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How to dress for a rehearsal dinner
27 · 07 · 2018

How to Dress for a Rehearsal Dinner

Written by Pilar Espitia

A Point or Two About Rehearsal Dinners

I’m sure you have been to a wedding rehearsal dinner. Probably your own, or you attended as a guest.

As you might know, it is a great opportunity to well...rehearse for the wedding! But it is also the time to create the mood of the whole weekend for the big day.

For the bride and groom, it is the perfect time to be more intimate with friends and family before the big day.

The rehearsal dinner can mean different things. It can include a small crowd or the entire guest list. It can be a gathering at the groom’s house, or in a fancy restaurant.

Depending on how the rehearsal dinner has been organized, it will be important for you to know how to dress, right?

Let us give you a hand with some decisions you might have to take about your rehearsal dinner attire. Next time, whether you’re the groom, the groomsmen or a guest, you’ll be able to pull off a dapper look!

Some Dos and Don’ts About Rehearsal Dinner Attire

Let’s set the record straight about important things for your rehearsal dinner attire. Whatever the setting is, you can be safe if you go for a business casual attire. From there, you can decide whether you need to dress up or dress down.

Now, two don’ts: First, the look you choose for the rehearsal dinner can’t be more formal than your attire for the wedding.

Second, don’t upstage yourself, unless you’re the groom! And if you’re the groom, you don’t want to look more formal than your bride!

Remember, you cannot bring all the attention to yourself. Still, you can be playful with your accessories to stand out from the crowd.

You can add a fun tie, cufflinks or a pocket square that might accentuate your look. But don’t wear something too flashy!

If you’re going as a couple, try to mirror what the other person is wearing. Chances are that, if you’re the groom, you’ll want to match your bride. You also want to match the atmosphere.

Lastly, remember it is not only about the clothes, but your whole look!

Don’t forget to shine those shoes, get a haircut in advance and get a full beard grooming. Make sure to take all clothes to the tailor in advance, if you need alterations.

Now, let’s focus on some important facts you want to have in mind when choosing your attire. We will also give you some style suggestions according to different dress codes.

Four Things to Keep an Eye On

wedding rehearsal attire

Photo by Marc Babin on Unsplash

1.Invitations: Take a look at the invitation for the rehearsal dinner. It might specify the dress code, so make sure you follow it to the letter.

If it’s not explicit, you might be able to tell by the style of the invitation itself. If it is a simple card, the dinner is probably casual. If it is fancy paper, it means formal.

If you’re invited verbally, it is possible the rehearsal dinner is not too formal. But hey, it never hurts to be a little bit overdressed!

2. Location: You can tell by the location of the rehearsal dinner what the dress code is going to be. Is it a lavish Michelin starred restaurant? A bar and grill? A wine cellar? A BBQ in the park?

This can definitely tell you a lot about the dress code. If you are not familiar with the location, you can always call the place. It is possible that if it is an elegant restaurant they could have a dress code.

3. Time and weather: The timing can also tell you a lot about how to dress. If you’re invited, let’s say, at 5:00 p.m., you can wear something less dressy. But if the invitations are for 7:00 p.m., it might mean it is a full dinner, so you want to dress up.

For summer events, it is likely rehearsal dinners take place outdoors. It is an occasion to be less formal and use lighter colors. For colder days, this might mean indoors, a full suit and darker colors.

4. Wedding theme: Based on the wedding theme, you can also get some clues about the rehearsal dinner attire.

For example, if you’re going to a beach wedding, possibly the rehearsal dinner will be very casual. Men can go for slacks, a button-down shirt, and loafers sans socks.

But if the wedding is traditional (black tie), chances are the rehearsal dinner is formal. This means a full suit and traditional dressing shoes: Oxfords.

Still unsure of what to do? It is better if you can talk to other guests or call the hosts to find out what the best dress code would be. If you’re the groom, please help as much as you can by being clear about the dress code.

Now let’s take a look at some good ideas for each of the dress codes for rehearsal dinners.

Five Great Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Attires

How to dress for a rehearsal dinner

Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

Black tie: Your typical look for a black tie rehearsal dinner should be a black tuxedo, white dress shirt, and a bowtie. The perfect shoes for this look are black Oxfords, either leather or patent leather.

Formal: This one can be a full suit in dark colors (navy or charcoal) a nice contrasting tie and a dress shirt. Oxfords in black or in dark colors are also appropriate for this look. You can add a subtle pocket square to complement your look.

Semi-formal (cocktail attire): The semi-formal or cocktail attire still remains on the formal side. Men can wear full suits in lighter colors with or without a tie. Oxford shoes in colors other than black are also great. To add a fun touch, you can wear a pocket square.

Casual: This style can depend a lot on the time of the day, but it is definitely a little less restrictive.

A good look can be a sports coat, pocket square, button-down shirt, tie (optional), and slacks with a belt. Some shoes different than Oxfords, such as loafers, can be good.

Informal: Even though this might be a very relaxed BBQ on the groom’s patio, you don’t want to go down the path of looking too informal.

Be careful about wearing clothes that you go to Walmart with! In this case, there are plenty of options.

We suggest a nice jean with a button down shirt and a light V-neck sweater. The V-Neck is useful as you can easily remove it, or put it on if it gets chilly.

Also, if the weather is a little bit colder, you can throw on a fun sports coat to create contrast. Lastly, you can go for some boots or black leather sneakers.


The wedding rehearsal dinner is a great occasion to meet new people and share with family and friends. It is definitely the great beginning of the wedding weekend, and you want to look your best, without grabbing all the attention.

Make sure to understand what the dress code is. If you’re unsure business casual is a good way to go. Still, enjoy yourself and add a few nice details to your outfit to turn some heads.


Thanks for reading! Please stay tuned for upcoming posts. You can always leave a comment below if you have questions, or have a great style tip to share.

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