Embellished Maxi Dress
Size Range: 2-12 | Materials: Polyester | Length: Midi-length | Shipping: Free on orders $49.99+; $7 flat rate on orders less than $49.99 | Return policy: Full refund within 28 days
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. This body-skimming, breezy pick will keep you comfortable while you twirl the night away.
Price at time of publish: $124
What to Look for in a Wedding Reception Dress
A reception dress is one type of "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. If you're looking to make a statement with your second look, there are plenty of styles to be found in pretty pastel hues and unexpected vibrant prints. 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. You also may want to consider your comfort. A summer bride will appreciate a quick change into a mini dress made from light and airy fabrics like linen or cotton.
When should I change into my reception dress?
One of the keys to managing multiple bridal looks is timing. And the good news is totally 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.
Why Trust Us
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.