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What to Wear for Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner (For Her)

Bride in her wedding rehearsal dinner

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The wedding rehearsal is a rite of passage that serves a practical purpose as well as being a milestone. You are only going to be a single woman for a few more days, or even hours, and this last family and friends-style get together is a great time to reminisce while also planning your big day. 

You probably haven’t considered too many details about this part of the wedding process, but it really is wise to consider what you will wear to this event. Whether comfortable and relaxed or dressed up and formal, there’s a range of options available for you to pick from.

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Deciding what you will wear to your rehearsal dinner depends on the type of wedding, the theme of the wedding and your personal style.

What is the Rehearsal Dinner?

Before we talk about what you should wear for the rehearsal dinner, there are a few things to consider as these can affect what you plan to wear.

Timing: The rehearsal is usually held the night before your wedding but can be a few days prior as well. This is almost always an event that takes place in the evening around the dinner hour, but it can also be held as breakfast.  The timing may be affected by members of your wedding party who cannot arrive from out of town until the day of the wedding. Always remember to think about wedding party members who work late hours so that you can include them in a dinner function.

Girl holding Champagne in wedding part

Who to Invite: The groom’s family usually hosts this event but sometimes both sets of parents will help out with the hosting and the cost. You will need to invite your wedding party in total (other than children who can be left out due to bedtimes) and also any immediate family who will be involved in any of the parts of the wedding ceremony. It is always wise to invite the officiant who will marry you and their other half as well.

The Food: Wedding rehearsal fare can be as lavish or as sparing as you want, but most rehearsals serve a full dinner to the guests. Sometimes you will need to host the dinner at a different location than the actual venue due to time constraints, and it is worth considering locations that will help out with food prep or who can cater to your chosen meal selections.

How to Choose What to Wear

Some people like going all out formal on their rehearsal dinner, turning it into a proper, serious affair. Others like a relaxed vibe and a fun atmosphere with friends and family. Think about the type of rehearsal dinner you’re planning.

There are no rules as to what you should wear for a rehearsal dinner and the choices can range from jeans and a shirt to a formal ballgown. The choice is yours. But to make it easier to pick, let’s take a look at some options.

What to Wear For Your Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

As mentioned before, your wedding ceremony style and the location of the wedding will play a huge role in the location of the rehearsal dinner.

1- The Casual Wedding Rehearsal: 

Bride wearing casual clothes for rehearsal dinner

Comfortable, warm and stylish for a relaxed wedding rehearsal dinner

Maybe you are having a backyard wedding or a small wedding with a really relaxed dress code. If it is summer, feel free to wear a summer dress or a maxi dress. Sandals are fine but it might be wise to avoid flip flops, at least for the rehearsal part of the event. If it’s going to be cold out, wear something comfortable but warm. Even jeans are okay here, so long as you are comfortable in them.

2- The Country Wedding Rehearsal:

Bride wearing red dress

Country or western themed weddings can be lots of fun to style and your rehearsal can be an extension of that fun.  You can wear your favorite boots and a fun summer dress, or if its going to be cold out, consider some really traditional jeans and boots with a button up shirt.  Flannel is perfect for this style wedding rehearsal and your rehearsal dinner guests can be encouraged to also dress to the theme if you want.

3- The Vintage Wedding Rehearsal:

Bride wearing vintage wedding dress

This can be a really fun rehearsal to plan.  You can suggest that guests come in themed attire and wear your favorite flapper dress or ballgown.  You might also dress in any vintage clothing items that you are most attached to and decorate the rehearsal dinner venue with a bit of thematic flair.  If vintage is your rehearsal style, consider really selling it with a vintage outfit that fits the tone of your upcoming wedding.

4- The Moderately Formal Wedding Rehearsal:

Bride and rehearsal dinner dress

Let’s say that you are planning a wedding that has a ballgown dress and a modest venue but have a lot of people in your wedding party.  Maybe you have a theme that needs to be adhered to that will require that all of the party is on the same page.  The moderately formal dinner can be paired with a nice dress or some slacks and a silky shirt. You might want to be careful of high heels as you will need to be on your feet for much of the evening for this size rehearsal, but if you are worried about practicing walking in your heels, you might bring them for the actual rehearsal.

5- The Formal Wedding Rehearsal:

Bride wearing formal dress for rehearsal dinner

These rehearsals are often the longest in duration and require the most planning. You will want to remember that high heels are possibly going to tax your feet if you wear them for the while rehearsal, but this is definitely not a flip-flop event.   A formal dress in the style of your wedding gown is a perfect ensemble to wear, or you can opt for something fancy that is not like your wedding dress.  A high-quality party dress can be a lot of fun here without changing the tone of the rehearsal itself.  Plan to do something nice with your hair and remember that you might want to ask guests to adhere to a dress code.

6- The Theme Wedding Rehearsal:

Are you having a mermaid wedding? Maybe you have planned out a comic-book themed wedding. If you are going to have a themed wedding, you might also want to have a theme rehearsal.  Ask guests to come in costume and think about having some fun party games that are related to your theme at the dinner.  Don’t be afraid to wear a costume that is in the style of your theme wedding or pick something that accompanies the theme but doesn’t ruin the surprise of your wedding theme outfit for the next day.

7- The Outdoor Wedding:

Bride wearing bohemian rehearsal dinner dress

While you might have to rehearse the actual ceremony outside for this wedding style, you are not confined to having the whole rehearsal dinner outside.  Outdoor weddings are very flexible and you can choose how much of the wedding ceremony you want to have outside. If you are going to have the entire rehearsal outside, consider some comfortable walking shoes.  You could opt for a beautiful lacy bohemian style dress or a more classic dress or skirt and blouse.

Wrapping Up…

When choosing your outfit for the rehearsal dinner, the most important factors are your comfort, your personal style and whether or not you want to include elements of the wedding (such as the theme) into the rehearsal dinner.

Note that it’s not necessary to go all out for the rehearsal dinner. While some prefer to be formal and proper, others like a relaxed atmosphere and having fun with their family and friends. Choose your outfit based on how you want to feel on this special pre-wedding get together.