Go big with a ball gown at your wedding, then upgrade to a mini dress

The only time a woman might decide to wear a full ball gown is for her wedding. It might have been her dream since she was a little girl, or she got inspiration from the red carpet, but today there are countless versions of a prom dress she can choose from and a variety of settings she can wear.

“I don’t think there’s any particular setting where a prom dress is most appropriate, although it may be more appropriate in certain venues,” said Carrie Goldberg, Founder and Creative Director of CLG Creative. “A ballroom, castle, or villa requires a certain level of drama, as does a large expanse like a mountain peak or hills.”

It’s not just the place a bride should be thinking about. “Consider the time of year and type of fabric,” advised Stacie Houlker, owner of Stacie the Stylist. “Wearing a Mikado ball gown in the summer can be uncomfortable.”
Goldberg added, “If you’re choosing a prom dress for the beach, I recommend it be something super lightweight, like layers of tulle or chiffon that blows in the wind rather than stiff silk-faille, taffeta or duchess satin.

Oversized florals adorn Anne Barge’s Fillmore Ball Gown featuring a full pleated skirt, dropped waist and strapless neckline. $7,030, 766 Madison Ave.
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Inspired by Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Disney's Fairytale Weddings Ball Gown features ivory floral brocade fabric, a corset closure bodice and a scoop neckline.  $3,375, Julie Allen Bridals, 154 S. Main St., Newtown, CT.
Inspired by Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s Fairytale Weddings Ball Gown features ivory floral brocade fabric, a corset closure bodice and a scoop neckline. $3,375, Julie Allen Bridals, 154 S. Main St., Newtown, CT.
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But managing a bulky skirt and a heavy dress can be tedious. A bride may need a few helpers on hand to help her pose for pictures, walk down the aisle, and even go to the bathroom. (Cue the bridesmaids, wedding planner, or stylist.)

“Every dramatic wedding dress in history – from Princess Diana to the Duchess of Cambridge to Grace Kelly – almost certainly had a team of people managing their fashion on their wedding day. Large volumes and long trains require expert attention! said Goldberg.

Whether or not you have a pair of helping hands, Houlker’s best tip for moving in a prom dress is to wear wedge sneakers. “They offer the best comfort without sacrificing height and no one will know you’re not wearing high heel shoes.”

Sophie, a two-for-one look by Peter Langner, will go from a regal tulle ballgown to a drop-waisted little white dress in guipure lace by simply removing the skirt.  $7,000, Marriage Workshop, 72 Madison Ave., 4th Floor.
Sophie, a two-for-one look by Peter Langner, will go from a regal tulle ball gown to a drop-waisted little white dress in guipure lace by simply removing the skirt. $7,000, Marriage Workshop, 72 Madison Ave., 4th Floor.
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Look 2 of Sophie by Peter Langer.
Look 2 of Sophie by Peter Langer.
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While a ball gown may be appropriate for the ceremony, it may not be comfortable to mingle, dance, and dine with guests for several hours. It’s no wonder, then, that it’s become quite common for a bride to change into a second or even a third wedding dress as the reception evolves from cocktail to dinner and then dancing.

“Choosing a bulky, bulky, long-tail formal dress almost always requires a costume change. Even the best-made dresses with the most successful corsets create a difficult situation to dance, eat, and enjoy. a long night of socializing,” Goldberg said.

“And a change of venue usually warrants a change of attire. What works for an outdoor or religious ceremony usually doesn’t work for a reception in a completely different space. Plus, a change of outfit lets your guests know the party is far from over.

White-on-white beads in various floral patterns and fringe add movement to Onyx by Theia, a V-neck mini dress. $998, Kleinfeld Bridal, 110 W. 20th St.
White-on-white beads in various floral patterns and fringe add movement to Onyx by Theia, a V-neck mini dress. $998, Kleinfeld Bridal, 110 W. 20th St.
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The full skirt of Rami Al Ali's White Collection mini wedding dress (Look 2) has an off-the-shoulder sweetheart neckline accented with oversized bows.  $3,310, Flora on Madison, 766 Madison Ave., 2nd floor.
The full skirt of Rami Al Ali’s White Collection mini wedding dress (Look 2) has an off-the-shoulder sweetheart neckline accented with oversized bows. $3,310, Flora on Madison, 766 Madison Ave., 2nd floor.
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Finding the right time to change your look should be thought out and planned ahead, especially if you need help getting out of one dress and into another.

“I think the perfect time to change dresses is after dinner and before cutting the cake,” said Lindsay Landman of Lindsay Landman Events. “I love the visual of the bride showing up to cut the cake in a new look when all eyes are on her. Then, once the cake is cut, she can get into one last dance set and do the party all night in the second dress. The key is to set the change in the schedule before the night starts and commit to sticking to the plan. That way she can make sure she doesn’t miss out. a key moment, like a favorite song.”

So what should a second dress, also called a reception dress, look like? “A reception dress is whatever the bride wants it to be. Short, long, slacks or some sort of jumpsuit,” said Mark Ingram, owner of the Mark Ingram Atelier and creator of the Mark Ingram collection. It should be super festive, venue appropriate and as flattering as the wedding dress, it should have movement and look great on the dance floor.

Go bold and daring in this hot pink ruffled mini dress from Millia London featuring a plunging neckline and layers of ruffled tulle.  $750 at BHLDN, ​​195 Broadway.
Go bold and daring in this hot pink ruffled mini dress from Millia London featuring a plunging neckline and layers of ruffled tulle. $750 at BHLDN, ​​195 Broadway.
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A two-piece look from Nadia Manjarrez Studio Bridal features the Rosa bustier and Rosa miniskirt in embossed floral jacquard.  The flowing train shown here is detachable.  $2,950, Flora on Madison, 766 Madison Ave., 2nd floor.
A two-piece look from Nadia Manjarrez Studio Bridal features the Rosa bustier and Rosa miniskirt in embossed floral jacquard. The flowing train shown here is detachable. $2,950, Flora on Madison, 766 Madison Ave., 2nd floor.
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The difference in style between your first and second dress should take into account your ease of movement. “A second look should be easier to pull off than the first and should also be a style change from your formal dress,” advises Goldberg. “It should also look and feel different than your rehearsal dinner dress. Use each fashion change as a way to explore a different facet of your personal style. Make it true to yourself.

“A second evening dress should reflect a super happy and fun vibe, but be ultra glamorous,” Ingram said. “If your first dress was all lace or a simple, elegant fabric, then break out the beading, fringe and sparkle.”

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