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Finding the Perfect Courthouse Wedding Dress

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Are you planning your ceremony at the courthouse? Find the perfect wedding dress for a courthouse or county office building ceremony.

Jessica Bishop Headshot

Thanks to the “Wedding Boom” caused by a backlog of weddings from 2020 and 2021, courthouse weddings are becoming more popular than ever. Not only is a civil ceremony an affordable option to get married, but it’s also easier than competing for venue rentals in 2022 and beyond. 

If you’re planning a courthouse wedding or elopement, you may be wondering what to wear. There are many different options to choose from for courthouse wedding dresses. You can choose something simple and elegant or go for something more flashy and dramatic. It all depends on your personal style and the specific courthouse location where your wedding will occur.

In this blog post, we’ll give you some ideas for courthouse wedding dresses or alternative bridal styles that will help make your special day perfect! We’ll also provide tips on choosing the right accessories and shoes. So whether you’re looking for a casual dress or something more formal, we’ve got you covered!

How To Pick The Perfect Courthouse Wedding Dress

Choosing The Right Style

There are no hard and fast rules for courthouse weddings, but there are some things to consider when choosing your dress. For example, is the building clean and modern or classic and vintage? You might want to select a style that complements the venue’s look for a cohesive feel. Or, if your personality is a bit bolder, you might like something a bit opposite to create contrast and stand out! After all, it is your wedding day– you should feel authentically yourself in whatever you choose to wear. 

Choosing the Right Formality

First and foremost, you’ll want to consider if your dress is appropriate for the setting. A courthouse is a business setting, so you’ll want to avoid anything too casual or revealing. That doesn’t mean that you have to go overboard with the formality, though. A simple, elegant dress will do the trick. But of course, it all depends on your comfort level and personal style.

Choosing The Right Color

Who says you have to wear white? White wedding dresses became a tradition for brides after Queen Victoria wore a white gown for her wedding ceremony in the 1800s. But if you’re a fan of color, don’t be afraid to go bold with your courthouse wedding look. Your wedding is an occasion that you should wear what makes you feel best. So whether that’s a little black mini dress,  a luxe sequin gown, or a bright-hued jumpsuit– use this as a chance to express your unique style. 

Choosing the Right Fabric

The fabric of your dress is also essential to consider. If you’re getting married in the summer, you’ll want to avoid anything too heavy or hot. Even if the courthouse is air-conditioned, a lightweight silk or cotton dress will keep you cool and comfortable. For a winter wedding, a heavier fabric like velvet or a dress with sleeves will keep you warm and cozy while saying “I do.”

Choosing an Affordable Courthouse Wedding Dress

If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of affordable courthouse wedding dress options out there. Many large bridal retailers have wedding dresses for under $1000, or you can find some great deals online or at consignment stores. (Hint, there are some ultra savvy options on Amazon!) Or, if you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can make your own courthouse wedding dress! You can buy off-the-rack or buy a pre-owned wedding gown to save over 50% off the cost of the designer dress of your dreams!

Where to Shop for Your Courthouse Wedding Dress

On your wedding day, you want to feel like the best version of you! So what style should you pick? Let’s discuss the details of some common bridal styles for civil wedding dresses and where you can find options that fit the bill!

Simple and Elegant Wedding Dresses

Even if you’re having a small, intimate wedding ceremony at the courthouse or city hall, it is still your big day! So don’t be shy about wearing a ballgown if that’s what you’ve always pictured. 

If you’re looking for a simple, elegant courthouse wedding dress, keep the silhouette chic and sleek like a sheath dress or an A-line with a sweetheart neckline. Satin fabrics or lightweight chiffon are perfect materials for the dress you wear for your civil ceremony. 

Where to shop for simple and elegant wedding dresses: David’s Bridal, StillWhite, Azazie, Kennedy Blue, Etsy.

Stylish and Fashion Forward Wedding Dresses

If you’re looking for something a little more fashion-forward, we recommend thinking outside the box a bit. Perhaps you’d consider a slinky dress with an open back or a plunging v-neckline for a bold silhouette that’s sure to turn heads! 

If you’re a bit more modest, consider a fitted bodice with an oversized bow on the back to perfectly cinch your waist for a touch of whimsy. Depending on where you intend to have your post-ceremony celebration, you may or may not want to change after you exchange your vows. 

Where to shop for stylish and fashion-forward wedding dresses: Alice & Olivia, Vow’d, Pia Gladys Perey, Lulus, or ASOS.

Vintage and Demure Wedding Dresses

If you’re after a classic look for your courthouse ceremony, you might want to skip the traditional gown and go for something a bit more unique. Opting for a vintage vibe is a great way to make your City Hall wedding feel incredibly chic. Perhaps you’d even like to wear sleek separates such as a skirt and suit jacket, a la Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City The Movie. Or maybe a fit and flare off-the-shoulder midi dress with some vintage-style pumps to finish your look. 

For a demure, vintage-style courthouse wedding dress, consider mix-and-match styles, fitted bodices, flared skirts, tea-length dresses, or even lace sleeves for your bridal outfit. PS- don’t forget your “Something Blue!”

Where to shop for vintage and demure wedding dresses: ModCloth, Etsy, House of Mooshki, DressAfford, and more.

Accessorizing Your Courthouse Wedding Outfit

Once you’ve found the perfect clothing, it’s time to accessorize! Choosing beautiful wedding accessories helps add the perfect finishing touch to your wedding day look.

Wedding Jewelry

A courthouse wedding is typically a less glamorous affair, so you don’t need to go all out with the bling. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add a little something special.

Again, because the courthouse is a business setting, you might want to keep your accessories relatively simple. A pair of pearl earrings or a delicate necklace will be just right for a timeless look and can add a touch of elegance.

Or, if your wedding dress is minimalist or sleek, you may opt to go bolder with the accessories and play up those details. A great way to personalize your look is with a statement necklace or earrings. 

Wedding Veil or Bridal Headpiece

Just because you’re getting married in the courthouse doesn’t mean you can’t wear a veil! Consider a headpiece or veil that suits your dress. From a flirty vintage birdcage veil to a blusher, a veil truly helps you embody that bridal feeling. For a setting like a courthouse, you probably won’t want a long, cathedral-length style for practical reasons. If you’re going for a more formal look, consider a tiara or headband to step your look up a notch without the hassle of a long veil. 

Other Wedding Accessories

Perhaps you’ll choose a chic handbag to carry to your courthouse wedding. A sequinned clutch or a monogrammed acrylic box purse is an attractive option and a practical way to bring your tissues, lipstick, and of course, your wedding vows! 

Wedding Shoes

Finally, don’t forget about your shoes! Heels are not always necessary for courthouse weddings, but they may help elevate your look if you choose something dressy. If you opt to wear heels for your courthouse wedding, just make sure they’re comfortable enough to walk in.

Where to shop for wedding accessories: David’s Bridal, Vow’d, Olive & Piper, Etsy, and more.

In closing

We hope this blog post has helped you choose the perfect courthouse wedding dress! Remember, the ideal courthouse wedding dress is the one you feel amazing in– so embrace your unique style and wear what makes you feel beautiful. Happy shopping!


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Jessica Bishop Headshot

Jessica Bishop is the founder of TheBudgetSavvyBride.com, and author of the best-selling book,The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer. Jessica's expert wedding advice and money-saving tips have been featured by Good Morning America, COSMOPOLITAN, Glamour, and more.