Rehearsal Dinner 101: What to Wear and How to Deal with the In-Laws

Carrie Patterson

After spending so much time planning your wedding, you may forget that you have to coordinate a rehearsal dinner, too. Whether you want a backyard BBQ or a formal country club fete, you'll need to figure out some important details—including what to wear (fun!) and how to manage your in-laws (maybe not so fun, but they might be paying for the meal). Here, how coordinate a killer outfit and a peaceful co-existence with your parents and his.

This is your chance to invest in a knockout piece you can actually wear again. "Even if the event is casual, err on the side of elegant," says Maria Cooke of Ritzy Bee Events. "Pick a classic, flattering silhouette, and avoid crazy patterns. Otherwise in twenty years you'll look at photos and think, Yeah, that was definitely 2012." If you get overwhelmed by options, consider tying your look in with that of your wedding. "You're the bride, so why not wear white?" she says. "Or pick a color in your reception palette." And while sexy is fine, says Cooke, you don't want to cross into Sofía Vergara territory: "His grandmother really doesn't want to stare at your cleavage all night."

What about the in-laws? If your future in-laws are paying and they want dinner at a French restaurant, but that doesn't go with your ranch-weekend theme, who should give in? "This is one relationship you want to start off positively," says Lukas. "If your in-laws aren't listening to what you want, you're better off stepping aside, rather than hearing about it every Thanksgiving dinner for the rest of your life." If you absolutely must have after-dinner country karaoke, you can offer to pay for the machine yourselves, she says: "But you should delegate those talks to your groom. Better him than you, right?"

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