The Best Times to Change Into Your Second Wedding Outfit

Here's when to whip out dress number two.
maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
Maggie Seaver
maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
Maggie Seaver
Wedding Planning Expert
  • Maggie Seaver is an Associate Digital Editor at
  • Maggie writes about life, career, health, and more.
  • Maggie was an editor at The Knot from 2015 to 2019.
Updated Oct 10, 2018

Planning to slip into something more dance party appropriate for your wedding reception? Tons of brides (and grooms!) take the opportunity to swap their more formal ceremony attire (and even their hairstyle) for something simpler, breezier or a little more daring. Try a comfortable sheath, flirty minidress, bridal romper or jumpsuit—all the better for dancing the night away. If you have a second reception look up your sleeve, maximize time and photos ops in both outfits, and avoid missing too much of the celebration you've been planning for months. Here are a few good timing options for a quick outfit swap.

Right After the Ceremony and Photos

Want to arrive at cocktail hour in a new look? Have your second outfit ready to go so you can change first thing after the ceremony exit and/or photo session.

Between Cocktail Hour and the Reception

To get a little more wear out of your wedding dress and let your guests admire it up close, keep it on during cocktail hour (if you're planning to make an appearance at cocktail hour, that is). Sneak away to change as cocktail hour winds down, while guests are being called in to dinner and taking their seats. Your reception entrance will be the perfect time to debut a new party outfit.


Between Dinner and Dancing

Switch looks after your reception entrance, first dance and toasts. Alternatively, save your first dance for later in the evening instead of immediately following your entrance. That way you'll arrive at the party in your wedding dress and get to trot out a new ensemble for your first spin on the dance floor.

Mid-Dance Party, Before the Cake Cutting

Save your reception dress for a late-night debut—you know, once you've let your hair down and kicked off your heels. An outfit change in the middle of the dance party—and just in time for the cake cutting—will signal to guests the festivities are just getting going.

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