The Essential Guide to Gown Styles for Different Wedding Ceremonies

Gowns & Suits, Wedding Advice
After reading our previous article on choosing the right colours for your skin tone, we hope you have a better understanding of what works best for you. Armed with the particular colours that will flatter you the best on your big day, we can move on to the next part of your wedding gown selection!
Today, many brides have different dresses to wear during their wedding days. Let’s call it the multiple dress phenomenon. The kind of dress the bride wears depends all on the formality of the ceremony on that day. For lunch reception, brides opt for a more casual dress whereas for the tea ceremony, brides wear the traditional costume of choice. That being said, your solemnization march-in gown and your dinner banquet gowns are going to be a notch higher than your casual dresses. Choosing a gown that is comfortable for the long day ahead and yet keeping it consistent to your wedding theme are two very important factors when selecting your ideal gown. It is one of the biggest events of your lifetime so in the order of formality, here are some things to consider while choosing each gown for each ceremony.

Image Credit: 36 Frames - Song Hui & Li Si

Lunch Reception

A lunch reception is normally held when couples wish to have a more casual wedding ceremony, instead of something too formal and intimidating. Normally a buffet spread is served, and guests can mingle instead of being confined at a table. Hence, the dress you choose can be less structured to reflect the reception’s casual and laid-back atmosphere, as well as loose and flowing to allow for more movement throughout the reception. Light materials such as crepe or duchess satin and skirts that are tea length or above the knee are great choices, especially if the reception is held at an al fresco dining area or a garden. The dress can also reflect the theme of your reception, as it is a more relaxed affair.
Image Credit: Amanda Lee Weddings - Urbanrella
Image Credit: Amanda Lee Weddings - Hana
Image Credit: Caramel & Co. - Brooklyn
Image Credit: Ted Wu - Wedding Gown 4

Tea Ceremony

During the customary tea ceremony, the bride normally dons her traditional costume as a sign of respect to her elders. But if you wish to inject your personal style into this dress, there is always the option to modify your traditional costume with a modern flair. Be it a cheongsam redesigned with western elements, a bohemian-styled baju kurung or a beautiful sari-gown made with silk, the possibilities are wild. This is your best chance to create your dream ethnic dress; one that you can keep and alter for future use.

Image Credit: AnnTeoh Couture - Collection 1
Image Credit: Caramel & Co. - Peony
Image Credit: The Wedding Present - Blossom
Image Credit: Emmanual B Couture - Gowns Collection 2
Image Credit: The Gown Connoisseur - Evening


The solemnization is when a couple signs their Certificate of Marriage, officially becoming husband and wife. Sometimes it is held in a place of worship, such as a church or temple, and sometimes it is held at a hotel or restaurant. But the attire worn by bride and groom must be befitting the solemnity of marriage, as it is an important event that should be respected. Therefore, if you do not wish to wear your white bridal gown, a dress that is slightly more formal and demure will be your best bet. Shantung silk, chiffon and charmeuse are good fabrics to play with for a soft yet more structured solemnization dress.
Image Credit: La Belle Couture - Whimsical Wonderland

Image Credit: Odelia Bridal – Evening Collection 1
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Image Credit: AnnTeoh Couture - Collection 1

Dinner – Part I

This is the most formal ceremony, and the time to bring out your long gowns and avant-garde styles. You want to look your absolute best during dinner as you will be in front of hundreds of relatives and friends, taking plenty of photos in this dress. Silk Mikado, velvet and organza, among other fabrics, are great structured materials that can elevate your dress, bringing it to impressive heights. Choose a dress that will not crinkle in the wrong places that can maintain its shape all night long. Also select and allow yourself to play with different necklines, shapes, colours and patterns, choosing only the one that suits your body and skin tone best. Bask in the limelight as you march down the ballroom aisle with the best dress of your life. With camera shutters clicking and as hundreds of guests whip their phone out to take a shot of you, smile and stride along.

Image Credit: La Belle Couture - Legends
Image Credit: The Gown Warehouse - Gown 2 

Dinner – Part II

As guests indulge in the gastronomic feast of your wedding banquet, you would most likely be getting prepared for your second march in. Shed your regal wedding gown for your first official march in and change into another piece of elegant evening gown. For the unconventional bride, this is where you can opt for a change of colours and experiment with the colour palettes. With an electric blue or bright purple evening gown, you would shine brightly in the dimmed ballroom lights. With a shorter evening gown, you could comfortably move about on stage to do your “Yum Seng” toast and give your thank-you speech.
Image Credit: Odelia Bridal - Evening Gowns Collection II

Image Credit: Odelia Bridal - Evening Gown Collection I
Image Credit: Ted Wu - Evening Gown
Image Credit: The Gown Warehouse - Gown 5
Whatever the occasion, having a different dress from your white bridal gown allows you to showcase your personality, background and flair. So remember to try on different colours, styles and fabrics before making your choice. Most importantly, have fun during this gown choosing process! It is, after all, a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Download the hitcheed app on App Store or Google Play as it allows you to choose your ideal gown. Click here for a full listing of bridal studios.

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