15 Trendy Wedding Reception Dresses That'll Make a Serious Statement

Wow your guests with a show-stopping second look.
Strapless wedding reception dress
shelley brown - the knot
Shelley Brown
shelley brown - the knot
Shelley Brown
Senior Fashion & Beauty Editor
  • Shelley writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a speciality in fashion, beauty, jewelry and accessories
  • Shelley writes and edits articles for The Knot magazine, as well as styles the magazine’s fashion and cover shoots
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Shelley was a freelance Digital Editor at Conde Nast’s Lucky Magazine and freelanced for FLAUNT Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Backstage.com and Paste.com
Updated Jan 09, 2021
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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 huge wedding fashion trend in 2021.

Editor's note: The term "second wedding dress" can actually be a tricky one, and in our modern day and age take on a slew of different meanings. This article addresses gowns for your second reception look, but if you're looking for a different definition of a second wedding dress — don't sweat it, we've got you covered here.

Check out 15 chic, shoppable options—that range from short and sweet to long and sexy—below.

BHLDN reception dress

This vintage-inspired midi dress with a fitted bustier bodice and swishy, swiss dot skirt is just made for twirling the night away.

By Watters Lynette Gown, $995, Anthropologie.com

sequin reception dress

There's no such thing as too much sparkle where a second reception dress is concerned. This glitzy shift dress with a high neckline and voluminous sleeves brings the retro-glam vibes.

Julia Jordan Sequin Long Sleeve Shift Dress, $129, Nordstrom.com

Galvan reception dress

Take a cue from Meghan Markle's second look with an effortless sheath dress featuring a halter neckline.

GALVAN Pandora silk-satin halterneck midi dress, $1,095, Net-a-Porter.com

Saks reception dress

If you're looking for a fashion-forward detail that won't weigh you down, consider wispy plumes. A flirty, feather hemline gives a tailored minidress some fun flair.

Cinq à Sept Catherine Feather-Trimmed Mini Dress, $495, Saks.com

Lulus reception dress

While short dresses may be a popular option for reception dresses, you don't have to sacrifice length to find a comfortable style. This stretch knit, mermaid maxi dress is easy to maneuver in. Plus, sheer lace cutouts give it a va va voom boost.

Lulus Lace Me See White Lace Cutout Mermaid Maxi Dress, $78, Lulus.com

BHLDN reception dress

Whimsical tulle, a cape-like bodice and sequin embellishments are the makings of one dreamy reception dress.

Needle & Thread Sequin Ribbon Ballerina Dress, $619, Anthropologie.com

Nordstrom reception dress

Equal parts sultry and chic, this curve-skimming jersey gown with an asymmetrical neckline and high slit shows just the right amount of skin.

La Femme One-Shoulder Jersey Gown, $198, Nordstrom.com

Retrofete reception dress

This glittery minidress is short on hemline—but big on personality. Just add a pair of strappy heels and you're ready to hit the dance floor.

RETROFÊTE Aubrielle sequined chiffon mini dress, $535, Net-a-Porter.com

Solace London reception dress

Take some inspo from the maximalism of the '80s (in a tasteful way, of course) and opt for a reception dress with bold details, like this midi dress featuring an off-the-shoulder neckline with a giant ruffle trim.

Solace London Raina Midi Dress, $570, Shopbop.com

Galvan reception dress

Modern, minmalist slip dresses are one of the hottest wedding fashion trends out there. Thanks to layers of monochromatic sequins, this one has "party dress" written all over it.

GALVAN Mykonos sequined metallic tulle midi dress $1,400, Net-a-Porter.com

Saks reception dress

A silky gown with a lace bodice gives you the sex appeal of a slinky silhouette, but the added coverage of a more modest neckline.

Cami NYC Manuel Silk Dress, $495, Saks.com

reception dress

This strapless, drop waist reception dress with a ruched bodice has serious Carrie Bradshaw vibes—and we're here for it. All that's missing is a killer pair of heels.

AUTEUR India Dress, $450, FWRD.com

Lulus reception dress

Give a nod to the swinging era of Gatsby with a reception dress featuring shimmery silver sequins, intricate embroidery and a scalloped hem.

Lulus Lele White and Silver Sequin Mini Dress, $87, Lulus.com

Saks reception dress

A cascading, oversize drape bow detail has all the visual drama of a longer silhouette—but none of the weight.

Carolina Herrera Strapless Side Drape Silk Midi Dress, $2,990, Saks.com

Amsale reception dress

The perfect combo of sparkle and preppy polish, this timeless sheath dress with allover clear sequins is festive but still timeless.

Little White Dress by Amsale LW159 Sequin Sheath Dress, $440, Amsale.com

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