Is Kate Middleton's reception dress better than her wedding dress? Don't make me choose!


Image Credit: John Stillwell/Getty Images

We’ve already pondered the perfection that is Kate Middleton’s wedding dress once today here on PopWatch. But, readers, take a look at the amazing photo before you now of The Duchess’s white satin reception dress. Does this not make your wedding-obsessed soul flutter as it did this morning when she stepped out of her car? To be honest, I gasped when I first saw this beautiful gown (which is reportedly a Sarah Burton — as was her first dress). In fact, dare I say, I like this one better? Between the cardigan, the sparkle, and the figure-flattering effect — ugh, I don’t know! Sleep deprivation is setting in, and that always makes decisions 10 times harder, especially with regard to fashion.

The only thing I am sure of? That a new bar has been set — not only for future royals but for brides in general. A recently-engaged friend of mine said to me shortly after instant messaging me this photo, “On my wedding day, I just wanna feel as pretty as she looked.” And isn’t that the truth?

I now pose the question to you: Which do you like better: The reception dress? Or the wedding dress? And are you sick of this stuff yet? (Impossible!)

(If not, join me for continued fawning on Twitter @EWSandraG.)

Read more:
What will Kathy and Joan say about the Royal Wedding hats?
Kate Middleton’s dress: Most perfect wedding gown ever?
Ken Tucker’s take on the Royal Wedding: The anti-‘Game of Thrones’
Royal Wedding poll: Whose commentary are you most looking forward to?

Comments (219 total) Add your comment
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  • Dina

    I love both gowns!!! I can’t decide which one I like better.

    • deb

      I think that this “dress” is part of the original gown. It would appear to be the same cut in the bodice…In this way, the lace could have been an overlay, and the skirt of the wedding gown, may have been removed. Both gowns are lovely, and understated elegance.

      • SueB

        I agree – the more I look at it, especially the construction of the bra cups and the neckline – they might have just added the wrap around the waist….

      • eva

        No, I don’t think it is the same dress…because there is embroidery on the hem of her first gown, and also the positioning of the skirt and the pleats of the fist gown falls differently to the second. from what i can see anyway, but she looked beautiful in both dresses. Pipper’s dress at the Abbey looked gorgeous as well…

      • ChaCha

        That’s what I thought, too, when I first saw it on the news. It’s as if the lace was removable, and replaced with the fuzzy shrug sweater. The bodice of the dress fits her exactly as it did in the lace-covered wedding gown. And I’m sure the chapel train was removable, as most of them are.

      • notmzbehavin

        I think you’re right–I can’t tell for sure, but it even looks like there’s the little peplum as well.

        If so, that was brilliantly done.

        I loved the cardigan, but the rhinestone belt didn’t do that much for me–I felt it could have been thinner, but that’s nitpicking.

        I loved both looks, they’re both different for different occasions.

        The state-wedding dress will go down in history as being my all time favorite, as the neckline is what I love to wear, and rarely find.

        I didn’t expect to become wrapped up in all the wedding business, after having done so with Diana, but I simply can’t help it–I’ve never had an actual wedding of my own, and now never will, so I lived vicariously through William and Catherine’s, lol.

      • Jennifer

        The underdress of the wedding gown doesn’t appear to have the detailing at the waist that the reception dress does, but it’s a little hard to tell from the pictures I’ve seen. Either way, beautiful choices for each occasion.

      • shelly

        it looks as if the 2nd dress was designed to compliment the 1st, but we’re talking royalty…they sprung for 2 dresses

      • katie

        No, it’s not the same dress. But they are both Sarah Burton and she obviously used the same neckline on them. The skit is completely different.

        I like the ceremony dress better for the wedding, but I think this one is great for the reception. You can’t wear sleeveless in Westminster Abbey.

      • caryn c

        @ shelly – completely agree – I think they were designed to complement each other or this dress was an early version of the ceremony dress but either way, they definitely sprung for two dresses.

