How to Dress for a Rehearsal Dinner

by Sarah Vrba

A wedding is way more than just the hour-long ceremony -- it's a marathon of events, especially for close friends and family. There are showers, rehearsals, luncheons, cocktails, after parties and the all-important rehearsal dinner. This event is the classic occasion for storytelling, laughs and speeches, and often requires snappy cocktail attire.

Women's Cocktail Confections

Rehearsal dinners can be relatively dressy events. If the dress code on the invitation reads "semi-formal", opt for fitted cocktail dresses. In the spring and summer, soft, fresh colors like pastel pink, mint green or lavender and favorable. Likewise, deep navy or black are optimal for colder months. Be sure to keep the length only a couple inches above the knee. Pair the dress with neutral or metallic heels and a warm wrap for a simple, elegant look. For those ladies who prefer pants, a pair of wool trousers and a blouse in a rich color make for a classic twist on cocktail attire.

Casual Dress Rehearsal

Some weddings set a casual tone, such as destination ceremonies on sandy beaches. For those more toned-down events, a long maxi dress and some beaded sandals are a perfect blend of casual and dressy. If the bride and groom choose a casual restaurant, rock a pair of dark-wash jeans in a skinny or boot cut; pair your denim with a jewel-toned top and some polished boots or heels. Add a chunky accent necklace and bracelet and sweep your hair up into a loose chignon for a stylish flair.

Gentleman's Choice

For those rehearsal dinners in elegant or fine-dining establishments, gentlemen have a range of appropriate ensembles. Pair a suit in a soft gray or tweed with a pressed, white shirt and a lavender or mint-green tie. Alternatively, pair some trousers with a pastel shirt and a skinny tie for a pulled-together look. Always remember your polished dress shoes and add a pocket square to your suit jacket for added flair.

Dialed Down Dude

Casual dinners call for neat, dark-wash denim and a nice polo shirt or button-up. For those colder months, a sweater in black or deep jewel tones pair wonderfully with the same jeans. Avoid wearing tattered or old jeans and always wear a pair of dress shoes in good condition to keep the look appropriate for a rehearsal dinner. Keep your hair and facial hair groomed even though your clothing may be casual.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Sarah Vrba has been a writer and editor since 2006. She has contributed to "Seed," "AND Magazine," Care2 Causes and "202 Magazine," among other outlets, focusing on fashion, pop culture, style and identity. Vrba holds an M.A. in history with an emphasis on gender and fashion in the 19th century.