Choosing just one wedding dress can be difficult to say the least. With so many styles out there, and with new wedding dress trends emerging all the time, settling on one is a challenge! If you simply can't make your mind up, or you love the idea of changing into something a little more party appropriate as the evening arrives, then you'll be relieved to know that buying a second dress - or a wedding reception dress - is totally acceptable (in fact, around here it's practically encouraged).
The key things you’re looking for in a wedding reception dress are: easy to dance and eat in (it’s about having fun, after all!), and a completely different style to your first wedding dress. There aren’t really any rules around when you change into a second dress. It could be after your photos, post-dinner for the cake cutting, or just a party outfit for an evening full of dancing.
The best thing about a wedding reception dress is – while it can be white too – you can go wild with really dramatic sequins, bold patterns, high glamour or something more laid-back that you can dance up a storm in.
We’ve got you covered with every kind of wedding reception dress (and a few jumpsuits) you could want. There’s lots of different prices points as it depends on each bride whether she wants to invest in the ceremony dress or the reception dress. Here are our favourite wedding reception dresses for 2021!
NB: We have included third party products to help you navigate and enjoy life’s biggest moments. Purchases made through links on this page may earn us a commission.
- White Wedding Reception Dresses
- Colourful Wedding Reception Dresses
- Sequin Wedding Reception Dresses
- Short Wedding Reception Dresses
1. Silky Satin Midi Moonshine – £190, Grace Loves Lace
Slip dresses are the style of the season. This off-white satin midi is feminine and effortlessly flattering due to a bias cut and flared hem that accentuates curves. Consider it an essential for summer or destination wedding after-parties, but we’d also adore it topped with a faux fur or denim jacket in the winter.
2. Boudoir Wedding Pearl Wedding Dress - Etsy, £308
If you're opting for a formal wedding dress during the day, then why not change into a romantic number in the evening? This stunning blush rose gown looks straight from the pages of a fairy tale, complete with balloon sleeves and pearls. Dreamy!
3. Love Spell Designs Paloma Cape Dress – £539, Etsy
Your reception is the time to go wild with design! Keep the traditional dresses for the ceremony and focus on dramatic details for your wedding reception dress, like the gorgeous lace sleeves and open back on this gown. The front features a thigh-grazing split and pools into a mermaid hem. If you want sexy and modern, this is the one.
READ MORE: 125 Songs to Rock Your Reception Arrival
4. Wild Rose Ruffle Gown – £425, Needle & Thread
Chic, feminine, intricate and flattering: feel like a princess in this floaty, ruffled tulle Needle & Thread dress that’s crying out to be twirled in. We love this for a warm summer evening or a destination wedding.
5. Galvan Amalfi Sequinned Gown – £1,150, Harrods
There’s no doubt who the star of your wedding is in this statement white gown from Galvan. The sleek silhouette and shimmering sequins will keep all eyes on you all evening. If you’re a bride with a flair for drama, there’s no better choice.
6. Gimlet Dress – £390, Reformation
Turn up the heat as the party gets started with this chic, off the shoulder dress from Reformation. The fitted bodice and thigh-hight split will ensure all eyes are on you for your big day!
7. Carlotta Dress – £139, House of CB
Just because you’re wearing bridal white doesn’t mean you can’t be sexy too. Feel like a goddess in this ruched and draped chiffon dress that features off the shoulder sleeves. If you’re proud of your curves, a short, hourglass dress like this shows them off to full effect. P.S. it also comes in wine red if you want to stand out even more.
READ MORE: 45 of the Best High Street Wedding Dresses
8. Tatum Jumpsuit – Justin Alexander Signature
Jumpsuits are having a real moment this year thanks to a surge in cool, intimate city weddings, and this stretch crepe number from Justin Alexander would be a perfect party option for your big day. Pair with some heeled court shoes and let that bodice do the talking!
9. Loyola Set – £1,650, Grace Loves Lace
Two pieces are brilliant for receptions as they allow for so much movement. We love the boho-inspired set from Grace Loves Lace - it’s luxury, yet free-spirited and ideal for a laid back bride. if your budget doesn't stretch to this as your wedding reception dress, then you could always consider this as your main wedding dress and swap out the skirt for a chic pair of white trousers in the evening?
