So you’ve decided to throw tradition to the wind and plan the civil wedding of YOUR dreams instead of what Pinterest told you. Often that means skipping on down to the local county clerk. Simple, sweet, and intimate. Not only are courthouse weddings low-key, but you’re likely to save a boatload of cash!
According to Business Insider, “in the US, the average wedding will set a couple back $38,700.” Can you imagine saving that much money? For some, that means going all out on the honeymoon. Others might put that towards a down payment on a house, student loans, maybe decorating your dream nursery, or even balling out with a designer wedding gown.
Whatever your reason is for skipping the big, traditional wedding and opting for a courthouse ceremony, you’ll still want to be looking fabulous. Keep reading for all you need to know about getting dolled up for a wedding at city hall, whether you’re the bride, groom, or close friends and family.
What’s Your Vibe?
Just because you’ve decided on a courthouse wedding doesn’t mean you have to settle for business casual. You’ve already proven that you’re nontraditional, so you can choose any style of courthouse wedding attire your heart desires! The options are endless, but make sure to let your wedding party know the look you’re going for.
The first thing you’ll want to think about is the season. You’ll likely want to snap some romantic pictures outside City Hall, so make sure to choose something you’ll be comfortable in outside. A short, romantic lacy dress or stylish two-piece set might be the answer for a spring or summer wedding.
In the winter, you’ll want to be a little more covered up, depending on your city’s weather. Imagine yourself rocking a sexy pantsuit or a jumpsuit with a faux fur shawl. Whatever you go with, make sure to wear the proper attire for the season so you don’t look uncomfortable in your pictures.
Once you decide on the date and narrow down your options based on the weather, you will have to decide how formal you want your wedding party to be. Keep in mind, you’re heading to the county courthouse, so you definitely can’t show up in your sweats.
You’ll want to scale up to at least business casual clothes, but from there, the sky is the limit! From bargain finds to high couture, there’s an outfit out there for every bride.
Pick your Budget
To stick with the theme of saving money, you can shop Amazon, which has tons of gorgeous options that are sure to knock the socks off of your groom and guests.
If you have your heart set on something designer, you can check out rental services like Rent the Runway or Lending Luxury. These services offer designer gowns at a fraction of the price, giving you the couture look without the couture price tag.
However, if you’re a bit more sentimental and want a courthouse wedding dress you can hand down to your daughter one day, why not splurge and get the designer dress of your dreams? You’re already saving heaps of cash by ditching the formal ceremony, so feel free to splurge here.
According to the wedding gurus over at Brides, “some designers, like French-based brand Laure de Sagazan, have even devoted entire collections to civil ceremony attire.” No one is stopping you from getting a traditional wedding dress if that’s what you want.
Just keep in mind that space might be limited in the courthouse, so it might be best to avoid huge ball gowns or lengthy trains.
The Main Attraction: Bridal Options
Wide bell leg, sweetheart neckline, side-zipper closure.
Possibly the most talked-about choice for courthouse wedding ceremonies is the jumpsuit. It makes sense, it’s a classic look that’s easy to walk in, but you’ll be guaranteed to turn heads as you strut down the aisle. You can dress it up with stilettos and a veil or dress it down with some wedges.
Tea Length Dresses
Are you looking to bring a traditional touch to your non-traditional wedding? Tea-length dresses are the perfect combination of elegance and class. Choose a lacy, vintage option that pairs perfectly with a romantic updo, or choose something formfitting to accentuate your curves in all the right places!
Materials: Jersey, 95% Polyester, 5% Spandex, stretchy fabric.
Are you getting married in warm weather? Keep it simple with a stylish leg-baring mini dress that will keep you cool for pictures while still dropping jaws. Match a cute lacy topped dress with some beachy waves for a cute summer look, or pair a classic vintage design with a gorgeous boho bouquet in soft pastel pinks.
Material: 81%-90% polyester + 10% spendex, soft and comfy to wear.
If you’re avoiding the wedding because dresses aren’t your style, a casual white pantsuit might be just the outfit for you. Classic and chic, you can choose a fit that’s understated or dramatic. Dress it up with a complementary hat and clutch, or make it sexy with a corset underneath.
Two-piece sets are all the rage right now, and there’s no reason you can’t carry this trend into your wedding day! Another perfect option for a summer wedding, you can rock a laid-back linen set and glam it up with layers of gold jewelry. Or how about a dramatic two-piece set that combines something old and something new?
Bold Colors and Prints
If it’s not a traditional wedding, you’re definitely not confined to traditional norms! Who says you have to dress in white? After all, you are your own woman! Choose any color or pattern your heart desires. Big bold patterns are sure to leave an impression on your guests or choose a romantic, deep red to represent your love.
The options are endless for a courthouse wedding. You can also check out maxi dresses, rompers, sundresses, or even go with a ball gown if that’s what you want. It’s your special day, so make sure to choose something that you’re comfortable in as well as something that makes you feel fabulous!
The Sidekick: The Groom
Just kidding! It’s just as much your day as it is the bride’s – sort of. That said, you definitely want to make sure that what you’re wearing matches the bride’s outfit style and formality. If your bride has opted for a more formal ball gown, then you could go with a tux.
However, you guys likely decided to tone it down just a bit for your courthouse wedding, so a tailored suit or dress shirt with slacks and tie will likely be the right choice. But men, please leave the cargo pants and jorts at home!
If your bride has gone for something a bit more formal, like a tea-length dress or formal jumpsuit, you can’t go wrong with a three-piece suit. Choose a color that complements your bride’s accessories or flower arrangements, or grab what’s already in your closet.
Either way, you’ll look dapper with a matching vest, jacket, and dress pants. A traditional wool suit will keep you cozy in colder months, or switch it up and choose a linen suit for those scorching summer days.
Ditch The Jacket
Dry Cleaning, Hand Wash or Machine Wash Available.
Whether your bride has chosen something less formal like a mini or two-piece set, or you’re getting married in the dead of summer, you can ditch the jacket altogether. Keep the vest for a slightly more formal look, or go all the way casual with a button-up, slacks, and tie.
Friends and Family
If you’re attending a courthouse wedding as a witness, family, or close friend, you should feel super honored. They’ve chosen a small and intimate wedding, and they want you in attendance. The best bet is to take the bride and groom’s lead. Ask what they will be wearing and choose an option that will complement them without overshadowing them.
For the Ladies
Your go-to options will be maxi dresses, flowy rompers, and sundresses. Feminine floral prints will be great for spring or summer weddings but choose a midi dress with a shawl if it’s cold outside. If your bride is looking for something a bit more formal, a tea-length dress or modern jumpsuit will do the trick.
You can even ask the bride if there is a particular color scheme she would like to stick to for more aesthetic pictures. Most importantly, make sure not to outdo the bride. This is her big day.
And the Gents
You’ll likely have something in your closet that would be right on point for a courthouse wedding, but if not, you can wear whatever you purchase again and again! Throw on a sports coat with a button-up and slacks in the winter, or if the groom is going full casual, a button-up and tie will complement him well.
If the groom has requested that you dress a bit more formally, a tweed or linen suit three-piece suit is your go-to, depending on the weather.
Its Your Day
The experts at Wedding Wire said it best, “micro-weddings, elopements, and courthouse weddings are here to stay for the foreseeable future.” The best thing about having a nontraditional wedding is there are no rules. Instead, you get to make the rules!
Whether you want everyone dressed to the nines or have a more laid-back vibe, YOU are in charge and can dictate how you want your wedding to look. Get inspiration from these options and make it your own! No matter how formal you decide to be on your big day, the memories will be just as special to you.