You heard it here first: Micro-weddings, elopements, and courthouse weddings are here to stay for the foreseeable future. But a small or impromptu ceremony can be just as special as a grand wedding with hundreds of guests—and that includes finding the perfect courthouse wedding dress to complete your look for the big day. If you're getting married and wondering what to wear to a courthouse wedding, we've got you. Whether you're into the traditional white ball gown, a little white dress, or looking for something more unique and versatile for your nuptials, you can buy these civil wedding dresses and courthouse wedding outfits online right now.
What to Wear to a Courthouse Wedding
What does a bride wear to a courthouse wedding?
Before we dive into the basics of what to wear to a courthouse wedding, the most important thing to know is that in the end, anything goes, because it's your wedding! But there are a few details that can be helpful to remember if you've decided to get married at city hall, your local county clerk's office, or a courthouse. Casual wedding dresses and shorter hemlines are popular for courthouse weddings, especially for couples who make a last-minute decision to get married—these types of dresses tend to be easier to find online or in stores at a moment's notice. Pantsuits and jumpsuits are two popular alternatives for city hall wedding dresses, and the separate pieces are easily re-wearable long after your wedding day. And while white is always appropriate for a courthouse wedding, feel free think outside the sartorial box by wearing a color other than white or ivory if they aren't quite your style.
Can you wear a wedding dress to city hall?
You can absolutely wear a traditional wedding dress to city hall. But depending on the exact location, you might be limited on space—for example, a very short or non-existent aisle, a small area to stand at the altar, etc.—so be mindful of that when shopping for your courthouse or city hall wedding gown. Styles with large amounts of fabric (for example, a tulle ball gown skirt) may not be as easy to maneuver in tight spaces. If you'll be getting ready alone, you may want to skip styles with intricate corsets or button-up backs that you can't easily do yourself.
Do you wear a veil to a courthouse wedding?
Remember what we said earlier? It's your wedding day, so if you want to wear a veil for your courthouse wedding, go for it! There are no rules when it comes to the type of veil you should or shouldn't wear for a courthouse ceremony, but longer wedding veil lengths may be more difficult to maneuver. We recommend short to medium-length veils, such as birdcage, blusher, and fingertip styles.
Courthouse Wedding Dresses
If you can't shop for a wedding dress in person or need to sort out your wedding attire stat, these ready-to-wear styles will make you feel amazing on your special day. Here are 45 courthouse wedding dresses we'd buy right now.
A cowl neckline and pearl spaghetti straps add just enough detail to this otherwise minimalistic slip dress. Finish your look with simple jewelry and accessories to keep the overall vibe chic and understated.
Sachin & Babi Pema dress, $225, Anthropologie
Allover ruching on this dress hugs your curves to create a gorgeous hourglass shape, while the off-the-shoulder corset bodice highlights your shoulders and décolletage.
DB Studio off-the-shoulder ruched corset dress, $110, David’s Bridal
Turn up the heat in this LWD, which has a high front slit and asymmetrical hem to show off your legs. It would also be a great pick for a bachelorette party or rehearsal dinner dress!
Lulus asymmetrical dress, $58, Lulus
Go for a sassy, red carpet-ready bridal look by wearing this courthouse wedding dress with a fun feather neckline. Retro-inspired waves or a low chignon will complete the glamorous aesthetic.
Elliatt Harley dress, $200, Anthropologie
This semi-formal tea-length dress gives you a classic bridal look with the freedom of a shorter skirt. Pair it with blue wedding shoes if you're feeling playful.
DB Studio satin tea-length dress, $300, David’s Bridal
Adjustable waist, bra-friendly sleeves, and a comfortable silhouette—this civil wedding dress pretty much has it all. If ivory isn't your color, choose from blush, champagne, or dove gray instead.
Reformation Winslow dress in ivory, $268, Reformation
Allover lace makes this fit-and-flare courthouse wedding dress a perfect choice if you love vintage style. We'd also recommend it as a wedding reception dress if you're planning to do an outfit change.
Wtoo by Watters Philomene gown, $1,400,Anthropologie
With long bishop sleeves and a tie waist detail in the front, you won't need worry too much about accessorizing this short and sweet dress. Add a pair of statement shoes and you're ready to go in just a few minutes.
