*When shopping for a wedding dress, it can be tempting to scoop up every breathtaking ensemble in the bridal boutique. But how may outfit changes is too many? Our etiquette experts weigh in on determining the best number of ensembles to sport on the big day. *
Most brides who opt for an outfit change only choose two ensembles: one look for the ceremony and a subsequent look for the reception. The reason behind the quick change is often to echo the solemnity of the ceremony and the celebratory spirit of the reception with separate, location-approriate clothing. A ball gown may not be conducive to a night of dancing, and an embellished mini dress is largely considered too ostentatious for a traditional ceremony. Brides typically select a more formal gown with a corresponding veil for their "I dos," and a shorter or less voluminous frock for twirling the night away at the reception.
Then again, more than one wardrobe change isn't unheard of. Some brides choose to honor the religious background of their own family and that of their fiancé with several distinct ensembles, and a small number of brides simply want to wear three or more outfits on their big day. Opting for upwards of one wardrobe change is absolutely within your rights as a bride; after all, on what other occasion is it appropriate to sport three designer ensembles in one evening?
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Before sprinting towards the local bridal boutique in pursuit of ten standout wedding looks, there are several factors to consider. First, think of the practicality of changing multiple times during your wedding. Switching your wardrobe once or even twice can easily be factored into the schedule, but three or more sartorial interludes may cause you to miss out on your big day. Second, contemplate your budget. If you possess an unlimited budget, by all means shop to your heart's desire for two or three couture gowns.
Brides with a more concrete budget may find that their options for multiple wardrobe transformations are more limited. If that's the case, choosing one perfect gown towards the top of your budget to wear throughout the entire wedding is definitely better than settling for three or more gowns of lesser quality. Finally, think about why you want to change your dress several times. If it's because you're uncertain or unhappy with your first gown, you may simply need to rethink the choice and find a piece that is even more perfect for you.