In some countries, a bride wears several dresses over the course of her wedding day. In India, for instance, the bride must change into a new dress for each celebration she attends. The festivities often last for several days. And in China, the bride may change outfits up to eight times. But when an American bride changes dresses, it is often a matter of practicality, rather than tradition.
Until only recently, brides in the West were expected to wear their wedding dresses for the entire celebration. But as bridal dresses became bigger, heavier, and more elaborate, this became impractical. Honestly, how can a bride be expected to enjoy her reception in a brocade wedding gown that weighs ten to fifteen pounds? If she is in extremely fit condition and she can stand the heat, she may be able to get through a dance or two before she needs a break.
Since most brides want to have a good time rather than a workout at their reception, they have embraced the popular new trend of taking off their wedding dresses after the ceremony and slipping into a reception gown. As a general rule, the bride will wear her wedding dress while she dances with her new husband and her father and then she can excuse herself to change into a more comfortable and appropriate party dress.
When the bride reappears, the festivities begin in earnest. This is when the band or the DJ starts playing the dance numbers. Free from the weight and heat of her wedding dress, the bride can boogie down, trip the light fantastic, and dance all night! The typical reception gown is lightweight, has a high hemline, and is made from breathable natural materials like cotton and silk.
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