One dress or two? The great bride debate!

A pretty hot trend for many brides to be is a bit of variety when it comes to their wedding dress.  By variety I mean choosing & wearing 2, or sometimes more, different wedding dresses on your wedding day!  For the baby boomer generation this is a hard concept to grasp.  To be quite honest, I am not quite sure I understand it either.  However, it is becoming so common that it is worth discussing.  As you’ll see, I myself have a pretty valid reason for learning more about this trend.

If any of you have had the chance to check out my bio page you may have seen that Daryl & I are tying the knot this upcoming February, in the middle of winter.  There is such a reason for what might seem to many as our apparent madness to get married in a month where it is well below freezing.  Simply put, Daryl & I love winter and more specifically love skiing.  We love skiing so much that we are going to actually go skiing on our wedding day.   We are going to hit the slopes immediately following our ceremony and before our reception begins.  And yes, to answer the final question you are for sure wondering by now, we are going to ski in our full wedding attire;  Daryl in his tuxedo, me in my wedding dress.   Thus you see my curiosity in at least exploring the topic of multiple wedding dresses.

As far as I understand it, this trend of brides purchasing and wearing more than one bridal gown originated based on the idea that many brides recognized that they would want something more formal to wear during their ceremony, and something more relaxing, flexible or informal (informal may or may not be code for more  comfortable) for the reception to let loose and celebrate in.    I have actually been to a wedding like this, where the bride wore a different gown to the reception than what was worn at the ceremony.   For the sake of comfort, it makes sense; however, for the wallets of some brides, and maybe even the emotional and sentimentality of others,  it may not make much sense.

Of course, besides the sentimentality and emotion that could be tied to a dress that you will spend the biggest day of your life in, there is also the rational side of each bride that wants to save some $$.  Wedding dresses, just like almost everything else in the bridal industry do not come at a cheap price.  If you are a bargain hunter you could certainly find a ‘cheap’ dress at an outlet or chain store like David’s Bridal for $500 or less, or even about $100 if the dress or style has been discontinued.  However, if you don’t shop at one of the less expensive boutiques, want a name brand or choose a dress that is not discontinued you are easily looking at $500 on the very inexpensive end.    Top designers, customized dresses or top bridal boutiques could easily have you spending well over a grand to a few thousand for the ‘perfect’ dress.  So, if you take this expense, and multiply it by 2 or even more the costs add up even more rapidly.

If not for the financial benefit of only spending money for a wedding dress once,there is also the emotional attachment a bride may have to the ideal wedding dress once you actually find it.   Of course, if a bride has two dresses, she may or may not be as ‘emotionally tied’ to either.  What exactly do I mean by ‘emotionally tied’?  I am simply referring to a feeling that I am sure many women can relate to.   Remember when you were younger and you had a new outfit that you really liked and were very excited to wear? Perhaps that special outfit was for a special day or occasion or just something you thought looked fantastic in.   Well, whenever I have this feeling, which was  more common as  teenager but still happens in my adulthood, I look forward to wearing the fun new exciting outfit for as long as possible.  Naturally, this is exactly how I feel about my wedding dress! I have never been a dress kinda gal but you only get married once and I definitely plan on wearing my dress for as long as possible and enjoying every minute of it.   (Actually, this already happens each time I am at the bridal store and try on my dress!) So call me traditional or old fashioned (most people don’t) , perhaps there is something I am still missing but I feel ‘emotionally tied’ to my wedding dress and do not want to share this emotion with a second wedding dress and have to split the time.

So despite the ‘athletic’ challenge that Daryl and I are giving ourselves on our upcoming wedding day I believe I am going to stick with the ‘traditional’ route and only wear one dress on my wedding day.  The same beautiful big & full gown I will marry Daryl in will be the same dress that I will ski in, which will be the same dress I celebrate in and dance in at our reception.  My dress is a Maggie Sottero dress, , nice and full with lots of pick ups,  so when I say big & full I really mean it.  I am sure I will need some help from Daryl and the groomsmen who will be skiing with us to help me ski and get down the slope to prevent me from tripping over the fine pair of skis I will also be sporting.   But despite this thrill I am giving myself on my wedding day and the extra difficulty my large wedding dress will add to the scenario I am still going to wear the same dress all day.  My excuse to wear two dresses would be just about as valid as another other I have ever heard, but I am choosing one husband and having only one wedding so I figure one dress should be good enough.

Please share your thoughts on the two dress concept and whether or not you will have one wedding dress or two!

avatar About Meghan

Soon-to-be-Wed Blogger since June 2009. Unfranchise Owner, Market America. Director of Comm. & Special Projects - Jennings Transportation. PSIA Level II Certified Ski Instructor. Location: Easton, PA. I live in the Lehigh Valley, PA with my fiance Daryl & maid of honor Sarah Reilly. My life revolves around spending time with Daryl and juggling our busy schedules.


  1. avatar dj says:

    I know this is about 2 years late but for those torn between 1 or 2 dresses in the future (or present), what about having a “convertible” dress instead. A friend of mine recently got married in a wonderful spanish inspired gown with a long train. She wore it that way during the ceremony. Come reception, her train was sort of pinned up to the back of her dress (artfully of course) which created a sort of ball gown illusion to her dress. She didn’t have to worry about picking up the long train every time she moved around. This was specially helpful during the fun dancing that closed the reception.

Share Your Thoughts! Leave a Comment: