When a bride falls in love with two dresses and simply can’t choose, or her deliciously OTT ceremony gown is just too awkward for the extra movement and dancing involved in a reception, it is perfectly acceptable for her to change into another outfit during celebrations. But what about the bridesmaids? Is it okay for bridesmaids to get changed for the reception?
There are two schools of thought here, with some saying it is a total faux pas to consider even asking to wear something other than what bridesmaids wear for the ceremony, and others saying once the ceremony and photos are done, so are the bridesmaids’ official duties.
When looking at it from an etiquette point of view, bridesmaids should ask the couple if they would like to change and respect their wishes if they say no.
But, in the name of a fair debate, let’s look at some of the for and against points for allowing bridesmaids to change into another dress for the reception.
PRO: It’s all unofficial
The ‘reception dress’ won’t be in any of the official wedding photos as after the announcement at the start of the reception, most of the photos will be of the couple cutting the cake, the first dance, garter toss etc. If you allow your bridesmaids to get changed, then at the reception they will just look like a guest.
CON: Less mileage
You may have spent some time agonising over how to dress your bridal party so their outfits reflect your wedding style or colour palette, so it would be a shame for this to fade away at the reception. Your bridesmaids may have paid for their own dresses, and changing into another one means they won’t get as much mileage out of the investment.
PRO: Comfort factor
If your bridesmaids have sacrificed comfort to look amazing in the outfits you had your heart set on, it may be nice to reward them with the chance to get more comfortable in something else for the party element of the day.
It’s hard enough finding an easy way to carry the essentials, like lippy, mints, and water, throughout the day, so finding a place to keep a second outfit for your bridesmaids is a whole new problem. It will take some pre-planning, but your bridesmaids should be able to find a place to drop their second outfit off at the reception venue so they can discreetly slip away to change
CON: Different kind of blending
With a change of outfits, your bridesmaids will go from blending into the bridal party to blending in with the rest of the guests.
You may be the kind of bride who is not worried about what your bridesmaids wear, but if you are approached by one of your bridesmaids with a request to change at the reception, take the time to talk things through with them to get to the underlying reason.
They may not usually be dress wearers and be uncomfortable, they may not feel confident wearing the dress you have chosen, or they may simply want to be able to let their hair down a little more. If you get an understanding of why they are asking, you might be able to work through things to reach a resolution if you aren’t 100% down with the idea.