10. Corset Bodice Glitter Tulle Midi Dress – £100, Chi Chi London
If you can’t be extra at your wedding reception, when can you? Just check out the glitter tulle skirt and bodice on this fun Chi Chi London dress - the perfect party frock for your big day!
11. Neve Embellished Bodice Maxi Dress - £250, Needle & Thread
If you're looking for something flattering that shows off just a bit of skin, then look no further than this romantic Needle & Thread maxi dress. Scattered with sparkling floral sequins, the layers of frothy tulle will make you look and feel as though you're walking on air!
12. Puff Sleeve Asymmetric Jumpsuit – £85, Lavish Alice
Look sharp in this unique one shoulder puff sleeve jumpsuit with gathered drape detail. Perfect for a fashion-forward bride, this jumpsuit will be so easy to wear while sipping cocktails with your nearest and dearest.
13. Floral Embroidery Midi Dress - £95, & Other Stories
If you're marrying in the summer months then having a lighter, more relaxed dress to change into in the evening will be a godsend. We love the floral embroidery and self-tie straps on this pretty & Other Stories dress - pair with flats and you'll be all set for dancing into the small hours!
14. Satin Slip Dress - £24.99, H&M
Yes, another slip dress because yes, we are obsessed. This option from high street favourite H&M is perfect for brides who are looking for a midi length while still wanting to show some skin. Pop on some platforms and you're good to go!
15. Party Feather-Trim Pyjama Set - £255, Sleeper
Now we know you shouldn't have favourites, but if we had to pick one fun wedding reception outfit then this pyjama set from Sleeper would be up there. Loved by influencers, we guarantee you'll be feeling stylish as well as ridiculously comfy in this look!
16. Celia Long Sleeved Bridal Gown – £650, Needle & Thread
The embellishments on this gown feature ornate florals and ribbon bows, which, combined with that incredible 'strawberry icing' shade, make for an incredibly romantic and unique wedding reception dress. If you’re looking to combine glamour with comfort, this loose fit style with soft tulle is ideal.
READ MORE: 30 Beautiful Pink Wedding Dresses
17. Celestia Dress - £300, Reformation
The best types of wedding reception dresses are the ones you can wear again and again, which could definitely be said for this pretty Reformation number. We'd totally copy how the brand have styled it with the addition of a flower crown too!
18. Atos Style 118 - £660, Pronovias
Be sure to make an entrance at your wedding reception in this green Pronovias gown. With flattering batwing sleeves, dramatic front opening and sweeping train, all eyes will be on you as you twirl around the dance floor.
19. The Vampire’s Wife Falconetti Dress – £1,595, Liberty
Party dresses don't come much more luxe than this metallic chiffon Vampire's Wife number. The frilled skirt and ruffle sleeves create a striking silhouette and we can guarantee you'll want to wear this to every event you go to after the big day!
20. Raquel Diniz Lucy Glittered Velvet Maxi Dress – £399, The Outnet
This dress was loosely inspired by Dynasty so you know it’s a showstopper. Plush red velvet is topped with silver glitter; a sultry keyhole front and thigh-high split flash a little leg. We’re a little obsessed.
21. Nikita Dress - £248, Reformation
The Nikita dress is one of Reformation's most popular pieces, and for good reason. The combination of the fitted bodice and waist with the relaxed fitting skirt and midi length is super flattering, and it's simple enough to pair with some bold accessories too.
22. Shoreline Dress - $325 (approx £233), Staud
For brides who want to make an impact, we can't think of a better dress than this Staud number. With adjustable straps and a flounce hem, we can see this working perfectly at a laid back, festival-themed celebration.
23. Alex Perry Marin One-Shoulder Dress – £1,477, My Theresa
The fear of wearing a non-white dress is that you might end up blending in with the fancier-dressed guests. Not with a stand-out gown like this one-shoulder, floor-length pink dream! It couldn’t be more eye-catching.
