Bridesmaids and bride at a wedding

When it comes to wedding day attire, the bride dictates what her attendants wear. For the rehearsal dinner, however, bridesmaids have more freedom to choose an outfit that suits their style as they celebrate the soon-to-be-wed couple. Blend your style with an outfit that matches the formality of the occasion, which can vary from a laid-back barbecue to an upscale cocktail party.

Choosing an appropriate rehearsal dinner look depends on the event type. As a bridesmaid, you probably have the inside scoop on the wedding week festivities, but the invitation can provide more details about the formality of the occasion.

  • Location: A celebration at an oceanside tiki bar is going to be more casual than an affair at a swanky downtown restaurant.
  • Time: While most rehearsal dinners are in the evening, some may occur before 6 p.m. Follow this rule: The earlier the gathering, the more casual the affair.
  • Wedding location: Think about the couple's wedding style when determining the formality of the rehearsal dinner. Evaluate the overall feel of the wedding weekend to get a sense of how formally you should dress.


Ask the bride what she's wearing to the rehearsal dinner. You don't want to outdo her, of course, but her choice of attire can give you a sense of the formality.

As a bridesmaid, you won't just blend into the crowd at the rehearsal dinner. You may be seated at a table with the bride and groom, or you might even stand up and toast the happy couple. Be sure you dress a notch above other guests -- after all, you're in the special role of best supporting actress.