Hey y’all, it’s Landan! I’m telling a story from my own wedding today, but I’m sharing photos of Ashley because her bridal look was STUNNING. I mean for real – can we talk about that braid?? So so good. Even more than that, though, her bridal look truly showcased her and showed off her bright personality and the happiness that was shared on their day. That’s what you want when choosing your wedding day attire, hair, and makeup.

I was never the bride who wanted to buy two separate dresses. There’s nothing wrong with it, and I’ve seen some stunning outfit changes, but I wanted to find a dress I loved and wear it all.night.long.

So, when I first started wedding dress shopping, I was bound and determined to find a dress that would give me two looks in one. I was certain that a slim dress with an over skirt would be perfect. It would still be “my” dress, but I would have two totally different looks.

And then I found my perfect dress and it definitely did not have an over skirt.

My dreams of rocking two different looks on my wedding day were dashed.

But, in a funny twist of fate, Mother Nature provided us with some stellar wind – fairly certain it was record breaking – and my loose updo from the ceremony turned into quickly pulling out my bobby pins and letting my hair down for the reception.

Guess I got to rock two bridal looks after all.

While I had no intention of changing my hair at the start of our reception, it was one of those things that went wrong that ended up being a good thing. It made me realize that it’s totally possible to have two separate looks while still remaining in your dream dress all night.

If you have two or three dresses – that’s great! I can’t wait to see them all and this list can totally still apply to you. But, if you’re like me and want to go from saying I Do to partying the night away in your wedding dress while still having two separate looks, this blog post is all for you.

Switch Up Your Makeup

One of the easiest ways to switch up your bridal look is to go for a bold lipstick change, and it’s something you can do on your own even if you aren’t a makeup professional. If you wore a pale pink or nude for the ceremony, think about escaping to the bridal suite after dinner for a quick swap to a bright pink or vibrant red. It can give you some extra sass on the dance floor while also giving you a different look.

Choose an Interesting Bustle 

If your dress has a train on it, there are a couple of different ways you can choose to bustle your dress. While American bustles are one of the most popular, French bustles, Austrian bustles, royal bustles, ballroom bustles, and bow bustles are all options too. Work with a seamstress to figure out which bustle option you like the most that works the best with your dress, but it’s a great way to make it feel like you’re wearing two different looks without changing dresses. As a side note, no matter which bustle you choose, make sure you have two people (besides yourself) that know how to do your bustle and bring safety pins – it’s very very common for bustles to break throughout the night.

Accessorize Differently 

Amp up the comfort with a shoe change (tennis shoes, anyone?). Embrace your new last name with a custom denim jacket. Ditch your veil for a flower crown. Swap out your earrings for a fun colorful look. There are truly so many different ways that you can accessorize your wedding dress to totally transform your overall bridal look. If you have a bit more of a classic look for the ceremony, don’t be afraid to get a little playful for the party to come.

Make a Hair Change 

If you wore your hair up for the ceremony, pulling all or some of it down for the reception lets you *literally* let your hair down for the party portion of the evening. Or, if you wore it down for the ceremony, you can pull it up to stay cool while you talk to your guests and dance the night away. Either way, this swap is a fun way to mix things up. Talk to your hair stylist to see if it’s an easy change you can personally pull off while you bustle your dress before entering the reception, or if it’s something you would need them to stay for and/or something you would need to allot more time for. If you don’t want a total transformation but still want to make a hair change of some sort, things like adding flowers to your hair, putting on a sparkly headpiece, or pulling just a couple of face framing pieces up or down can make a big difference.

Pick a Dress with Removable Elements 

Just because my original vision didn’t pan out for me doesn’t mean it can’t work for you! There are so many dresses that either come with multiple functions or have pieces that can be added. Things like boleros, temporary long sleeves or removable off the shoulder straps are all ways to look like you have two different dresses. Overskirts, attachable capes (for a dramatic twist on a veil), belts, and non permanent bows that create a train are all unique ways to give you two dresses in one, too. If you look up convertible wedding dresses on Pinterest there are a ton of options – you may be surprised that some of them are even the same dress.

When it comes to your bridal look, anything goes and it’s all about you. Whether you want 1 dress or 5 dresses, I’m in full support of it. I’m thankful that my plan fell apart in multiple ways, but I wish I would have realized how easy it was to embrace two different looks without having to change my entire dress. On the bright side, at least I can tell you about it now. With that said, if you want to stay consistent on your wedding day but still want to incorporate these ideas in some way, bridal portraits are a great way to do so. We wrote a whole blog post about those, too – check it out