Some brides opt for more than one gown for their special day



Jon Way/associated press


Kathy Reilly wears her wedding gown at Saint Ann Catholic Church prior to her wedding


Jon Way/associated press

Kathy Reilly in her evening gown prior to the reception at the The Breakers resort.Kathy Reilly in her evening gown prior to the reception at the The Breakers resort.

“It’s their wedding day. It’s a very special day. They can keep the other dress and wear it again.”

Melania Trump did it.

So did rock star Avril Lavigne, with designs by Vera Wang.

Now, some regular women are following suit, deciding that one dress isn’t enough for their wedding day. They want princess-like ball gowns as well as sexier sheaths for the party that they can dance in.

For her April wedding in Palm Beach, Fla., Kathy Reilly wore a sweet, flowing gown for an afternoon ceremony and a sleek number for the party that evening.

“It’s an overwhelming choice to try to narrow it down to one,” said Reilly, 42, a consultant to luxury brands who lives in Manhattan.

On the other hand, “It’s certainly a big deal to purchase two dresses and get them altered and pressed. It’s a big economic consideration.”

Maybe not for Trump, whose Vera Wang and Christian Dior dresses were featured in Vogue, or Lavigne, who wore an ivory strapless tissue organza gown with wrapped bodice and applique lace beaded skirt, and then an ivory strapless draped Chantilly lace dress.

Still, brides say they like the idea of a second dress for comfort, to display another side of their personality and, of course, for show. The trend could have a big impact on the wedding industry, always looking to create new revenue streams.

And it’s not only those aiming for the fashion stratosphere who opt for two dresses.

Some brides want to wear vintage gowns worn by their mothers or grandmothers, then emerge in their own dress later. Others seek to blend different cultures, changing from a traditional white gown, say, into Chinese or Indian bridal attire.

Mark Ingram, who runs the Bridal Atelier on Manhattan’s East Side, said he began noticing women buying a second wedding dress about a year and a half ago.

“As the primary dress is becoming a little bit more elaborate, they wanted to change into something slinkier or shorter or sexier, that they could really party in,” he said.

He said the first dress may conform to a parent’s or fiance’s wishes.

“The second dress is more of a statement of who they are, as a young independent woman getting married.”

Women in his shop, which sells designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Karl Lagerfeld, Monique Lhuillier and Carolina Herrara, sometimes spend more than $6,000 US for the first dress, then $2,500 and up for the second, Ingram said.

Reilly wore a $7,000 backless silk taffeta designed by Amsale for her ceremony. With thin straps, a fitted bodice and a bubble skirt, it was more bride-like and appropriate for a church, she said.

Later that evening for the reception at the Breakers, an oceanfront resort, she changed into a white sheath, more “slinky, Hollywood and red carpet-y,” she said. Its price tag was about $3,000.

“It just flowed so naturally and it was just a great dancing, party dress,” said Reilly. “I could not have gone solely for the second one. It was probably a little too sexy for the church and probably not high-impact enough.”

Kiki Hronis, whose alterations have been fitting brides into gowns for more than 15 years in Manhattan, worked on Reilly’s dresses. She said she isn’t surprised that brides would want to change mid-wedding.

“Of course not. It’s their wedding day. It’s a very special day. They can keep the other dress and wear it again.”