      • Charlotte Lewter

        No it’s not the same dress. The wedding dress had an design in the material around the bottom of it and this one is plain.

      • Lauri

        Sorry everyone, but this was covered over the weekend. It was 2 different gowns, but the similarity stems from the fact that they were from the same designer. It would be impossible to alter the skirt of the gown that much in such a short time. It would have had to have been completely dismantled. While both gowns are indeed lovely, they are in fact 2 DIFFERENT gowns.

      • Chris

        No, it’s not the same dress. It may be cut from the same or very similar pattern, but it is not the same dress.

      • ks

        It sure looks like it, she looked amazing! says a lot about Kate!
        When I restored my car the lesson-less is more.

      • Kate

        I thought it might be the same dress too but then I examined the original dress fabric. It is definately two dresses. However, for the everyday bride, the dress could be made as an overlay and removed for the reception. PLEASE let us NOT put pressure on the bridal budget by demanding two dresses! I loved my wedding dress & I did not want to take it off. Kate’s dress goes straight to the museum, so she didn’t need to get it messed up WITH with all the champagne and canapes, also the train is difficult to manage in a crowd. Mine had a very small train and a wrist loop but I still had to carry it around.

    • Le Japanese Japanese HIROSHI

      “. . . dare I say, I like this one better?”

      – –


      – –

      To be honest, I prefer this one as shown herein to another piece at the main event as well.

      – –

      Certainly, the wedding dress served so well its purpose, but on TV, au contraire to bearing witness unto the delicious piece in person, IMV its value seems diminished; whilst the reception dress herein looks almost perfect and so well beautiful and elegant.

      – –

      The wedding dress: B+ [as seen on TV only]
      The reception dress: A-

      – –

      One thing for sure: I can’t afford either of them (for my would-be bride if any). : )

      – –

      PS: Ms. Middleton the Duchess looks so lovely in this picture. Thank you for uploading.

      • mccliza

        Mrs. Wales in this photo. No longer Ms. Middleton!

    • joan richardson

      I think both dresses are unbelievable,and so classic. I think the wedding dress was the perfect wedding dress and the reception dress perfect that part of the celebration.

    • gracbarry

      kates wedding dress i love what a beautiful dress for a beautiful bride.she is so natural.her dress is the best ever.i vote for her dress she wore to marry in

  • Ella

    Bother are lovely! I think i like the ceremony dress better, but this one is practically perfect in every way. I can’t help but wish, though, that there is another dress up her sleeve–maybe something couture? I can’t get enough of this stff, even though I am running on three hours of sleep.

    And is it just me, or does anyone else wish they could be a fly on the wall during Prince Harry’s best man speech? Sure hope someone gives us the gist of what was said

  • jt

    Beautiful and tasteful, simple and elegant.

  • Dolly

    Both are gorgeous….they’re both perfect for their needs, I wouldn’t want to wear the wedding dress to the reception, and the reception dress isn’t as dramatic for the wedding….I hope the wedding dress starts a comeback for the style again….grace kelly looked gorgeous in a similar dress all those years ago…..the sleeves are so fresh and a change from what we’ve seen lately.

    • katie

      Yep – agree with you. The wedding dress was exactly what was needed for the abbey. Love the sleeves.

    • Di

      It was a very 60s dress. The Sound of Music had the same dress shape in satin

      • Elizabeth

        I agree with you. I feel the wedding dress was of a another decade, I swear my mother wore something similar in the 70’s.

  • annemie

    I reckon it is the same dress with the outer layer removed!

    • Kvivik

      It’s not. The neckline is different on this dress.

      • notmzbehavin

        What you’re perceiving as the difference is actually the lace over-lay. The under-bodice is the same in both pictures.

        It would be easy enough to have the lace be removable.

