What to Look for in a Rehearsal Dinner Dress

What to look for in a rehearsal dinner dress [Bella Bridesmaids]

Photo: Bella Bridesmaids Kansas City/Sheree Nicole

The rehearsal dinner is one of our favorite wedding traditions!

The intimate gathering of close family and friends the night before the big day often turns out to be the best pre-wedding event.

And for a moment as special as this, you’ll want to look and feel your best, which means you’ll need an amazing outfit! 

But what type of dress should you wear to your rehearsal dinner? 

What color should you choose?

How formal should you go?

Keep reading because we have all the answers.

Here’s what to look for in a rehearsal dinner dress, plus a few outfit ideas you’ll love!

Should the Bride Wear White to the Rehearsal Dinner?

When it’s time to choose a rehearsal dinner dress, almost every bride has the same question:

Should I wear white?

The little white dress is always a winner, and many brides wear white to all of their pre-wedding events, including the engagement party, bridal shower, and bachelorette party

If you’re embracing every bride-to-be moment and want to wear white as often as possible, go for it!

What you wear to your rehearsal dinner is totally up to you. White is the traditional color choice, but there are no rules about what color to wear. 

If you feel most comfortable in black, wear black! On the other hand, if you feel your best in bright pink, channel your inner Elle Woods and rock a hot pink halter dress!

The best part about shopping for rehearsal dinner party dresses is that there are many options. Your perfect dress is out there, no matter what color, style, or fabric you prefer!


Choose a Dress That Fits the Formality of Your Rehearsal Dinner Venue


Matching a dress to a rehearsal dinner venue

Photo: Keli Photography

While your rehearsal dinner dress can be any color you like, it should meet the level of formality of the event. 

Having your rehearsal dinner in a casual restaurant by the water? 

Instead of shopping for formal dresses, opt for an easy, flowy beach dress that suits the vibe of a casual seaside venue. 

Hosting your rehearsal dinner at an upscale hotel restaurant or a swanky rooftop bar in New York City? 

Opt for a beaded cocktail dress or make a statement in head-to-toe sequins. Or you can keep it classic and chic in a short sleeve crepe sheath dress or midi slip dress. 

Throwing a relaxed backyard bash to pre-empt a cottagecore or rustic fairytale wedding in the woods? 

Pick a short puff sleeve dress that’s comfortable, casual, and oh-so-sweet. 


Discover: 7 Expert Tips for Hosting a Successful Wedding Rehearsal


Pick a Dress That Goes With Your Theme

Everyone loves a theme party! So if you’re planning a rehearsal dinner around a certain theme, choose a dress that fits that theme’s color, style, and spirit.

For a luau theme on an island, choose something loose and airy — an open-back maxi dress in a floral print or tropical pattern is perfect!

Is your plan to have a casual country BBQ by the lake? Then, keep it playful with a mini dress or a knee-length dress with ruffles, bows, or whimsical embellishments. 

Throwing a taco and tequila party on the beach? 

Opt for a dress that’s easy breezy, and your look will fit perfectly with the theme, no matter what color or print you choose.

When planning a rehearsal dinner with a specific theme, let everyone know at least a few weeks in advance. That includes your bridesmaids, groomsmen, father and mother of the bride and groom, and other guests. 

That way, everyone will have plenty of time to find the perfect look for your rehearsal dinner!

Select a Dress That Fits the Season (and Weather)


How to pick a dress that fits the season and the weather

Photo: Photos by Julieta

When choosing a rehearsal dinner dress, be sure to take the season and weather into account. The trick is to find that Goldilocks sweet spot so you’ll be perfectly comfortable (not too hot or cold).

Dressing for the weather definitely comes into play when choosing a fabric, sleeve length, and neckline.

Consider a strapless A-line dress in a floral print or a flowing maxi dress with a cut-out back and a halter neckline for a summer wedding rehearsal dinner.

For a spring or fall dinner, wear a sleeveless lace dress or a chiffon wrap dress with a V-neck and short sleeves.

For a winter event, you might choose a long sleeve cowl-neck design or a high-neck silhouette in velvet ... So chic!

If you plan to have your rehearsal dinner outdoors, having options is a good idea. It never hurts to have a backup outfit ready to go, just in case the weather isn’t what you expect it to be.

Shopping for bridesmaids dresses? Discover hundreds of stunning modern bridesmaids dresses in our online collection!

Choose a Dress That You Love!

Your rehearsal dinner dress should make you feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful. So throw out any rules you think you “must” follow and find a dress that makes you feel your absolute best.

For some brides, that’s a white midi dress. For other brides, it’s a one-of-a-kind couture piece. For others, it’s a floral dress in a shift silhouette or a one-shoulder bodycon dress with sexy ruched or pleated details. 

Some brides choose not to wear a dress at all and opt for a chic jumpsuit, a comfortable romper, or a sleek pant-and-blouse combo instead. Depending on the weather, a tailored blazer jacket and a sleek tuxedo pant may be the ideal choice!


Find Your Rehearsal Dinner Dress at Bella Bridesmaids 

When you gather with your besties to go bridesmaid dress shopping, take some time to look around for yourself. You just might be able to find the perfect rehearsal dinner dress as well! 

Here are a few looks you’ll find at your local Bella store that can totally work for a rehearsal dinner:

Jenny Yoo Adelaide Dress


Jenny Yoo Adelaide dress from Bella Bridesmaids

The Jenny Yoo Adelaide Dress puts a literal twist on the classic strappy slip dress. With spaghetti straps, a V-neckline, and a twist bust with a cut-out, this luxe satin look is easy to dress up or dress down. 

Amsale Little White Dress


Amsale little white dress available from Bella Bridesmaids

If your heart is set on wearing white, the Amsale Little White Dress is a gorgeous option! In structured faille fabric, this strapless look is simple and chic, with a bow in the back that adds a playful surprise. 

Hayley Paige Occasions Jumpsuit 52000


Hayley Paige Occasions jumpsuit 52000 (available from Bella Bridesmaids)

Prefer pants to a dress? This Hayley Paige Occasions Jumpsuit features a fitted, pleated bodice and wide-leg pants, making it super flattering on brides of all shapes and sizes. 

After Six 1533 Midi Dress 


After Six 1533 Midi dress for rehearsal dinner (available from Bella Bridesmaids)

For the bride-to-be that loves lace, the After Six 1533 Midi Dress might be exactly what you’re looking for. This lace dress has a romantic feel in a midi length with a bustier bodice, spaghetti straps, and a fit-and-flare skirt. 

LulaKate Ella Bodice With Straight Midi Skirt


LulaKate Ella bodice w/ straight midi skirt (available from Bella Bridesmaids)

The LulaKate Ella Bodice with Straight Midi Skirt proves that coordinating separates can have just as big an impact as a one-piece dress! This look is equally elegant, classic, feminine, and chic in shantung with a one-shoulder ruffle bodice. 

What you wear to your rehearsal dinner is completely your call. That’s true whether you’re in the mood for a boho moment or looking to be ultra-glamorous the night before the big day.

It’s all about embracing your personal sense of style. This is one of your big wedding moments, so enjoy it in the way that feels most natural for you.

And while there aren’t many rehearsal dinner dress rules, there are two things to keep in mind:

First, don’t wait until the last minute! You might need to alter or hem your look to get the perfect fit, so buy your dress a few weeks early, just in case.

Second, choose a rehearsal dinner dress with a different vibe and feel than your wedding gown. That way, you’ll be sure to have that WOW moment when you walk down the aisle!

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