How to Transform Your Look Between Ceremony and Reception

There has been a recent rise of the viral 'wedding chop' — brides taking a major leap with a post-ceremony haircut to shake things up for the reception. But what if a 'wedding chop' seems a little too permanent? Here, experts share some of the top ways to make a surprising entrance, none of which require a lasting commitment.

wedding chop
Photo: Summergrace Photography

"Pop-on elements like capes, removable skirts or trains, and LED lighting can easily transform your outfit. If you want to match with your partner, consider having matching and complementing attire and switching together! I recently saw my first 'corset vest,' which I thought was amazing on the groom. If you and your partner have a matching corset, it is easily added to simple attire to make it fashionable and fun." —Jen Sulak, Weirdo Weddings

"We love a dress change. Two of our favorites have been a bride who ordered a vintage Versace dress that's the same one Elizabeth Hurley famously wore on a red carpet in the '90s. Another is a bride who used the extra fabric from her alterations to have a mini version of her wedding dress made. She came out halfway through dancing in a very short mini dress that was strapless and with a sweetheart neckline that she paired with custom baby blue Air Jordans for dancing. She later donned a delicate chiffon bow Jimmy Choos for her exit." —Juls Sharpley, Juls Sharpley Events

"The key is to create a dramatic change. Go from a sleek updo to voluminous curls or a wild, tousled style. Or go the opposite route, from soft and wavy to a party-ready sleek high pony. She could swap her classic makeup for a striking, avant-garde look with bold colors and graphic shapes. Accessories can make a dramatic impact, such as wearing a statement piece of jewelry, a bold headpiece, or an edgy pair of shoes. The change should be visible and convey confidence and fearlessness, showing the bride's willingness to take risks and step outside her comfort zone. A dramatic and noticeable change should leave guests surprised, impressed, and captivated by the bride's bold choices." —Mary Angelini, Key Moment Films

"Wearing a wig or colored hair extensions that are different for the ceremony and reception is a fun way to say, 'let's relax now and have some fun.' Additionally, a different makeup style, whether more subtle or dramatic, can be a celebratory way to change a look." —Monika Kreinberg, Furever Us

“An outfit change is one of the best ways to make a fashion shift during your wedding. There are many ways to change your look with an outfit change. One way might be to change from your wedding dress to a fun white jumpsuit. Then, to take it to another level, you could have both couples change to 70’s jumpsuits, have the DJ change to disco music, and create a fun theme around your outfits for the rest of the evening.” - Tonya Hoopes, Hoopes Events

"A new look for the reception is definitely where it's at! Compared to a wedding chop, it’s much easier to have your stylist stay and change the actual style of your hair, pairing it with a fun new reception dress. The perk is that you don't have to rush a haircut; it will allow you to spend more time celebrating with your nearest and dearest than in a chair." —Nora Sheils, Co-Founder Rock Paper Coin, Founder Bridal Bliss

"Another chopping trend is rising, which has nothing to do with hair. Multiple brides have hired seamstresses' to chop their gowns for the reception into mini or mid-length dresses. Although this trend seems more drastic than the others, cutting your dress enables you to wear it all night long while being more comfortable during the reception. When considering changing your look from the ceremony to your wedding reception, consider how you want to feel. For many, a significant change physically is symbolic of the life change occurring at matrimony. How better to indicate such a massive life change than entering and celebrating your marriage with your friends and family with an outward change?" —Sarah Jobe, Twickenham House

Not only does a bold statement liven up the party for your reception, but you’ll level up the guest experience and make your wedding one to remember! Don’t be afraid to be as daring as you'd like and have some incredible memories to look back on.