bridal design






katherine bignon

dressmaker + stylist




Dear K, I Want a Wedding Dress + a Reception Dress, Can They Be Totally Different?

Dear K,

I want a wedding dress plus a reception dress. Can they be completely different, or do I need to make sure there’s continuity between the two gowns?




Dear Overwhelmed-and-confused-with-all-the-options,

I hear you! There are SO many different styles of wedding gowns out there, and when you consider a reception gown as well, it can get overwhelming fast! Should they look the same? Completely different? The same color, different colors?¬†When it comes to¬†continuity between the 2 gowns, there are a couple different things to consider! First, if your goal is to have two dresses, then obviously they don’t need to look the same, otherwise you wouldn’t invest in two SEPARATE gowns! BUT… If you shop for your gowns by looking for dresses that are a perfect representation of you and your style, then they will naturally have a bit of continuity to them anyways, even without looking identical!

The purpose of having a wedding dress plus a reception dress is typically because you need two different styles of dress. The gown you’ve been dreaming of since you were a little girl for your wedding, with the veil and the flowers and the whole shebang, and then a gown that works for dancing and twirling, and the big send-off. (Investing in a reception gown also means you don’t have to take your wedding gown to the hotel, and leave it in your car while it’s parked at the airport.)

So while the two gowns in no way need to look the same, I firmly believe that they both need to represent you, your style, and carry a certain bit of continuity… They shouldn’t be SO different that people would have a hard time believing they’re at the same wedding. [Ex: a silk ballgown for the wedding, paired with a super casual sundress for the reception + send-off… both dresses need to reflect the style of wedding + reception you’re hosting]

Here are three tips to keep in mind while designing the looks for your wedding, and starting the shopping experience:

-What is the purpose for your reception gown, and how does this specific dress fit that need? (Do you need a dress for dancing? A dress to run through bird-seed in? *don’t do this in a tulle dress!!* #youllthankmelater)

– How will the flow of the day look when the guests see you in the bridal gown, and then the reception gown. Is it a natural flow stylistically, or are the two dresses so completely and utterly different that people won’t even believe it’s the same bride? (You can absolutely transition from a big ball gown, to a shorter twirly dress, but they should still both carry the same elegant feel!)

– When you switch to the reception gown, will you be underdressed? You should never be less elegantly dressed than your guests, and if the gown you’ve selected for your reception is below the suggested dress code that you’ve requested of your guests, you need to reconsider it! The two dresses will be vastly too different if this is the case!

So, dear bride, here’s the answer in a nutshell! Yes, the two dresses must have continuity in terms of the same level of elegance and their representation of you and your style. But in terms of the two gowns being of a similar style, color, or silhouette, no, they do not need to reflect each other on this aspect!

xoxo, K

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