24. Persephone Green One-Shoulder Dress - £525, Galvan
We love the simple yet flattering silhouette of this Galvan dress. The stretch-knit fabric is comfy and clings to all the right places, making it a show-stopping choice for your wedding reception!
25. Zoey Sequinned Dress – £230, Monsoon
How much fun is this multi-coloured shift dress from Monsoon? Comfortable and stylish, all you need to complete this look is a pair of metallic heels and a cocktail!
26. Needle & Thread Sequin Diamond Mini Dress – £390, Selfridges
The only way to wear a sequin-dripping mini dress is with a glass of Champagne in hand – and we never say no to that! You’ll be the talk of the town in this diamond sequin gown, as you rightly should be.
27. Metallic Sequinned Gown - £244, Ralph Lauren
This silver gown from Ralph Lauren is such an elegant, stylish choice. The light-catching sequins will ensure you dazzle on the dance floor for your first dance as newlyweds!
28. Dagma Sequin Slip Dress - £119, Whistles
Designed to effortlessly drape over the body, this Whistles dress will be a comfy yet chic option for your wedding reception. We think this colour would look great paired with metallic shoes and a little clutch bag.
29. Lara Sequin Dress - £395, Rixo
When fashion favourite Rixo released their first range of wedding dresses, we let out an audible squeal. Known for their fun, vintage-inspired pieces, you're guaranteed to earn serious style points in any of their designs. We love the sequin Lara style - perfect for city weddings or for a chic evening reception look.
30. Black Sequin Long Sleeve Maxi Dress - boohoo, £40.50
A dress made for the red carpet, expect jaws to hit the floor when you make your entrance in this black sequinned dress from boohoo. The length and sleeves balance out the sexy mesh detailing - pair with simple heels for maximum impact!
31. Kyla Sequin Stripe Dress – £335, Rixo
Sequinned and short? Yes, please! Rixo are the gods of making dresses women want to wear. A flattering cut (including an of-the-moment boat neckline) and a low back that’s still high enough to cover your bra strap make this dress a real winner.
32. Puff Sleeve Jacquard Mini Dress - £95, & Other Stories
Statement sleeves are certainly having a moment, so you can guarantee you'll be bang on trend with this chic jacquard mini dress from & Other Stories. Just wait until you see the stunning open back too...
33. Shirley Ribbon Mini Dress - £450, Needle & Thread
If you're planning an evening reception full of bubbles, then it only seems right to wear a Champagne-coloured dress. This 1930s-inspired Needle & Thread dress is perfect for twirling on the dance floor thanks to layers of soft tulle.
34. Mini Wells Dress - $195 (approx £140), Staud
The corset-style panel on this Staud dress is so flattering, while the lightweight cotton poplin makes this the perfect choice for a destination wedding. A paid of gold strappy sandals would look fab with this frock!
35. Lace Dress - £39.99, H&M
Whether your wedding dress is lacking in lace and you want to incorporate it into your evening look, or if you're simply lace obsessed, you can't go wrong with this simple, chic dress from H&M - especially at that price! Switching up your colours for the eve? It comes in black, too...
36. Roarke Linen Dress - £180, Reformation
We couldn't resist including one more Reformation dress in our roundup. The Roarke has a slim fitting bodice with a slightly more relaxed skirt, and would look perfect at a beach wedding!
37. Champagne Asymmetric Dress - £80, Lavish Alice
Well technically only half of this dress could be considered short, but we couldn't not include it in our round up - not just because of that gorgeous pleated shoulder detail, but because of that price too!
38. Hardware Halterneck Mini Dress - £59, Coast
You can always count on Coast to deliver when it comes to bridal dressing, and they've nailed it with this simple, stylish halterneck dress. Simply pair with some statement earrings and you're dance floor ready!
39. Selena Dress – £159, House of CB
And by short, we mean short! This House of CB ivory mini dress with oversized ruffles is all about theatre. Throw in clever panelling that gives you an hourglass figure and a sexy off-the-shoulder cut and you’ve got the dream reception dress for a bold bride.