Not Sure What to Wear to Your Rehearsal Dinner? Read This

We break down all of your options.
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Associate Editor
  • Sarah is an Associate Digital Editor for The Knot, with special focuses on features, pop culture and wedding trends.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Jan 09, 2020

As your wedding weekend draws closer, there's one outfit you should be thinking about besides your wedding dress: your rehearsal dinner attire. Choosing what to wear to a rehearsal dinner is an important task that shouldn't be forgotten. This event serves as the formal kick-off to your wedding festivities, where your loved ones begin to gather to celebrate you and your fiancé—meaning you'll need a fabulous outfit for the occasion.

With so many options available, it can be hard to find the perfect look. Below, we break down everything that goes into deciding what to wear to a rehearsal dinner. Whether your style is simply classic or trendy and bold, your rehearsal dinner attire should be a reflection of your personal style. Here's what to consider when selecting your outfit.

Get Inspired By Your Rehearsal Dinner Venue

Naturally, the first thing to keep in mind when selecting your look is what type of rehearsal dinner you're actually having. Much like how your wedding venue can influence your gown, the same can be said for your rehearsal dinner dress.

Are you having a casual backyard BBQ or an elegant soirée at a country club? A dinner in someone's home or at a steak restaurant? Is it an intimate gathering, or a free-for-all with all of your out-of-town guests? These are the questions to ask when deciding what to wear to a rehearsal dinner. The type of party you're having should set the tone for what you wear—for example, cocktail attire for a swanky rooftop dinner or a breezy sundress for a casual outdoor gathering.

Shop Styles Unlike Your Wedding Dress

Your rehearsal dinner is a great opportunity to go bold with your fashion choices. Consider wearing a rehearsal dinner outfit that helps you express yourself in a different way than your wedding gown does. If your dress is traditional (lace and long sleeves, for instance), go for something more contemporary for your rehearsal dinner (like a sleek jumpsuit) to show off a different side of your style.

Now is also a great chance to wear a trend you're loving. While you might want to keep your wedding look classic, use your rehearsal dinner to show off an eye-catching hair accessory or a pair of printed heels to make a statement. Or, if you're wearing a bold wedding dress, consider sporting a different silhouette like a silk sheath gown or a fitted midi dress.

Go Bold With a Pop of Color

Any shade of white is a great choice for your rehearsal dinner—you'll look every bit the part of the bride that way, of course. But a white rehearsal dinner dress isn't the perfect fit for everyone. If you want to break with tradition and have a little fun with your rehearsal dinner attire, feel free to incorporate some color into your outfit.

There are no rules when it comes to your night-before-the-wedding look. If you'd rather wear a sleek little black dress or bold red pantsuit, go for it. Or, stick to light hues of pink, green or lavender. (You could also use this moment to wear "something blue.") No matter the color palette you follow, keep in mind that this is a great opportunity to show off your personality.

Play With Prints

Much like pops of color, fun prints are also a great way to spice up your rehearsal dinner attire. If you're struggling with choosing what to wear to your rehearsal dinner, opt for something unexpected, like a floral frock or a dazzling sequined jumpsuit to really make a statement. As the bride, you're not relegated to wearing solid white if you'd rather stun in something unexpected. With so many bridal outfit options, why not take advantage of the chance to wear what you love at your rehearsal dinner?

Opt For Comfort

This will likely be your first time greeting some of your guests and mingling with out-of-town family members. When it comes to deciding what to wear to a rehearsal dinner, comfort is key. Make sure you can move around in whatever you're wearing—the last thing you want to worry about is an itchy hemline or a skirt that keeps riding up. Your rehearsal dinner is all about spending time with your fiancé and your loved ones, so you don't want to spend the night preoccupied with preventing a wardrobe malfunction. This is the time to wear something easy and relaxed, not fussy and annoying. To avoid an outfit mishap, make sure you can try on the dress ahead of time so you can make any necessary adjustments.

Buy Something You Love Wearing

Don't buy a rehearsal dinner dress because you think it's what you should wear or what your family would want you to wear (or what you think would look the best on the 'gram). Your rehearsal dinner is the kickoff event to your wedding weekend, so pick an option that makes you feel your best. When you feel confident, you look confident—and that's the best way to start your wedding weekend.

Up Next
  • collage of pictures from Gallow Green at The McKittrick Hotel
    Six Surpringing Rehearsal Dinner Rules You Can Break