18 Wedding Reception Dresses to Make a (Second) Grand Entrance In

Wow your guests with a show-stopping second look.
Three white reception dresses
Photos, left to right: Anthropologie, ELOQUII, A.L.C.
sofia deeb headshot
Sofia Deeb
sofia deeb headshot
Sofia Deeb
Assistant Fashion Commerce Editor
  • Sofia writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide with a specialty in fashion and e-commerce.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Sofia was a writer for Santa Barbara Life and Style Magazine.
  • Sofia studied cultural anthropology and journalism at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Updated Jul 27, 2023
We have included third party products to help you navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments. Purchases made through links on this page may earn us a commission.

Brides, here's the sitch: You certainly don't need a second, separate reception dress—especially if you feel totally comfortable in the gown you're wearing to your ceremony—but in the case that a long train, voluminous skirt or otherwise cumbersome style will get in the way of you burning down the dance floor at your reception (or after-party), a short or streamlined second dress is the perfect option for you. And, if you are in the market for a sassy reception dress—you're in luck. Shorter hemlines and sleek silhouettes took over the Bridal Fashion Week runways and are a major wedding fashion trend for 2023-24. Keep reading to discover 18 of our top shoppable styles.

Do I Need a Second Dress for My Wedding Reception?

The short answer: No. When it comes to your wedding wardrobe, you make the rules. If you want to get the most use possible out of your wedding gown (after all, it's likely the most expensive piece of clothing you'll ever own), then a second look might be too extra for you. However, if you're looking to fully embrace every bridal fashion moment, you could consider slipping into something stylish (and comfortable) after the ceremony. We love seeing modern brides trade in their ballgowns and heels for a sexy slip and sneakers to dance the night away in at their reception. Celebs like Sofia Richie Grainge, Hailey Bieber and Serena Williams have also wow'ed with their second looks, proving that two grand entrances are always better than one.

18 Best Wedding Reception Dresses for the Bride

Got your dancing shoes ready? You'll need a dress to match. Luckily, we've got plenty of options for you. Keep reading to discover 18 of the best wedding reception dresses for every style, budget and dress code.

Best Formal: Jenny Yoo Harlyn High-Neck Open-Back Wedding Gown

White satin reception dress with side slit from Jenny Yoo
Photo: Anthropologie

Still can't get over Meghan Markle's reception dress? Us either. It's easy to capture a similar look for your own celebration with this streamlined satin gown. With a halter neckline, open back and side leg slit, it's as sexy as it is elegant.

Size Range: 0 - 16

Best Semi–Formal: Show Me Your Mumu Reese Ruffle Dress Ivory Luxe Satin

White ruffled midi dress from Show Me Your Mumu
Photo: Show Me Your Mumu

We don't want to *ruffle* any feathers when we say that this ruffled midi dress is unmatched for a semi-formal event. Dress is up with a pair of pumps, or down with sandals. Either way, you'll be reception-ready.

Size Range: XXS - 3XL

Best Casual: Reformation Rowen Linen Dress

White linen midi dress from Reformation
Photo: Reformation

Embrace your inner cottagecore with this A-line midi dress. Made from lightweight linen, it's sure to keep you feeling (and looking) cool during a casual backyard reception. Top off your look with a pair of woven wedgies and stylish sunnies.

Size Range: 0 - 24

Best Mini: Lulus Tulle Intentions White Strapless Tiered Tulle Mini Dress

White tiered tulle mini reception dress from Lulus
Photo: Lulus

Looking for a fashion-forward look that won't weigh you down on the dancefloor? Consider this charming mini dress. Made from pleated tiers of tulle, it offers all the glam of a ballgown, without any fabric to trip over.

Size Range: XS - XL

Best Maxi: Reformation Joana Silk Dress

White strapless silk reception dress from Reformation
Photo: Reformation

In our books, simple always makes a statement, and this strapless gown is a testament to that. Its streamlined silhouette offers the perfect blank canvas to accessorize with (our picks would be evening gloves or a bold necklace). Plus, it's made from luxuriously smooth silk—swoon.

Size Range: XS - XL

Best Midi: A.L.C. Delfina Matte Pleated Dress Whisper White

White one-shoulder pleated reception dress from A.L.C.
Photo: A.L.C.

If you're on the search for a reception outfit with rewear potential, this asymmetric pleated midi dress is it. Because it can easily be dressed up or down, it's guaranteed to make its way into your wardrobe rotation long after the wedding.

Size Range: 00 - 14

Best Trendy Option: The New Arrivals Lena in Temple White

White feather trim reception dress from The New Arrivals
Photo: The New Arrivals

This feather-trimmed column gown has 'celebration' written all over it, making it the perfect choice for your post-wedding festivities. Not to mention, feathers have been trending throughout 2023 and are showing no signs of slowing down.

