Brides can change into a second dress right after their ceremony and before the reception begins or you can change during the reception. It’s entirely up to you.
A reception dress is usually a gown which is not as traditional and modest as the gown you wear for your ceremony. Bride who need more coverage for a religious ceremony may opt for a more modest design for the ceremony and a sexier gown for the party.
If your reception will begin with a meal and dancing to follow you may want to wear your first dress through the dinner and then change right after your first dance or before the party gets started. If your reception will have dinner and dancing alternating you may decide to change during the second course or right before your cake cutting.
For couples having an after party, since the night will last longer than four hours, you may opt to change for the cake cutting and continue the celebration in your second dress until the wee hours of the morning.
Whenever you decide to change make sure your photographer gets photos of you in both gowns with and without the groom.