It Takes Two?

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When Chelsea Clinton tied the knot in upstate New York last summer, the eyes of brides-to-be worldwide were all on her dress. She stepped out in a gorgeous Vera Wang befitting her position as America’s sweetheart. But rumors abounded that a second dress – an Oscar de la Renta – had also been prepared for her. I wonder if this was intended as a decoy dress in case details of the Vera leaked before the ceremony? You could understand that such a high-profile bride would be a little protective of the ‘wow’ moment you get when you step out in your bridal gown.

Then again, maybe she just wanted to have two dresses. You only want to get married once, after all, so why not have two dresses?


It may seem like a strange trend, especially in these economic climes, but the idea of two dresses has a practical root. If you want to walk down the aisle with a train to rival Lady Di, you are likely to run into problems later on in the day. Mingling is particularly hard when you have a train. And forget about hitting the dance floor with all your guests. Plus, if your ceremony dress is tight-fitting and full of boning, it could come as a relief to be able to change into something a little more comfortable.

As well as this there’s the reassurance of having a change of clothes should someone spill coffee on you (as happened me at a wedding where I was a guest. …Ok, I actually managed to spill coffee on myself. Thankfully the reception was near my house).


Many brides I speak to are already hesitant about spending a lot of money on a dress they will only wear for one day. The idea of having two dresses would therefore seem totally insane to them. If you change after the ceremony and the photos, you’re cutting down the time you’ll be in the gown of your dreams to a handful of hours.

The best approach is – like with so many other wedding-related issues – to do what suits you. Don’t forget that with a change of dress mid-way through the day you do get the ‘wow’ moment twice – but you also have the cash register moment twice.

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