Lulus tie-front skater dress, $68, Lulus
Perfect for an informal spring or summer ceremony, this lightweight wedding dress has a side slit and scalloped lace detail for a subtle boho chic look.
DB Studio ruched spaghetti strap jersey dress, $160, David’s Bridal
If you're worried about wearing a wedding dress with a long train but don't want to give up the tradition, this courthouse wedding dress is a stylish compromise. An oversized bow at the back gives you the illusion of a train, while the fitted column silhouette keeps the look from becoming overwhelming for a civil ceremony.
Amsale Willow dress, $395, Anthropologie
Having a simple backyard wedding or reception? This airy off-the-shoulder dress is a sweet option, thanks to the Swiss dot fabric and adjustable tie waist.
River Island Bardot dress, $76, ASOS
Classic, but make it sexy. Illusion lace sleeves and a sweetheart neckline add spice to this sheath midi dress.
Elliatt x Revolve Bottlebrush dress, $219, Revolve
For a totally romantic, ethereal look, try this flowy tulle wedding dress with pretty floral embroidery on the bodice for a pop of color.
Needle & Thread Lovell ditsy bodice dress, $349, Anthropologie
A floral jacquard print brings extra flirty vibes to this short courthouse wedding dress. Voluminous sheer sleeves add a bit of drama to keep it from feeling too prim.
Lulus floral jacquard shift dress, $78, Lulus
How about a two-in-one look for your courthouse wedding dress? This matching top and skirt set not only gives you flexibility in sizing, but you can rewear the pieces as separates after your wedding day.
Catherine Deane Darla bodice and Liz skirt, from $260, Anthropologie
If your style is modern and simple, you'll love this curve-hugging midi dress. Wear your hair up to show off the keyhole back.
Allsaints Frankie dress, $139, Revolve
Long sleeves balance out the short hem and open back on this mini dress—we especially love the flirty ruffles on the wrist cuffs and skirt.
DB Studio short lace illusion dress, $120, David’s Bridal
This understated civil wedding dress is timeless and elegant. A plunging v-neckline gives the bell-sleeved satin style a sexy edge, while ruching at the waist hits you in all the right places.
Sau Lee Cassia dress, $325, Revolve
Lattice beading and floral appliqués make this sheath dress a stunning option if you want to embrace your glam side on the big day.
DB Studio beaded sheath dress, $230, David's Bridal
Pair this retro-inspired mini dress with a headband for an effortlessly adorable bridal look.
Lulus ruched short-sleeve dress, $58, Lulus
This lightweight cotton gown featuring crocheted lace is oh-so-romantic and feminine. The vintage-inspired style is also casual enough to wear again and again after your wedding day—pair it with flat sandals in the summertime or boots and a chunky sweater in the fall and winter.
LoveShackFancy Edie dress in white, $335, LoveShackFancy
The open back on this slinky strapless gown turns it into a total statement piece.
Katie May Mary Kate gown in ivory, $295, Revolve
Add a little glitz and glam to your courthouse wedding look with this flirty dress featuring metallic gold fil coupé. The organza skirt is made for twirling!
Mestiza Alfama midi dress, $495, Anthropologie
Get your French girl fashion fix by rocking this cool blazer dress by Parisian bridal designer Rime Arodaky. Lace peeking out from the sleeves and hem adds a touch of romance to this otherwise edgy style.
Rime Arodaky Lui lace-trimmed mini dress, $1,340, NET-A-PORTER
Show as much (or as little) skin as you want with this set that features an adjustable zipper slit. The stretchy, thick white fabric hugs your curves in all the right places.
Black Halo Kacie two-piece maxi dress in porcelain, $375, Shopbop
This minimalist civil wedding dress is serving major goddess vibes. The satin slip gown (a huge wedding dress trend to watch for 2021) is accented with a subtle cowl neckline and thin spaghetti straps for a bridal look that is understated and sexy.
Jenny by Jenny Yoo Sutton gown, $995, Anthropologie
Wear this ethereal gown if you want to feel like you just walked out of a Jane Austen romance. This courthouse wedding dress is covered in gorgeous embroidery, ruffles, and features delicate puff sleeves to rival Elizabeth Bennett's own wardrobe.
LoveShackFancy Viviana dress, $1,995, LoveShackFancy
This simple but chic dress is appropriate for all seasons and courthouse ceremonies—the satin fabric and tasteful ruffles are the perfect amount of fancy without being over the top.
