What to Wear for Your First, Second, (and Third) Wedding Look

What to Wear for Your First, Second, (and Third) Wedding Look

December 23, 2022
By Katerina Katakalides

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Finding the perfect wedding dress is widely known for being a challenge. Television shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” highlight just how exciting, but stressful, this moment can be. There are usually thousands of questions racing through the bride’s mind:

“What is my future mother-in-law going to think?”

“Is someone else going to wear this style next season?”

Narrowing your choices down to not “one” dress, but “the” dress can leave you feeling pulled from all angles in totally different directions. Let’s really think about it. How is ONE look supposed to cover something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue? Even if you aren’t following this old saying on your wedding day, finding one gown that highlights all aspects of your personality while following the theme that also lets you tear up the dance floor is nearly impossible.

This is partially why we’ve been seeing more and more multiple wedding day looks. Rather than wear one wedding gown throughout the ceremony and reception, modern brides have been opting for a second or even a third look. These outfit changes will allow you to experiment with different silhouettes, styles, and trends while having the ideal look for every wedding event. Just imagine how hard it would be to get low on the dance floor in a tulle ball gown! Now, you can embrace all of the princess vibes you’ve always dreamed of during your ceremony and wear a comfy, but wedding-worthy, dress or jumpsuit for the reception. It’s the best of both worlds!

What to Wear as Your First Wedding Look

Your first wedding look is what you’ll wear during your ceremony. This is the time when all eyes are on you as you make your grand entrance, so if there’s a time to go all out, it’s definitely now! Typically, brides opt for a more traditional look during their ceremony since this is the most traditional part of the wedding. This is where you’ll see a lot of lace, cathedral-length veils, mermaid silhouettes, and ball gowns. These classic styles are timeless for a reason and make the perfect options for your first wedding look.

As you narrow down your wedding gown choices, you’ll want to consider a variety of factors that will shape your decision. Picking out what aligns with your style and aesthetic will be one of the easier parts- think about it- who else knows you better than yourself? Once you’ve found a few dresses that make you feel like the most beautiful version of “you,” think over the details of your wedding.

Do you have a theme or color scheme? Keeping any theme or color scheme in mind will ensure that your wedding has a cohesive look that you fit perfectly into. This also means you’ll want to think deeply about the location of your ceremony and any decorations you’ll be using. If your ceremony is in a church or place of worship, you might lean towards a classic, cathedral-style wedding gown. If your ceremony is outdoors, like on a beach or botanical garden, you might want to wear a free and easy look that billows in the breeze. Will your ceremony be a long one? Keep in mind that you’ll be standing in your gown for quite a bit of time and depending on your environment, it can get uncomfortable fast.

If there’s one thing to keep in mind when choosing your bridal gown, it’s that your wedding day is about you! Of course, there are lifelong promises of unconditional love being exchanged marking the start of a monumental milestone in your relationship, but c’mon, you’re the bride. This is your day to live out every childhood fantasy you’ve had about your picture-perfect day. Don’t shy away from choosing the gown that you feel is perfect for you- no matter what others might think or say. This might be your only chance to feel like the princess you’ve always wanted to be!

What to Wear as Your Second Wedding Look

Typically, a second wedding look is worn during the reception so the bride (aka you) can dance the night away and feel comfortable while cutting the cake. Even though your wedding gown might be the most breathtaking thing you’ve ever seen, it might not be the easiest dress to move around in. Between dancing, greeting guests, and making sure that all of your details are in place, your wedding can get pretty hectic! Running out to the dance floor for your favorite song or grabbing another drink at the open bar shouldn’t be made difficult due to layers of tulle, organza, or chiffon. Your second wedding look will allow you to effortlessly glide around the room while still standing out as the blushing bride.

Choosing when to change into your second look is another decision you’ll have to make while planning your big day. Although it might seem convenient and almost obvious to change in between the ceremony and the reception, some brides want to experience that magical moment when they enter the room as a married couple for the first time. Capturing that moment while still wearing your wedding gown is something you’ll never forget. After making your grand entrance, greeting guests, and taking photos to your heart’s content, you can change into your second wedding look.

This next look should make you feel comfortable and free while still making you look captivating and elegant. You’re the bride, after all! Keep an eye out for gowns with lighter fabric, a slit, or an open back. All of these options will make it easy for you to dance all night long without feeling constrained or weighed down by a traditional wedding gown. This can also be your chance to try a new trend or modern style! Remember- the location of your ceremony should always be kept in mind when choosing your first wedding look. If you wore a more conservative look for a church ceremony, then you might want to try a modern style for your second look. If you had an outdoor or beach ceremony while wearing a lighter, boho-style gown, then an indoor reception can be your opportunity to try a more classic look.

What to Wear as Your Third Wedding Look

Not many brides have heard of a third wedding look and if you’re one of them, that’s totally okay! Third wedding looks aren’t too common, but they’ve been appearing at more and more weddings as each year passes by. Nadia Bundziak, founder of NDS The Label, a luxury, ready-to-wear brand, explained that “there are still a lot of brides that will want to experience the full bridal effect. [Though] I do believe the second wedding look will only get more mainstream as celebrities take on switching between two, or even three, bridal outfits throughout their wedding day.” Source

If there’s any day to let your inner celebrity shine, it should be your wedding day! Although it might not be typical for brides to wear a third wedding look, you deserve special treatment on your special day, so it’s time to go all out! Your third wedding look would be worn towards the end of your celebration, possibly still during your reception. This means you should prioritize comfort and mobility since you’ll want to squeeze in all the dancing time you can before the night ends. Depending on your post-wedding plans, you could be traveling a far distance home, to a hotel, or even to your honeymoon. You want to be comfy!

This last look of your wedding day is an opportunity to truly be yourself. As the celebration winds down and the night morphs back into reality, your guests won’t care if the bride is wearing a cocktail dress or jumpsuit. This is the last part of your big day and girl, you do you!

If you were having a hard time finding the perfect wedding dress, then hopefully you’ve been able to expand your horizons to multiple looks throughout your special day. While wearing multiple gowns or jumpsuits might seem like “overdoing” it to some, this will give you the most flexibility when choosing your outfits and make you feel the most comfortable throughout your long wedding celebration. This day is about you so you might as well do it how you want to!

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