How to Choose the Right Outfit for Your Rehearsal Dinner

Look good the big night before your big day.


Wedding Table Decor photo via Shutterstock

You have your gown, your headpieces, your shoes, and even what you’re planning on wowing him with on the honeymoon.

Then all of a sudden you’re stopped in your tracks as someone asks about your rehearsal dinner outfit.

Remain calm. No need to get a stress blemish. We asked Boston stylist Christina Pierce, founder of Christina K. Pierce: Boutique Fashion Agency, her thoughts on what to wear for the big night before the big day. It’s the beginning of the “all eyes on you” concept, and you should dress accordingly.

“I think a wedding event is a great opportunity to get dressed up and feel special, and I always advocate for dressing for the occasion,” she says. “I think traditionally a skirt and blouse are too casual. There are plenty of day-to-day opportunities for skirts and blouses, so why not choose an outfit as special as the event being hosted in your honor! In general, I feel like you can never be overdressed, but remain comfortable. Choose something you can move around in and enjoy the evening in.”

Since it’s a sneak peek for important friends and family, consider the wedding vibe when planning your outfit for your rehearsal dinner. “The theme of the wedding should set the tone for the ensemble in terms of colors, patterns, etc.,” Pierce says. “For a beach wedding, I would advise something flowing and breezy, whereas for a ballroom wedding, you might want to aim for something with more structure.”

And don’t think that the wedding is the only place to wear white. “I do think brides enjoy wearing white and cream for pre-wedding events as it speaks to the specialness of the event,” she says. “Colors such as blush and champagne or metallic are also safe choices as well, but most importantly, choose something you feel special in.”

If you had a little trouble deciding on your bridal style (classic versus whimsical, for instance), now’s the time to play out the role you didn’t choose for the actual wedding. For instance, if your wedding is very traditional with a Cinderella ball gown, go modern with a more fitted rehearsal dinner dress. “This is a great opportunity for brides to feel like they got to experience different bridal looks for one event,” she says.

And as always, there are some no-nos. You don’t want to be sitting next to your grandmother in a too-tight bandage dress cut up to here and down to there. And Pierce suggests staying away from trends or “of the moment colors” such as neon.

“I think choosing something tasteful and timeless for your rehearsal dinner is almost as important as choosing a dress for the big day,” adds Pierce. “You want to look back at pictures many years to come and feel confident and comfortable with your choice.”


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