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From Day to Night: Changing Your Wedding Day Look from the Ceremony to the Reception

Even though, in combination, they form the beautiful event that is your wedding, the ceremony and reception are two very different affairs. One is formal, official, ritualistic, and momentous. The other is relaxed, merry, conversational, and delicious. While both of these separate aspects of your day will be extremely meaningful, there is no denying their differences.

In order to account for the shifting mood from the ceremony to the reception, some modern brides change their look between the two. This transition typically reflects the difference between the formal affair that is your ceremony and the party that is your reception. Any part of a wedding day look, from the top of the head to the soles of the feet, can be altered as the couple and their guests transition from day to night.

shortened dress

Wedding dress trains are gorgeous during the ceremony, a shock of pure white material trailing you as you walk down the aisle toward your man. But unfortunately, these trains turn into a nightmare for brides when it comes time for the reception. Those who came before us have invented a solution to this dilemma! Many wedding dresses are now designed to either detach or cinch up the skirt. Two-in-one wedding dresses contain a detachable portion that alters the look, typically to make the dress more sleek or short.

different dress

Maybe you found the perfect dress for your wedding ceremony but it just doesn’t seem to fit in with your reception. Say yes to the dress again! Find a more casual dress that complements the decor and activities at your reception. In order to avoid spending a fortune, look for white prom dresses or other formal gowns in that color. Maybe you even have a little white dress already in your possession!

outfit change

Each bride will have a different gauge of what is appropriate for her big day. Some brides prioritize comfort over all else when it comes to their wedding day look. Such brides are willing to take casual to the next level by completely changing their outfit. You could change into a white romper, jumpsuit, or sweatpants. It’s your day, so feel free to dress how you feel comfortable at your wedding reception. (You might want to give mom a heads up if you plan to arrive in bridal pajamas — you don’t want to make her faint.)

add an element

You could take off part of your dress, change into a different dress, or grab a completely different outfit. But you can also add on pieces rather than removing them. Incorporate a jacket, scarf, belt, or head band into your ceremony look for a reception twist.


During a wedding ceremony, a natural makeup look is often appropriate, reinforcing the purity, authenticity, and simplicity of the event. But the reception is the perfect opportunity to pull out all the cosmetic stops, to wow your guests and your man. Before heading over to the second half of your night, apply more dramatic eyeliner. Throw on a fun color of lipstick. Use highlighting powder to make your skin shimmer. Use glitter, sparkles, and bright colors generously if they suit your fancy and your overall look.


While you could completely transform your hairstyle between the ceremony and reception, the most effortless and easy option is to switch from an up-do to a down-do, or vice versa. Let your hair stylists know at the beginning of the day that you plan to make this switch. With that knowledge, they can situate the pins, bands, clips, and other hair items accordingly to make the transition as seamless as possible. Instead of making your stylist wait until after your ceremony and pictures to give you a new look, ask a bridesmaid or other talented friend to perform the switch.


If anything is capable of transforming a wedding day look, accessories should be included in the mix. Maybe you went with more understated pieces for your ceremony to give your dress all the attention. Your reception is the perfect opportunity to pull out your most bold and beautiful accessories! Throw on that hunky diamond necklace. Line your wrists with pearl bracelets. Bedazzle your hair with lustrous pins.


Happy feet, happy bride. A ceremony and pictures afterwords require a large amount of standing for a bride, often in less than comfortable shoes. Those sky-high heels may look killer, but they feel that way too. Give your feet a break for the reception so that you can focus on enjoying your friends, family, and festivities. Snag your flip flops, sandals, Toms, Converse, or go barefoot!

Transforming your wedding day look from the ceremony to the reception can be incredibly easy. With the right alterations, you can create two separate looks that perfectly cater to these two very different aspects of your big day. Plan out your differing looks ahead of time so that you can effortlessly shift from day to night on your wedding day!

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