Wondering What to Wear to a Rehearsal Dinner? Read This Guide for Guests

All of your burning rehearsal dinner outfit questions answered by fashion experts.
what to wear to a rehearsal dinner
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
Sarah Title
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
Sarah Title
Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert
  • Sarah writes a variety of content for The Knot and WeddingWire, including bridal fashion advice and product recommendations.
  • Sarah’s work has also been featured in Brides, Nicki Swift, Betches and Style Me Pretty.
  • Sarah lives in Alexandria, VA with her (new) husband and golden retriever named Brady.
Updated Oct 19, 2021
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If you've been invited to stand by the the couple's side on their big day, you'll likely get an invite to a rehearsal dinner, where the bridal party, groomsmen, and family members share a meal to officially kick off the wedding weekend. The vibe can range anywhere from a casual rehearsal dinner at someone's home to a black tie affair at a nice restaurant. Once you figure out how formal or informal the rehearsal dinner, the dress code for the event will become clear. For example, a formal rehearsal dinner would likely call for dress pants and a dress shirt or a cocktail dress, while a more laidback BBQ would call for a sundress and a casual button down and chinos. If you're struggling with your rehearsal dinner attire, read below for some expert tips as well as a few of our favorite options for a variety of rehearsal dinner styles.

Things to Consider When Choosing Rehearsal Dinner Attire

1. Consider the location.

Before picking a rehearsal dinner outfit, you'll want to consider the setting. "Often times, especially for destination weddings, couples are looking to infuse elements of the locale into their events. Couples who go out of their way to consider these types of details are hoping that their guest indulge and participate. You can also fill in a lot of blanks if you do a quick Google search of the location," Lori Conley says, general merchandising manager at BHLDN / Anthropologie Weddings. What if there's no explicit dress code and you're unsure about the vibe of the venue? "If no formality is specified, stick to semi-formal/cocktail attire for a rehearsal dinner no matter the day or venue type. Simply set aside your denim for the post-wedding brunch and save the ball gown for a black-tie event where it's required," says Blaire Walsh, style director of Rent the Runway.

2. Err on the side of dressy.

When in doubt, experts say it's always better to lean towards a more formal rehearsal dinner outfit. "My advice is that it's always better to be overdressed than underdressed," Walsh says. "Keep in mind that you are going out to socialize and celebrate loved ones so bring your A-game and lean towards styles that are fun, festive, and seasonally appropriate." There are certain items of clothing that should be considered off-limits for a rehearsal dinner. "Never be the guest that is too casual—jeans are off the list, as are sneakers. Its always better to opt for a tad too dressed up then to look sloppy," Conley says.

3. Don't forget to accessorize.

Fun accessories can take a closet staple such as a jumpsuit or a little black dress to the next level. "Accessories can also help pull together the perfect look. Have fun with a bold earring or bracelet stack since you may have a more pared down look for the wedding itself," Conley says. Adding the right jewelry can give your rehearsal dinner outfit a more formal or playful vibe depending on how you decide to accessorize.

Rehearsal Dinner Attire Ideas

We asked a few fashion experts for some rehearsal dinner outfit ideas. "I take a semi casual approach to wedding rehearsal dinners. Pants and a button-down shirt or a semi-casual dress, including midi and mini lengths as well as fancier feeling sundresses," Conley says. "I also love an elevated jumpsuit because it's a comfortable and approachable silhouette that is instantly made more glam in the right fabric, color or details." Walsh offered a few suggestions for a more formal affair. "For a more formal rehearsal dinner, stick to styles that are rich in color, and have that wow factor. Silks, dramatic sleeves, or unique necklines are attributes to look out for when on the search for a formal rehearsal dinner style. What does she suggest for a more casual event? "Casual rehearsal dinners allow guests to have a bit more flexibility and the option to choose from subtle prints like micro florals and more low-key fabrics like cotton or knit."

Rehearsal Dinner Attire You Can Shop Now

nordstrom navy floor length dress with v-neckline spaghetti straps flowy skirt and slit for what to wear to a rehearsal dinner

Consider this floor-length midnight blue dress with a V-neckline for a rehearsal dinner with a more formal dress code. The crepe fabric and knee-high slit add an air of elegance to this flattering look.

abercrombie and fitch grey linen blazer for what to wear to a rehearsal dinner

Show up to a semi-formal rehearsal dinner feeling laidback in this stretch linen blazer. The dress code may not say casual, but your comfort level will be so high you'll have no problem kicking back and relaxing.

bhldn gold brown satin slip dress with spaghetti straps loose neckline and flowy skirt for what to wear to a rehearsal dinner

Nothing says old Hollywood glam quite like a curve-hugging satin charmeuse midi dress with a cowl neckline. Throw on a red lip and a sparkly necklace to complete this rehearsal dinner outfit.

torrid floral print dress with short sleeves high scoop neckline and sheer overskirt for what to wear to a rehearsal dinner

This fitted floral print dress comes with a sheer organza overskirt that can be easily removed to take this rehearsal dinner dress from fun and flirty to seriously sexy.

needle and thread light blue midi dress with short ruffle trimmed sleeves square neckline and tiered skirt with ruffled lining for what to wear to a rehearsal dinner

A powder blue, floral print midi dress adorned with ruffle details and an elasticated bodice would fit in perfectly at an outdoor spring or summer rehearsal dinner event. The pastel hue and flared sleeves add a romantic touch.

macy's salmon colored sport coat for what to wear to a rehearsal dinner

Preppy is the name of the game for this rehearsal dinner outfit. If the rehearsal dinner is a clambake on Cape Cod or at a country club in New England, this salmon-hued linen sport coat will fit right in with the dress code.

rent the runway hot pink high low dress with one shoulder long sleeves high halter neckline and slit for what to wear to a rehearsal dinner

This one-sleeve printed jacquard dress with an asymmetrical hemline works for a more formal rehearsal dinner style. The bold pink hue and open tie-back add pops of drama to this dress.

j crew burnt orange corduroy pants for what to wear to a rehearsal dinner

These trendy slim-fit corduroy pants paired with a button-down and a pair of leather shoes are a great option for a more casual rehearsal dinner look.

asos topshop dark navy maternity maxi dress with floral print halter neckline and side adjustments for what to wear to a rehearsal dinner

If you're expecting but looking for something you can feel comfortable in while staying up way past your normal bedtime, this adjustable floral print dress will grow with your baby so you can feel great in your rehearsal dinner attire at four months pregnant or eight months pregnant.

revolve bright pink one shoulder jumpsuit with wide leg pants for what to wear to a rehearsal dinner

A casual rehearsal dinner calls for a bright and playful jumpsuit like this one. The wide-leg fit and lightweight fabric paired with a trendy pair of sandals makes this an ideal choice for a waterfront celebration.

nordstrom navy blue chambray long sleeve slim fit button down for what to wear to a rehearsal dinner

A chambray button-down is a stylish option for a business casual look. The slim-fit tailoring and silk fabric give this shirt a more polished, suave look.

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