It used to be that women would seek out just the one wedding dress, but today brides look for two or even three different outfits for their big day. These alternate “reception dresses” are often less traditional than the ceremony gown.

“When brides think of a reception dress they are really thinking of comfort, something a bit more fun and sexier, and definitely a dress that will be great for dancing,” explains Michael Grant, Moda Operandi’s senior buyer and designer of ready-to-wear.

A bride may choose to change her look before the cocktail hour, just before the reception, halfway through the party or for the after-party.

“It’s important to really tap into the energy levels of the evening and how you want to feel in each moment,” says designer Hayley Paige.

A reception dress allows a bride to make a second entrance as well as a style statement. Her look should match the setting and style of the event, whether it be a form-fitted floor-length gown, cocktail dress or jumpsuit, and can be in a range of colors from bridal white, to something blue to a shimmering metallic.

A bride might also choose to wear a convertible dress that can transform by simply adding or removing parts of it before the party starts.

Giselle Dubois, founder of Spina Bride in the West Village and Chelsea, says many of her clients are asking for a ceremony dress that can be restyled into a reception dress.

“Detaching long sleeves or removing the bottom tiers on a tiered skirt allows you to keep the base of your ceremony dress but have a completely different look for the reception,” she says. A convertible look can save money, although you may spend more on alterations.

An alternative wedding dress.
An alternative wedding dress.

If the bride is changing, her new spouse may want to update their look too.

“As with the ceremony, the couple’s look should match in formality,” says wedding fashion stylist Julie Sabatino, owner of the Stylish Bride. “A suit can be updated for a reception by changing a jacket or tie or wearing fun sneakers instead of dress shoes.”

Brides may want to pick something that makes more of a fashion statement for their second or third looks, says Grant.

“Have fun with different colors and fabrics, possibly taking a risk on something embellished,” he says. “But most importantly, choose something you can dance in late into the night.”

Declare your love in Theia’s sleeveless sequin sheath “Love” dress. $260, Bella Bridesmaids, 545 Eighth Ave., Suite 1525; BellaBridesmaids.com

Show off a fabulous pair of dancing shoes in “Katie,” a high-low gown by Blue Willow Bride by Anne Barge. The lace bodice sparkles thanks to sequins embroidered in a geometric pattern. $2,400, Ella & Oak, 147 W. 29th St.; EllaAndOak.com

Looking for something festive and even unexpected? This feathery frock by Monique Lhuillier has embroidered spaghetti straps and is cover-ed in ivory feathers. $4,295, Monique Lhuillier, 818 Madison Ave., MoniqueLhuillier.com

Choose a convertible style by Daalarna with a tiered dress that has a removable portion that can go from floor-length to knee-length in seconds. $5,475, Spina Bride, 132 10th Ave.; SpinaBride.com

The “Maida,” a mini-dress by Sachin & Babi, has sparkling sequins accenting the bell sleeves. $380, BHLDN, 209 W. 38th St.; BHLDN.com