I’m sure it goes without saying that a lot of background work goes into any wedding. The wedding itself can take months (or years!) to plan, down to every beautiful detail. Not only will the bride and groom have tons to organize before their big day, but everyone in attendance will also spend some time planning where to stay, which gifts to buy, and what they’ll wear. The rehearsal dinner (which is a new term I learned in America – in England it is usually a far more casual party the night before), is still of utmost importance, because it’s the best way to make sure the wedding weekend starts off on the right foot (literally and figuratively).
Whether you’re a bridesmaid, a guest, or even the bride herself, what you decide to wear to a wedding rehearsal is super important. But in my experience, the dress code for this particular occasion can come off as a little vague, as it’s typically not as formal as the wedding itself, but very well could be depending on the venue. We had close family, bridesmaids and groomsmen for dinner in a cozy little pub in the English countryside, and didn’t even specify a dress code. I wore a simple gold silk slip dress with floral heels and a light black jacket, with statement earrings from Rebecca de Ravenel. I felt comfy, but still glam.
As a guest, you don’t want to outshine the bride, and that goes for bridesmaids as well – but it’s still great to make an effort. It all really depends on the setting and tone of the wedding overall, so be sure to keep that in mind (an island getaway, a fancy hotel ballroom, a rustic countryside wedding – each will have a different dress code that is appropriate, whether it’s explicitly stated by the couple or not!).
A few little tips are to 1) play it safe, wear certain pieces and colors you know will flatter you (stick to what you know) and 2) avoid wearing white or anything that may come off as looking too bridal (unless the couple has specified that they would like you to wear white, which is a new trend). If you need a refresher on wedding etiquette, check out my tips here. I’ve come up with three different fail-safe looks for the three types of ladies at any rehearsal dinner. Scroll down to see my picks!
For the Bride
This is the night that will kick-start a beautiful new chapter with your significant other, so what you wear should put the spotlight on you at all times, ultimately because this is your weekend to shine! Of course, you’ve already got the wedding dress all ready to go, but this is your time to make a statement and go a bit bolder than you might be doing with your wedding gown. Style tip? Try opting for a dress or jumpsuit in a bright color or print. Of course, many brides wear white to their rehearsal dinners, but it can be fun to go outside the box (I wanted something contrasting to my fitted lace wedding gown). You’ll – most likely – be wearing white on your big day anyways, so it’s nice to separate the two events a bit.
For the Bridesmaid
As one of the leading ladies behind the bride, you should always look the part. Again, you don’t want to take too much of the spotlight, but you want to dress in a way that shows you’re one of the important women in the bride’s life. Since long gowns will be common on the big day, show a little leg in a chic cocktail dress or high-waisted pants.
For the Guest
As a person who has been chosen to be there on a couple’s special day, show your gratitude with a simple yet head-turning outfit. Upgrade your LBD or jumpsuit by going for a cool pattern or florals – basically dress as if you’re going to a fancy New Year’s occasion (but no denim allowed), just try not to overthink! If anything, you can even still rock some sleek trousers and a silk cami and, one of my favorite staples at the moment, a tuxedo-style blazer.