      • katie

        It’s not the same dress – just the same sweetheart neckline. They’re both Sarah Burton so she defintiely designed them to be similar in style. But the skirt and material are different. And it’s not like the Windsors can’t afford 2 dresses.

      • Chasmosaur

        Oh my god – why on earth would you think that the lace would be removable? Did you not read about the incredible effort that went into the lace work for the dress? It is lace applique, which means it is built into the structure and fabric. This dress is by the same designer, and obviously designed upon similar lines to evoke the wedding dress, but in no way, shape or form is it the actual wedding dress.

  • joni

    I love both dresses, but the one thing that bothered me is that they both needed to be an inch shorter. I’m sure her princess slippers were beautiful, too, and it would have not been a bad thing to see them poking out when she walked. The front of the dresses was too long and hung beyond the floor at times. This is the fitters mistake, but Princess Catherine was stunning, regardless!

    • myprettypony

      No, the dresses are the correct length. Your shoes are not supposed to show.

    • PJ

      You can see in her walking shots that the front of the gown was not too long. The arch pleats tapered beautifully around to the train. With an unquestionably formal theme and cathedral train – not to mention an actual cathedral setting – it just isn’t done having shoes peeking out underneath. It would be a tacky faux pas. She wasn’t going to prom, this is Westminster Abbey!

  • looloo

    come on are you serious? the wedding dress was much more beautiful. i mean the second one is beautiful too but it didn’t take my breath away.the wedding dress was just perfect. the second one is just too simple. just imagine if she had stepped out of the car this morning wearing the second dress, how disappointed would you have been? that’s why she wore the first one when she did “cuz obviously it’s much more beautiful”.

    • tarc

      And I’d reverse everything you just said. The reception dress is stunning, and will look fantastic at a distance (unlike the wedding dress, which only looks remarkable up close).

    • katie

      I agree – love the first one the most. I think this one is lots of fun and perfect for the reception, but she would have never worn it for the wedding. Love the classic look of the wedding dress.

    • Caroline

      I agree – wedding dress was much better – the jacket of the reception dress is too short and makes her wrists look strange.

  • Woot

    I’m not a fashion person or anything, but my god! Can this woman look bad in anything?

    • Long Balls

      She’s very bangable. So, teh story goes … even an ugly prince gets some hot tail.

  • Hera

    I like the reception dress better because it’s not a fluffy and it’s just I like it better

  • Hera

    Who agrees??

  • Julie

    I liked the first but I LOVE the second. It’s modern and seems to be much more to her style. The first one had to be formal, clearly, but didn’t seem to be as natural a choice for her.

    • April

      I agree. I like this second dress much more, although I could do without the feathered shrug. The first one was really just ceremonial, this is the real party dress!

  • Tica

    The dresses were nice that’s it.
    David Tutera where were you when the royals needed help choosing bridal dresses?

    • Jennifer

      Both dresses are lovely and fit her style. She’d have looked ridiculous in the overdone things that David Tutera makes people wear.

      • Lauri

        I agree. I have yet to see a bride he dressed and think “I wish I looked like THAT when I got married!”. No, the brides almost always end up looking cheap and pieced together. I enjoy his show because it’s fun, but I wouldn’t let him anywhere NEAR a royal bride!!

  • M&J

    Both are beautiful. But I like the reception dress better. The cardigan is a nice touch…and her hair looks great!

  • Tica

    The dresses were nice enough. DAVID TUTERA where were you when the Royalls were choosing wedding gowns??

    • maggie

      He was staying far away, thankfully.

  • Karen Byers

    Is the second dress a very clever, modern way of changing the same outfit to create two looks by removing the lace overlay and bustle – strunning anyway!

    • katie

      It is gorgeous, but it’s defintiely a different dress. Clearly the sweetheart neckline on this one was inspired by the other though.

      • Debbie

        two different dress total!
        Both fit for princess!
        I love the wedding dress!
        The other was beautiful also but not as ellagat just a very classy bride she know the right thinks to wear

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