15 Trendy Wedding Reception Dresses That'll Make a Serious Statement
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.
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, BHLDN.com
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
Take a cue from Meghan Markle's second look with an effortless sheath dress featuring a halter neckline.
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
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
Whimsical tulle, a cape-like bodice and sequin embellishments are the makings of one dreamy reception dress.
Needle & Thread Sequin Ribbon Ballerina Dress, $619, BHLDN.com
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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