Pop Quiz: Is More Than One Wedding Dress REALLY Necessary?

By Dana LaRue, Published Jan 25, 2013

Kate Middleton reception dress

Sure, Kate did it, but her wedding was paid for by English taxpayers.

Ladies, hear me out. This reception dress thing is getting out of hand. I totally understand your desire to have something more casual for the reception - something you can move in, break it down in, and maybe most importantly, EAT in, without the bones of your corset busting. HOWEVER, when brides are doling out hundreds or thousands of dollars extra on top of the hundreds or thousands of dollars they’ve already spent on their first wedding dress, I have to just wave my hands frantically in the air and say “WHOA”. You’ll have to forgive me, I am The Broke-Ass Bride after all, and I am all about saving you money, and saving you from unnecessarily frivolous wedding purchases.

I ALSO totally understand your desire to wear a totally bananas gorgeous gown at your ceremony. Some of you want the full princess effect - a ballgown, rhinestones, a chapel train, Swarovski crystals - whatever your heart desires. But I’m gonna ask you a very hard question - which is more important to you? Is it -

A. The Dream Dress - Looking absolutely STUNNING in every wedding photo, having all eyes on me, and being queen for a day.

B. Enjoying Myself - Looking good and having a great time without being hampered by something called a “bustle”. Also, ideally, I’d be able to perform basic bodily functions without assistance from my b-maids.

C. ALL OF THE ABOVE Why can’t I have both? It’s my wedding day, after all!

If you answered A: Your priorities are obvious. You’re the girl that’s going to splurge on your dream wedding dress. You have a vision, and you’re not willing to compromise. But here’s the thing - if you’re going to dole out all that cash for one white dress, you better get your money’s worth. Wedding ceremonies can run from 10-60 minutes. Divide the cost of your dress by the number of minutes in your ceremony. How does that math sit with you? (And PLEASE don’t delude yourself into thinking that your daughter will one day wear that same dress, since that clearly didn’t work out so well for YOUR mom.)

You have two choices. You can make your dream dress go the extra mile, and wear it to your reception. Eat lightly, drink lightly, dance mostly from the waist up, and bask in an endless sea of compliments from everyone you know. And hey, you can hide a pair of sneakers under that giant ballgown, if necessary. OR you can compromise ever-so-slightly on your vision. You would do well to shop for wedding dresses that can do double duty - detachable skirts and trains are your new BFF. Decide what you REALLY want out of a dress. What is that special detail that’s going to make you feel like this is YOUR day? Decide what that is, and then look at dresses that have that, but skip on the other details that are bound to be less than comfortable over the course of the evening. Like a train you have to “bustle.”

If you answered B: Of course you wanna look gorgeous, but you also want to be able to breathe, enjoy that delicious food and wedding cake that you paid big money for, and boogey down till the break of dawn with all your nearest and dearest. Your task is simple - when you try on wedding dresses, pass on anything too constricting, anything that limits your movement, and anything that requires you to be handled like a prize Thoroughbred. Wait until you find the dress that’s the perfect combination of beautiful and comfortable, and wear it all night long!

If you answered C: Oye vey. Girl, it’s your wedding day. You CAN have it all. But it will cost you. Oh, it will cost you... And if someone else is footing the bill, think of what they could be doing with that extra stash of cash (like you know, ENJOYING their retirement). And if your wedding is destined to be an epic, no holds barred splurge-fest, do me a big favor - donate one of your two wedding dresses to a deserving charity afterwards.

But what do you think, brides? Is all your money on one dress, or do you think the reception dress will be a new wedding staple?

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