Casual or Formal? Deciding What to Wear to a Rehearsal Dinner

Casual or Formal? Deciding What to Wear to a Rehearsal Dinner

Are you wondering what to wear to an upcoming rehearsal dinner? What exactly do they mean when they say "dress casual" or "formal attire"? While wedding dress codes are clear, rehearsal dinners might leave you with more questions than answers. Let Lands' End offer some fashion wisdom so you'll know how to perfectly blend into the festivities. Whether you want to be appropriately chic and classy in a cocktail dress or keep it cool with a more relaxed look, we're here to give you the confidence to rock your rehearsal dinner outfit. Get ready to take notes so that you shine with confidence and celebrate in style.


When it comes to choosing an outfit for a rehearsal dinner, it's important to take a few things into consideration. Are you attending a destination wedding? If so, try incorporating elements of the local culture into your outfit. But what if there's no dress code in sight? Don't worry—stick to semi-formal or cocktail attire, and you'll be good to go. Save your denim for brunch and your ball gown for the black-tie event.

Season and Time of Day

Choosing the perfect dress for a wedding involves more than just considering the weather. Luckily, the season can be your guide for the formality and style of your outfit. Don't be caught off guard by a casual summer soiree when you're dressed to the nines for a formal winter ceremony. Timing is also a factor because early events tend to be more laid-back. A good rule of thumb: the later it is, the fancier it gets.

Err On the Side of Formal-Wear

When dressing for a rehearsal dinner, there's no such thing as being too overdressed. While you don't need to break out your ball gown, it's always better to err on the side of formality. After all, you'll be socializing and celebrating with loved ones. So, be sure to bring your A-game and choose fun and festive styles.


Transform your outfit from simple to stunning with the right accessories. Adding statement earrings or a trendy bracelet stack can take your simple jumpsuit or LBD to the next level. Plus, with the right jewelry, your rehearsal dinner outfit can go from formal to playful in a snap. So why settle for a basic look when you can spice it up with fun accessories? Get creative and let your style shine.

Come As You Are

Get ready to ditch the dress shoes and uncomfortable fancy attire because a "come as you are" theme is calling your name. This casual dress code invites you to wear comfortable clothing, but don't pull out your sweats just yet. Check out the rehearsal dinner venue to get an idea of what elevated casual means for the occasion. We're talking nice jeans (sans holes or rips), polished slacks, a comfy cotton dress, or a crisp button-down shirt. Leave the suits and gowns at home for this laidback celebration.

Embrace the Theme

Are you attending a themed party soon? Whether it's a Halloween rehearsal dinner or a summer BBQ, you have the perfect excuse to dress up and have fun with your look. But before you go all out, remember these few tips. First, check the venue and weather before choosing your outfit. You don't want to be weighed down by something heavy or sweating in something too hot. And while it's important to embrace the theme, don't go overboard with anything too flashy or revealing.

Semi Formal

A semi-formal dress code is like dressing for a laid-back job interview at a hip company. You want to look polished but not stuffy. Some top contenders? Pretty sundresses, swishy maxi dresses, or sleek cocktail-length dresses. If dresses aren't your thing, consider pairing a dressy skirt with a cute top or trying a chic romper. For guys, a polo shirt is always a classic choice, or you can't go wrong with a tailored pair of dark jeans. Whatever look you choose, just remember: semi-formal is all about striking that perfect balance between casual and chic.

Cocktail and Formal

For a cocktail rehearsal, opt for a fancy cocktail-length dress or a chic maxi dress (depending on the venue and season). Men's suits without ties, sportcoats, or dress pants with a dress shirt are also great options. Don't forget to bring your A-game with dress shoes, loafers, heels, wedges, or nice flats. If it's a formal occasion, think long gowns, tuxedos, or dark suits paired with fancy cocktail dresses. Dress shoes are a must; you can never go wrong with heels or nice flats.


Blend in with confidence and style by wearing something that can adapt to any situation. Don't worry about being overdressed or underdressed. Just choose an outfit that can easily transition from formal to casual, and you'll be ready for anything. For instance, try dressing up with a sleek suit jacket that can quickly be taken off and casualized with a simple gesture.

With these formal and casual tips in mind, dress comfortably and show up feeling confident. Whether you choose casual or formal attire for the occasion, pick something that best reflects who you are. From colorful palettes to timeless prints, there are many options that can serve as great wardrobe pieces for every type of rehearsal dinner. Trust your fashion instincts; they won't let you down. And neither will Lands' End.


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