Guide to Picking Your Mother of the Bride Rehearsal Dinner Attire


A rehearsal dinner is, in theory, exactly that: a dinner after the wedding rehearsal. In actuality, though, it’s so much more—a chance to have an intimate gathering to thank and toast your closest guests; an opportunity to spend quality time with best friends who have travelled in for the big event; a more private space to give thank you gifts to the wedding party as a symbol of your appreciation. Clearly, it’s an important occasion—one that begs the question…

Mother of the bride rehearsal dinner dress
Mother of the bride rehearsal dinner attire


Appropriate rehearsal dinner attire is typically formal. Not black tie formal, but pretty close: dark suits and ties for men; cocktail dresses and gowns for women. For the mother of the bride, the same holds true—think a formal cocktail dress or a long gown, heels and nice jewelry. Some mothers of the bride and groom even choose to wear a rehearsal dinner outfit that is just as formal as what they wear on the wedding day itself.

Of course, not all weddings are created equal, and less formal rehearsal dinners do exist. A casual rehearsal dinner outfit for the mother of the bride might consist of wide-leg trousers and a silk top, a full-length jumpsuit, a mid-length jersey dress, or a skirt and blouse ensemble.


The Overall Wedding Program

The modern wedding often includes various events, spread out over a few days: a welcome dinner, a rehearsal dinner, the wedding ceremony, the reception, and perhaps even a final brunch or lunch. If so, the mother of the bride’s rehearsal dinner attire needs to be planned with these other events in mind. It should be less formal than the ceremony outfit but dressier than what she wears to a welcome dinner or brunch, and with less of a ‘night out dancing’ feel than the reception look.

‘Tis the Season

It goes without saying that a dinner happens at night, which means that the mother of the bride’s rehearsal dinner outfit needs to be weather- and season-appropriate. A shawl or stole, plus a slip and stockings are essential layers for a winter wedding rehearsal dinner, while a summer rehearsal dinner likely calls for just a lightweight scarf.

Location, Location, Location

If the rehearsal dinner is taking place at a fine dining or high-end venue such as a five-star hotel or Michelin-starred restaurant, rehearsal dinner attire needs to be leveled up. Similarly, if it is being hosted at a family member’s house, the mother of the bride or groom can probably go slightly less formal.

What’s The Theme?

If a wedding and rehearsal dinner invitation specify a theme or dress code, it must be respected. If the fine print says ‘black tie’, then the mother of the bride should wear a full-length gown (the same goes for the mother of the groom).


Mother of the bride floral beaded gowns

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Long Floral Beaded Gown with Flutter Sleeves in Blue Heather

This hand-beaded gown has a fitted bodice, short flutter sleeves and pleated godets for movement and is an elegant choice as mother of the bride rehearsal dinner attire. Finish with a champagne-hued clutch, heeled sandals and minimal jewelry—a pair of gold earrings are a sophisticated finish. 


Mother of the bride sequin sheath dress

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Sequin Sheath Dress With Ruffle Detail in Silvermist

For the mother of the bride looking to make more of a style statement, opt for this sequined sheath. It has a glamorous feel that works all year round, while the long sleeves offer a bit of coverage. Keep accessories simple: strappy sandals are a must, while a dainty necklace won’t detract from the ruffle detail on the front of the dress.


Mother of the bride rehearsal dinner sleeveless asymmetrical jumpsuit

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Sleeveless Asymmetrical Jumpsuit in Midnight

A jumpsuit such as this sleeveless style is an excellent mother of the bride rehearsal dinner outfit option: it’s chic, versatile, and easy to dress up or down depending on the venue or theme. Team with metallic or jewel-toned heels, or add bold earrings, a colorful cocktail ring, and an eye-catching clutch for a fashion-forward touch.

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