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'Sexy and Gorgeous' Reception Dresses

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Brides lucky enough to buy a second dress for the same wedding are choosing gowns that reflect their inner party girl. Worn for the reception, these frocks let brides kick up their heels, be footloose and free, often after a more conservative ceremony.

And if there’s an opportunity to better showcase their shoes, whether they’re hot pink Christian Louboutin booties or cowgirl boots, a second dress may just be a must.

“They don’t want to look sweet,” says Jessica Brown, owner and designer of Ivy & Aster. “They want to look sexy and gorgeous.”

Adds Marianne Shearer, owner of The Dresser Bridal Couture in Fullerton, Calif.: “They’ll say that they gotta show off their legs and shoes.”

Second dresses aren’t meant to be plain affairs. They can be just as fun and frothy and adventurous as the main gown, but lighter and more conducive to movement. Think layers of feathers, such as the Plume dress by Ivy and Aster or the strapless charmeuse gown with a tiered feathered skirt from David’s Bridal, or an edgy style, like the high-low Marchesa gown with a V-shaped back.

Amsale lets brides channel their inner Marilyn Monroe with a swingy halter dress or stay sophisticated with a one-shoulder number. Kate Spade adds cotton to her dresses for a fresh approach, such as the silk and cotton trapeze dress or the strapless sheath with an oversized bow at the bust. J. Crew’s Cha Cha dress with lace and a modern peplum begs to be danced in.

Encore gowns can let brides satisfy their diva wish for a designer gown at a lesser price. They can get their Vera Wang fix at David’s Bridal, wearing her White by Vera Wang flirty, satin-faced organza dress with a confection of tulle, for not much more than $500.

The change-up also can let a bride experiment if she stuck to tradition on her entrance-making dress – say, she was dying to wear Ivy and Aster’s short, sassy blush frock with textured rosettes but couldn’t commit to walking down the aisle with it.

“If they’re not bold enough to try color for the ceremony, then they’ll go for it at the reception,” Brown says. “Colors like blush are flattering on everyone.”

Dan Rentillo, design director for David’s Bridal, notes that brides also may want to style their second look with new accessories. They may add a highly ornamented or colorful sash to their dress or if they were wearing a veil, they’ll switch to a fascinator or a headpiece.

If they do go with a second dress, brides shouldn’t skimp on the alterations, especially if they choose a less expensive look.

“Alterations are crucial,” Shearer says. “You want to make sure you can dance in it. If you’re worried that a strapless dress may fall, you can always add spaghetti straps for extra support.”

Ultimately, second dresses, especially ones with a moderate price range, can be a blessing for brides who can’t make up their mind.

“We had a bride who couldn’t decide which White by Vera Wang dress to buy, so she bought both,” Rentillo says. “It can be a back-up gown if the first one isn’t comfortable.”

[Images: DB Studio]

© Brides 365

Tags: reception dress