What to Wear to Rehearsal Dinner
If you receive a printed rehearsal dinner invitation, taking cues from the venue can help you decide how formal your attire should be. The bride or groom’s maid of honor or wedding planner could also offer insight.
If the invitation doesn’t specify black tie, a dark suit or cocktail dress should suffice for men and women.
If the rehearsal dinner is a black tie event, you should definitely go for a full-out formal look. This could be a fun time to try a new trend-forward outfit, like a jumpsuit or even a maxi dress. Just make sure that whatever you choose is well-fitting, comfortable and appropriate for the occasion. If you’re unsure, reach out to the couple or
their family to see if there is any specific guidance they might have for guests.
Men should be wearing a tuxedo or dark colored suit with a white shirt and a black bow tie or cummerbund.
Add a silk or satin pocket square and cufflinks to complete the look. Don’t forget to finish off your outfit with a
pair of dress shoes.
If you’re not sure what to wear to the rehearsal dinner, looking at clues like where the event is being held and if it
has a theme can help. The restaurant’s dress code may also be a clue to what kind of attire is appropriate, as
upscale restaurants typically have more formal attire requirements while casual eateries will allow for more
relaxed looks. The timing of the event can also give you an idea of what to wear, as evening events tend to be
more formal than lunches or brunches.
Just remember that it’s important not to outshine the bride! It’s usually a good rule of thumb to be a little more dressed up than the bride, but you don’t want to out-dance her either. Similarly, jeans and sneakers aren’t appropriate for a rehearsal dinner, as are t-shirts and loungewear (unless you’re the groom). If in doubt, it’s always better to be a bit overdressed than underdressed. Don’t forget to bring the right accessories to the party
too, from a chic clutch and statement earrings to dainty jewelry and even a bold-hued hairpiece.
If the rehearsal dinner is in a formal setting such as a fancy restaurant or hotel ballroom, you should consider
going a little bit dressier than you would for a casual backyard BBQ. Take cues from the event’s time of day, as
well; evening events tend to be more elegant than afternoon or morning ones.
If you can’t decipher what kind of attire is required, it’s safe to assume that the wedding will be very elegant. In
this case, a tuxedo or suit is usually appropriate for men, and a formal dress with a boleros or wrap for women.
Brownstein also suggests considering adding a few extra touches like cufflinks or a pocket square to your look.
Generally, the venue where the dinner will be held can clue you in to how casual or formal to dress. If it’s at a
supper club or another restaurant, a floor-length dress is probably in order, while if the event is in someone’s
backyard or on a beach, a sundress might be better.
Keep in mind, however, that it isn’t always possible to know what kind of attire is required if you were invited via email rather than paper. If you’re unsure, reaching out to the bride or groom or their maid of honor or best man for more information can help you decide.
When in doubt, go for business casual. If the event isn’t a black-tie affair, gray, navy, black or dark red business-style dresses and pantsuits or suits work fine for women, while suit pants, a jacket and tie should do the trick for men. As with any outfit, avoid anything too flashy or inappropriate for a formal event and opt for high-quality fabrics. Fabrics like silk, chiffon and fine knits are more suitable for these types of occasions than inexpensive cotton or polyester. A sweater or blazer in the same color as your suit or tuxedo will also work to dress up your ensemble.