DB Studio flutter sleeve satin plus-size dress, $160, David’s Bridal
Reminiscent of Old Hollywood glamour, this slinky silk gown is a gorgeous option if you're looking for a show-stopping courthouse wedding dress. The front features a plunging v-neckline with an equally low back.
Michael Lo Sordo Alexandra silk satin gown, $1,220, NET-A-PORTER
A sweetheart neckline and off-the-shoulder straps complete this airy, sophisticated civil wedding dress. The slim-fitting skirt and midi length are perfect for petite figures.
Reformation Violet dress in ivory, $278, Reformation
For the sophisticated bride, a cap-sleeve shift dress never fails. This civil wedding dress is made from stretch lace and features a flattering keyhole neckline.
DB Studio cap sleeve lace plus-size dress, $110, David’s Bridal
There's so much to love about this modern jumpsuit: the on-trend wide leg, the off-the-shoulder neckline, and most importantly, the pockets.
DB Studio off-the-shoulder jumpsuit, $200, David’s Bridal
This high-neck wedding dress gives you the option of coverage on top while showing off your legs. Made from ivory crepe fabric, the dress is luxe and trendy.
Vanessa Cocchiaro The C.J. mini dress, $395, NET-A-PORTER
If you've been dreaming of wearing a wedding dress with a full skirt and train, consider this classic number by Jenny Yoo. The A-line silhouette is slimmer than a large ball gown skirt (which means it's much easier to move around in), but you'll still get the full bridal effect.
Jenny by Jenny Yoo Octavia gown, $975, Anthropologie
Introducing the ultimate cool bride outfit: this pantsuit. Bridal separates look amazing on your wedding day, but even better, you can re-wear them again and again for years to come by pairing them with other items in your closet.
This satin LWD hits the mark when it comes to minimalist style. It's a blank slate for whatever type of accessories you're into (like edgy bridal jacket), but this dress is also chic enough to pull its own weight and can be worn long after your wedding day.
Line & Dot Loulou satin dress, $92, Revolve
A white jumpsuit is a stylish alternative to a city hall wedding dress. This one-shoulder style is perfect for petite brides, thanks to its 28-inch inseam and flattering crepe fabric that will show off your shape.
Black Halo pravella jumpsuit, from $45, Rent the Runway
What could be more romantic than a dress covered in lace roses? We're obsessed with this timeless sheath style, which features thin straps and a satin waist detail in a barely-there blush hue.
Catherine Deane rose lace Frida dress, from $115, Rent the Runway
If you're not into dresses or skirts, a versatile white jumpsuit is perfect for a city hall wedding any time of the year.
Adrianna Papell asymmetric overlay jumpsuit, from $30, Rent the Runway
Many brides choose to wear mid- or tea-length city hall wedding dresses, but by no means do you have to. If you prefer a full-length gown, we recommend a slimmer silhouette, such as this airy chiffon style (it also comes in blush!).
Lulus Best Part of Me satin bustier maxi dress, $95, Lulus
You can also go super-short in a leg-baring mini dress. Thanks to the high neckline and sheer lace sleeves, this dress won't leave you feeling totally exposed at the altar.
NBD Abra dress, $310, Revolve
You'll feel like a million bucks in this glamorous sequined gown, which features a cowl back to offset the higher neckline. It has rave reviews for being comfortable and flattering at the same time, and it's available in three different lengths.
Badgley Mischka award-winner gown, from $85, Rent the Runway
If you're looking for a courthouse wedding dress that offers a bit of modesty, try this classic knee-length style. It's ideal for any season and will give you that classic bridal vibe.
Kiyonna plus-size wedding belle short dress, $188, David’s Bridal
We're into this unique boho-inspired maxi dress, which can be worn two different ways. Brides with smaller busts can wear the deep v-neckline in the front for a sexy (but tasteful) hint of skin, or you can turn the dress around for a little more coverage.
HAH take a bow dress, from $35, Rent the Runway
Wear a floor-length lace dress for a traditional bridal look. This sheath gown is accented with a demure side slit, pretty eyelash lace trim, and a low scoop back.
Melissa Sweet long-sleeve faux surplice wedding dress, $849, David’s Bridal