The Big Transition

From ceremony style to your reception look.

Illustration by Bee Murphy

Every bride and groom needs two looks for their wedding day, says Durham. For the ceremony, the focus is on beauty and tradition. But the minute you walk back down the aisle together, you become the hosts of the biggest party of your lives. You need to get ready to greet your guests.


For the ceremony, emphasize the bridal look with clean, simple makeup and pearl stud earrings. But once you reach the reception, prepare to party by bustling your dress, taking off the veil, and setting aside your bouquet. Then, perform these three transition tricks. (Tuck supplies in your bag ahead of time!)

• Emphasize your eyes by outlining the very corners with a smoky eye pencil and smudging.

• Apply red lipstick. The right red will make your teeth look whiter, photograph well, and make your smile extra celebratory. Be sure to blot well so it doesn’t smear.

• Replace the pearls with face-framing and festive chandelier earrings


At the ceremony, honor tradition with a suit or tuxedo and sedate bowtie, vest, and boutonniere. But the rules relax for the reception, where you can let your style shine.

• Swap the bow tie for a long tie in your favorite color or print.

• Trade your vest and suit jacket for the more relaxed fit of a dinner jacket.

• Add a bit of bling by pinning on a boutonniere brooch in place of your flowers. 

• For added fun, switch your socks for lively prints—or go all the way and exchange your dress shoes for colorful (and comfortable) sneakers.

This article originally appeared in our Weddings 2019 issue. Want more Monte? Click here for his tips on how to find your “Yes Dress.”

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