Weddings

15 Wedding Reception Dresses Under $500 That You’ll Want to Wear All Night Long

After the “I do’s” have been said, all that’s left to do is party. If you’re ready to escape your corseted wedding gown, here’s 15 reception gowns under $500 to try on for size. Change into dress No. 2 before the first dance, or wait until the end of the night to wear it as a getaway gown.

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This flirty sheath dress is the perfect way to kick off the post-ceremony party. Allegra dress, $418 at Parker.

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This textured mini dress is simple and sophisticated, with an always-flattering cut. Pacey low V-neck Lantern dress, $485 at Alice and Olivia.

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Because there’s nothing better for getting down on the dance floor than a jumpsuit. Mara jumpsuit, $280 at BHLDN.

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This Art Deco gown is regal enough for a bride, casual enough for chowing down on that reception taco bar. Laundry by Shelli Segal embellished cutout back gown, $365 at Bloomingdale’s.

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Nothing says “party time” like a short dress with lots of sparkle. Cap sleeve fully beaded cocktail dress, $329 at Adrianna Papell.

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This breezy floral gown is perfect for outdoor summer cocktail receptions. Fleur dress, $375 at Erin Fetherston.

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A straightforward sheath with some daring cutouts, this one-shoulder dress is ideal for the downtown bride who isn’t afraid to be fashionable—or to show a little leg. Minimal cut out crepe dress, $295 at Halson Heritage.

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This draped, flowy gown will give you room to breathe again after changing out of your wedding dress. Secha one-shoulder draped gown, $298 at BCBG.

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Because just about everything is cooler with a cape. Milly Cyrano shift, $70 rental at Rent the Runway.

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For brides who were all buttoned up for the ceremony and want to let a little loose during the reception, this deep-V gown is ready to party. Halston Heritage hardware-accented V-neck gown, $445 at Saks Fifth Avenue.

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Why buy a second dress when you can rent one? This gorgeous Nha Khanh gown retails at $945, but it can be yours for the night for just $150 at Rent the Runway.

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As sweet and delicate as a bridal gown, this little lace number will free your legs for dancing. Plus, that open back is killer. Aaliyah Dress, $390 at BHLDN.

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For a warm-weather wedding, you can’t go wrong with this lightweight silk jumpsuit. Crepe de Chine bridal jumpsuit, $495 at J. Crew.

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Local designer Mera Anwar’s Miri line is full of fresh designs—and this skirt and top duo is perfectly bridal. Sophia lace blouse, $165, and Emma lace skirt, $242 at Miri.

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This simple t-shirt dress will help you to loosen up post-ceremony, just in time for the first dance. Scoop back sequin gown, $280 at Adrianna Papell.

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Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.