Size Range: 34 - 40

Best Convertible Option: Retrofête Evalina Dress

White reception mini dress with detachable train from Retrofête
Photo: Retrofête

For the bride who believes entrances were made to be grand: Meet the reception dress of your dreams. The figure flattering mini can be worn with or without the detachable train (but if you're anything like us, you'll be rocking it for the photo-ops then taking it off when it's time to hit the dance floor).

Size Range: XXS - XXL

Best Slip: Fleur Du Mal Bow Slip Dress Ivory

White silk reception dress with bow detail from Fleur du Mal
Photo: Fleur du Mal

How about a sexy slip dress to take you straight from the dance floor to the hotel room. Thanks to its oversized bow detailing, the silk dress is the ideal way to *tie* your wedding wardrobe together (pun intended).

Size Range: XS - L

Best for the After Party: Audrey Adele Adelaide Feather & Sequin Mini Dress

Feather trim and sequin mini reception dress from Audrey Adele
Photo: Anthropologie

Here's a pick that's sure to get the party started. With a festive feather trim and all-over sequin embellishments, one thing's for sure: You won't need a discoball to shine when you're rocking this number.

Size Range: 0 - 16

Best in Black: The Bar Grayson Gown Black

Black silk maxi reception dress with white rosette detail from The Bar
Photo: The Bar

Keeping things classic for the ceremony? Why not break from tradition by sporting black to the reception? Thanks to its detachable rosette detailing, this silk maxi dress is a fashion-forward pick for 2024. Plus, it's also available in several other colors, including a traditional bridal white.

Size Range: 00 - 12

Best in Silver: Retrofête Doss Dress

Silver reception maxi dress from Retrofête
Photo: Retrofête

Get ready to turn heads for all the right reasons. This silver maxi dress was made for the bride who loves to stand out. It's available in several other vibrant metallics, all featuring an ultra-sexy side leg slit.

Size Range: XXS - XXL

Best in Gold: Reformation Annabelle Silk Dress

Soft gold and white reception maxi dress from Reformation
Photo: Reformation

Good news: You've struck gold on your search for the perfect wedding reception dress. This maxi dress, made from 100% silk, features a vintage-inspired cowl neck and modern floral print in soft gold and white—talk about the perfect pairing.

Size Range: 0 - 12

Best Sparkly: Bridal by ELOQUII Sequin Column Dress

White sequin reception dress from ELOQUII

There's no such thing as too much sparkle—ignore anyone who tells you otherwise. We'd go so far as to say you'll need to pair this shimmery gown with a T-Swift entrance song (may we humbly suggest "Bejeweled") and a set of evening gloves.

Size Range: 14 - 28

Best Boho: Bridal by ELOQUII One Shoulder Cutout Gown

White linen one-shoulder reception dress from ELOQUII

Here's a look that will seamlessly take you from the sea shore to the dance floor. The boho maxi dress is made from 100% linen, making ultra lightweight and breathable (a.k.a. perfect for the summertime).

Size Range: 14 - 28

Best Jumpsuit: Sachin & Babi Presly Jumpsuit

White sequin reception jumpsuit from Sachin & Babi
Photo: Sachin & Babi

Maybe pants are more your vibe. . . Or maybe you just want something comfortable to bust a move in. Either way, we think you'll love this all-over sequin embellished jumpsuit. We certainly do.

Size Range: 0 -14

Best Budget: Lulus Start of Forever Ivory Satin Halter Mermaid Maxi Dress

White satin halter neck reception maxi dress
Photo: Lulus

Spoiler alert: You can slay your reception look without breaking the bank. I mean, just take a look at this satin maxi dress. With a timeless silhouette and a price tag under $100, what's not to love?

Size Range: XS - XL

Best Splurge: Cult Gaia Hansal Gown

White maxi reception dress from Cult Gaia
Photo: Cult Gaia

Simple at the top and festive at the bottom—you get the best of both worlds with this maxi dress. If you're looking for a sign to treat yourself to an extra-special wedding reception look, consider this it.

Size Range: XS - XL

What to Look For In a Wedding Reception Dress

White Reception Dress

Looking to keep things classic? Take inspiration from Kate Middelton's regal reception look. She wore a satin A-line gown, with a sweetheart neckline, in ivory. Of course, there's all sorts of variety where white reception dresses are involved (a.k.a., plenty of ways to make a look your own while still being timeless).

Short Reception Dress

When it comes to wedding receptions, short dresses are, well… nothing short of perfection. They offer ultimate comfort to take you from dinner to dancing with ease. Plus, they're a great way to switch up your style if you donned a full-length gown during the ceremony.

Fun Reception Dress

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to wedding attire. If you're hoping to break from tradition on your day, your second look offers the perfect chance to do so—especially if you wore a classic look for the ceremony. Don't be afraid to reach for fun, eye-catching colors and prints when picking out your reception outfit. Sparkly reception dresses are always a sure way to get the party started as well.

Up Next
  • Collage of celebrities wearing chic wedding reception dresses.
    The 22 Best Celebrity Wedding Reception Dresses