What to Wear to a Rehearsal Dinner

Hi Deborah!

My son is getting married in May and my husband and I are hosting the rehearsal dinner at a restaurant in our city. The restaurant has an industrial, urban decor and the dress code is smart casual. I want to look grown-up but not old, on-trend but not dressed like the 20 & 30 somethings we will be hosting.

I love your emails and posts on social media and I’ve taken your ideas and advice to heart many times.

Thanks so much!

Hi Annemarie,

Congratulations on your son’s upcoming wedding! You must be excited!

Aside from the ceremony (a.k.a. the main event), the wedding rehearsal and the gathering that follows is one of the most exciting events for the bride and groom and their families. Out-of-town friends and family might be arriving, it’s the first time you get to see months and months of planning come together, and everyone is excited because the big day is here.

The venue you’ve chosen sounds fun and I love that you’re trying to find that sweet spot so you don’t dress too old but at the same time, you don’t look like you’re trying to compete with the 20-something and 30-something friends of your son and future daughter-in-law. Here are a few ideas for looking your best.


What to wear to a rehearsal dinner - pants

Classics with Twist

No matter what the occasion, when in doubt you can never go wrong when you wear classic pieces with modern updates.

Do you see this top? It’s a basic black top but it gets a modern twist with three-quarter sleeves, an off-the-shoulder neckline, and a tie waist that gives you a bit of a curvy silhouette.

Another example is this purse. On the one hand, it’s a classic black clutch but it gets a modern update with a trendy floral pattern and crossbody strap. (BTW – if you need to hold onto your purse because there isn’t a good spot to stash it, a crossbody style is a must so you can keep your hands free for handshaking and hugging.)

Between greeting guests, giving speeches, and being the go-to person when the restaurant staff has questions, you’re going to be on your feet for much of the night so make sure you go with comfortable shoes. Kitten heels are big this spring and much easier on over 40 feet (heck, on any feet!) than a high heel. Block heels are another good option.


What to wear to host a rehearsal dinner in Brooklyn - dress


Urban Sophistication

Given that the dinner is in an urban location like Brooklyn and you describe the restaurant as having an industrial, urban decor, an outfit that is as sophisticated as the venue is in order. This gorgeous spaghetti-strap dress is perfect and lets me tell you why.

The optic floral print has an artsy, city vibe. It is made from a lightweight, stretchy fabric that is as forgiving as it is flattering. Ditto the tulip faux-wrap skirt. You can enjoy your dinner and not worry about looking bloated.

If you are leery about spaghetti straps because your arms aren’t in the same shape they used to be a) I hear you! and b) just toss on a little cardigan.

I hope this helps you, Annemarie. And if you’re looking for more general tips, check out my post on what to wear to a rehearsal dinner. Congratulations again and be sure to let me know what you end up deciding to wear!



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2 thoughts on “What to Wear to a Rehearsal Dinner

  1. Hi Deborah,
    How exciting to see my question on your site today! I love both of these outfits and would never have come up with something so on-trend yet sophisticated. Sadly, the Chelsea28 dress is sold out at Nordstrom, and I couldn’t find it anywhere else. They did have the same dress in a darker color combination that will still work, and I ordered that. In the meantime, I will work on the classic white pants and black top as my backup. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thank you for always helping me look up to date and feel confident.

  2. Hi,
    This is an excellent post you share here. I love your fashion ideas. Thank you for sharing this post. Keep sharing new fashion ideas with us.

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