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Changing Your Wedding Gown Midway Through? Make Sure You Have a Quick-Change Plan

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A few months ago, I wrote a blog about brides buying their dresses too soon -- today, I want to talk about the multiple dress phenomenon. It started about five years ago and it has grown every wedding season since -- about half of my clients with large weddings bring at least two different dresses to wear during their wedding festivities. Is this too much?

Most brides who have two dresses will tell you that they wanted one big traditional poofy dress for the wedding ceremony, and something shorter and more manageable for partying all night long at their reception. Makes sense, I guess (I have trouble relating because I truly loved my gown and wouldn't have wanted to switch). There's absolutely nothing wrong with having more than one wedding dress if you can afford to pay for it. But when I have brides that do three dress changes, I really start to wonder what they're thinking and if they have any idea how much time changing dresses will suck out of their time enjoying their actual wedding reception.

My first two years planning Caribbean destination weddings, the current bridal hair trend was to change up your hair at some point during the evening. Several of my brides wore their hair down for their ceremonies, and then had a professional hairdresser switch it to an elaborate updo after the pictures before they made their grand entrance at the reception. Flat out the most stupid waste of time I've ever seen. Burned up at least 30 minutes. One bride (from Texas) had her hair re-done at least four times during the wedding night. Each time they added more fresh orchid blooms to her hair and with the humidity, by the end of the night, the hairdo was so big I couldn't tell if she was coming or going without finding her face peeking out below. Seriously.

The trend of changing your hair has given way to changing your dress, and like I said before, if having two dresses won't stress out your wedding budget, go for it. Changing dresses certainly takes less time than changing your hair. But don't think that it won't take away some playtime that you would otherwise be spending with your guests. If you plan to wear a ball gown-style dress for your wedding, you're already going to burn time having that sucker bustled at some point before you change out of it. Think about how much time you want to spend changing what you spent so long to put on earlier in the day -0 and then, remember to be quick about it if you still want to wear more than one dress.

Plan things out ahead of time and have the new dress, jewelry and shoes (oh yes, brides usually switch all the accessories too) all set up and ready to go. Designate one friend (absolutely no more than two) to help you change. If you bring up a group of girlfriends, you'll end up gabbing longer than you realize and it will take much longer than necessary. Tell your friend to set a five minute timer on her phone when you get up there -- even if you end up needing 10 minutes, you'll realize how much time you are burning. Remember to take a quick potty break because it will be awhile before you have another chance.

A good wedding planner will help keep you on schedule and urge you to get back out to the party if you're in the bedroom too long, but if you planned your big day yourself, set up a backup plan. Tell your mom or another friend with a strong personality that you're heading in to change and to come kick your butt if you're gone from your own wedding reception longer than 15 minutes. It's easy to let time slip away when you're changing gowns and sipping love martinis with your girlfriends in a ginormous master bedroom of a million-dollar villa. Sneaking cigarettes takes time too. But I promise you, the fun you will be having if you rejoin your groom and your guests faster will be far more satisfying when you think about it the next day.

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!