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What To Wear To A Courthouse Wedding

Here are the deets on what to wear if you're having a civil ceremony or attending one as a guest.
shelley brown - the knot
by Shelley Brown
shelley brown - the knot
Shelley Brown
Senior Fashion & Beauty Editor
  • Shelley writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a speciality in fashion, beauty, jewelry and accessories
  • Shelley writes and edits articles for The Knot magazine, as well as styles the magazine’s fashion and cover shoots
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Shelley was a freelance Digital Editor at Conde Nast’s Lucky Magazine and freelanced for FLAUNT Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Backstage.com and Paste.com
Updated Aug 31, 2020
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Whether you're making it official with a civil ceremony or attending one as a guest, you may be wondering what to wear to a courthouse wedding. But don't fret —no shortage of super-chic outfit options out there, no matter your role in the festivities. Read up on the particulars of a courthouse wedding dress code plus attire you can shop now, below. 

Courthouse Wedding Dress Code  

While there are no strict rules when it comes to a courthouse wedding dress code if you're getting married at city hall, a courthouse or your local county clerk's office—after all, it's your wedding and you should look and feel like the best version of yourself. However, there are some small details to keep in mind when choosing your attire. Depending on your location, space could be tight—meaning a narrow aisle or crowded waiting area—so take that into consideration when choosing your dress and day of accesories. Cathedral-length veils and trains, voluminous ball gowns and mermaid dresses may not work in more confined spaces. Also, keep in mind who will be helping you get dressed the morning of your wedding. If you're getting ready alone, it's probably best to avoid styles with lots of complicated corsets or elaborate button-down backs. 

As a guest attending a courthouse wedding, you should dress for the occasion. Odds are you don't have to show up in black tie (unless specifically requested by the couple), but you should aim to look put together. Translation: Leave the jeans, t-shirts and club attire at home. 

What To Wear To A Courthouse Wedding 

If you're planning a courthouse wedding or attending one, here are some pointers to make sure you look put together. 

If You're Having A Courthouse Wedding

Given its less formal nature, a civil ceremony is your chance to have some fun and break the bridal fashion rules. You can't go wrong with a little white ensemble like a chic wrap dress, tailored jumpsuit or a slim-cut suit in more laid-back blue, green or gray.  That said, if you're looking to bring the drama to your courthouse wedding and are feeling a grand ball gown or a full-on tuxedo, go for it. All kinds of wedding attire—boho, glam, modern and vintage-inspired—can be seen coming down the steps of city hall. Another thought: Don't feel limited to traditional white dresses or solid color suiting if patterns, prints or bold colors feel more like you.

If You're Attending A Courthouse Wedding 

While a casual dress code can be tricky to decipher (you may find yourself asking what's too casual and what's too dressy), there are some safe bets where courthouse wedding attire is concerned. A courthouse is a public official's office, so it's a good idea to err on the side of business casual, versus a laid-back look you might wear to run errands. Read: A sports coat and slacks, a dressier sundress or a nice blouse plus slacks or a skirt are all great options. 

Looking for an outfit to wear to a civil ceremony but unsure of where to begin? Shop some of our favorite courthouse wedding guest outfits below:

courthouse wedding guest dress

This fluttery, floral number is perfect for a spring or summer affair. Dress it up with heeled sandals or down with a pair of sneakers.

All In Favor Ruffle Cami Midi Dress, $59, Nordstrom.com

courthouse wedding guest dress

We love a navy dress for two reasons: It's versatile enough to work for any wedding style, and its subdued hue works with a variety of accessories.

ASOS DESIGN Wrap bodice midi dress with tie waist and pleat skirt, $72, ASOS.com

courthouse wedding guest dress

This 'fit combines the slinky look of a slip dress with the figure-flattering silhouette of a wrap dress. You know what we call that? A major fashion win.

BHLDN Olmstead Dress, $230, BHLDN.com

courthouse wedding guest dress

A gathered bodice, micro floral print and sexy slit are the makings of a totally on-trend sundress. 

Reformation Lacey dress, $248, Reformation.com

Topman courthouse guest suit

A slim-cut gray suit works for almost any semi-formal, cocktail or casual ocassion. Another plus? You'll definitely wear this wardrobe staple again.

Topman Grey skinny fit single breasted suit, from $130, Topman.com

courthouse wedding guest outfit

If you have a crisp button down and slacks handy, throw on a snazzy sports coat to complete the look. 

BONOBOS Jetsetter Slim Fit Knit Cotton Sport Coat, $298, Nordstrom.com

courthouse wedding suit

A laid-back suit with a skinny fit in an unexpected shade of olive green can only be described in three words: fresh to death.

ASOS DESIGN from $40, ASOS.com

courthouse wedding guest outfit

Go preppy—but never stuffy—with a polished, plaid sport coat. Wear with linen pants for a summertime event or pair with dark slacks for a look that works in fall or winter.

ELEVENTY Trim Fit Plaid Sport Coat, $795, Nordstrom.com

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