What Should A Bridesmaid Wear To A Rehearsal Dinner?

The rehearsal dinner is a lot of fun by the time it comes around. But naturally, it’s another event that can cause some stress and anxiety regarding what to wear. Particularly for the bridesmaids. But what attire is appropriate, and how should they dress? Here is all that you should know. 

So, what should a bridesmaid wear to a rehearsal dinner? A bridesmaid can essentially wear whatever she wants, within reason, and as long as the bride doesn’t assign a certain attire. What is deemed appropriate will also depend on the formality of the dinner; it could be casual, like a patterned mini dress, or it may require something more elegant like a cocktail dress. 

In reality, much depends on the rehearsal dinner.

That’s why it is so essential to discuss it with the bride ahead of time.

Besides, you need time to plan your outfit. And then there’s shopping for it too!

And it is quite a tricky one; a bridesmaid does not want to outshine the bride, but nor does she want to look out of place. 

So, let’s talk about what situations work for each kind of attire and how to decide what’s best and when.

Rehearsal Dinner Outfit Ideas For Bridesmaids 

Now, this is the fun part. Let’s get into all the different things you can wear to a rehearsal dinner as a bridesmaid. 

Needing inspiration, we got you from fancy cocktail dresses to chill summer outfits that are comfy and casual but not underdressed. 

With accessories and the right colors, you will be the second-best looking gal at the rehearsal dinners.

Cocktail Looks

A dressy rehearsal dinner is something that your bride will give you a little heads up on. 

If you aren’t really sure, you can always first check to see the venue first and ask the bride second. 

There are a number of ways to do a cocktail look without overdoing it.

  1. Simple one-color look. A cocktail dress has a certain elegance to it. A tight dress with a lower mid-thigh length in a basic solid color is a fantastic look. The color can be anything you want, from a favorite neon color to a stunning bold red. When you work with a lighter color, you have more room for other pastels in your accessories. But when you work with a bold color like red or royal blue, don’t mix and match colors. Keep it bold and beautiful. You don’t have to overdo it.
  2. A bit of pattern. When you think of cocktail dresses and patterns, you can really pull a whole lot of looks off. Reserve your fun and flirty looks for casual attire, and go with interesting and unique patterns for your cocktail dress. Think bold still. Snakeskin, army, glittery. Any of these work, but you need to think of the season and what makes the most sense. Play with your seasons.

Casual And Comfy

Not every wedding rehearsal dinner requires elegance and upscale dining. 

Sometimes a simple BBQ is all the bride wants, which means you can dress it down a little.

For some of us, that’s a blessing. 

Here are some of the classic looks that are both comfortable and cute for a more chill setting.

  1. Paisley patterns and a lot of fun. Casual and comfy allows for some fun when it comes to summer dresses. These are your cute mini-dresses that have some flow. You can play with ruffles and texture while pairing it up with flower looks.
  2. Boho Long. Usually, when girls wear beautiful Boho dresses their white and filled with ruffles. Best not to choose a white dress, but pastel or print is another great option. This is where you can play with the straps of the dress and work a simple strap or a criss-cross through the back.

Something In-Between

Rehearsal dinners don’t always require a dress. 

Typically, they are a little more casual than the actual wedding, which means you can mix up your apparel and change up the look. 

Here are some great suggestions outside of wearing a dress.

  1. Rompers. Whether it is a short romper or a long bodysuit romper, it is a fantastic option for both casual and dress-up attire. Feeling a little leg? Keep it short! Feeling like a boss lady in power? Go full pant.  
  2. Skirts and crop tops. Showing a little stomach is more and more acceptable. This is more difficult because you want to keep it classy. But wearing either a short or long skirt can be complemented with a nice crop top that is complimentary and not too sexy.

What About Accessories?

Accessories are where you can make or break your outfit. 

Some looks don’t call for accessories, but others really can be enhanced with some cute accessories.

For a full breakdown, definitely check out our blog on wedding accessories. But here is what you need to know in a recap.

Bold And Simple

For your bold looks, key it simple by matching gold, silver, or pearls to complete the look.

No need to mix and match colors or do anything over the top. This look has strength in simplicity, so it’s best to keep it that way.

The exception is bringing a cute clutch that can stray from the theme. But then again, better to match it.

White Shoes Only

White and black become easy colors to coordinate with your shoes, but the exception to bringing some white into your look is in the shoes.

White almost always looks better than black because it provides a little more pop and gives you a classy sailors look.

Fascinators

Wanting to do something a little different? Fascinators are a great way to really dress up your look and stand out.

This may look out of place at a casual wedding, but for your glam friends that overdo it every time, uh-huh yup, this is where you can be Kate Middleton.

If you’re not into fascinators and it’s a summer month, floppy hats are also in and can make a Boho or a cocktail dress look fabulous.

What Should A Bridesmaid Not Wear To A Rehearsal Dinner?

There is not a lot that a bridesmaid should not wear to a rehearsal dinner, but there are definitely are some pointers to keep in mind. 

These are just thoughtful things to first not be the canter of attention but also to stick with the appropriate theme of the wedding.

Avoid Whites

You don’t want to be wearing white at any point during the wedding festivities unless it’s just an accessory.

White will always be reserved for the bride even if they aren’t wearing it.

There are a few exceptions with pearls and your shoes and maybe hints here or there but other than that, nothing more than 25 percent of your outfit should have white.

No Jeans Unless Said

Wearing jeans, especially the ones with rips in, are just a no.

Even in casual settings, you want to keep it somewhat dressed up. The only exception is when the bride says for everyone to wear jeans.

This is pretty rare.

Don’t Go Too Sexy

Usually, there is a mix of people at the wedding and the rehearsal so wearing hardly anything is never a good look.

Not only can it be inappropriate, but it takes attention away from the beautiful couple.

While crop tops are generally OK, there is a degree of skin you want to keep covered. Avoid too much stomach and too much cleavage.

Do You

While I can certainly give you all the advice in the world, it’s important to remember that after the request of your bride, it’s important to wear something that is going to make you happy. 

You don’t want to be in a tight cocktail dress all night if it’s going to make you uncomfortable. 

There are ways to dress up or dress down while also keeping it right in your wheelhouse. 

Remember, first, you want to try and seek out what the venue is like and if you can’t grasp the vibe and there have been no demands of the bride, just ask.

After that, you can start looking at what looks are going to suits you best. 

Is it going to be something bold and beautiful, or are you more of a pattern and fabric play kind of person? 

Either way, there are so many options when it comes to dressing up for the wedding rehearsal dinner. 

Just remember you always want to finish your look off with accessories no matter whether it’s simple, just like the dress, or it’s a little more outgoing.

It’s most important to remember what not to do rather than what to do. 

You want to blend in to a degree as the canter of attention really is on the happy couple. 

This means really not wearing any white but also not dressing too sexy or too casually. Luckily, those aren’t orders that are too difficult.

Worst comes to worst; always check with your bride.