Updated at: 23-11-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

If you keep in mind the traditional “does and don’ts” of a civil ceremony, you’ll have a much easier time deciding what to wear. Also covered is the protocol for a civil ceremony.

If you are looking for further advice on what to wear to different kinds of weddings, we suggest reading our blog. It’s possible that you’ll go to yet another friend’s wedding, this time at a church.

Read up on appropriate attire for a church wedding to make sure you don’t offend anyone.

Courthouse Wedding Dress Code

Even though there is no hard and fast law on what you must wear to get married in a courthouse, city hall, or county clerk’s office, you should feel comfortable and confident in your appearance on your wedding day. There are, however, a few minor considerations to keep in mind when picking out an outfit. Dress and day-of accessories should be chosen with the understanding that you may be in a confined setting, such as a narrow hallway or packed waiting room. Certain dresses, such as those with cathedral-length veils and trains, full-skirted ball gowns, and mermaid silhouettes, may not be practical in smaller venues. Think about the people who will be there to help you get ready on your wedding day. When getting dressed alone, it’s recommended to stay away from elaborately corseted or buttoned-down backs.

If you are invited to a wedding that is taking place in a courthouse, you should dress appropriately. You probably won’t need to wear black tie (unless the happy couple specifically requests it), but you should still look presentable. Don’t bother coming dressed for a night out in jeans and t-shirts.

What To Wear To A Courthouse Wedding

Here are a few tips to help you look your best whether you’re the one getting married or the guest at a courtroom ceremony.

If You’re Having A Courthouse Wedding

A civil ceremony allows you to relax your bridal attire restrictions and have some fun. A tiny white dress, sleek jumpsuit, or slim-cut suit in more casual blue, green, or gray will never let you down. However, if you want all eyes on you during your courthouse nuptials, then by all means wear a spectacular ball gown or a full-on tuxedo. Numerous brides and grooms in boho, glam, modern, and vintage-inspired outfits go down the city hall stairs. In the same vein, if you feel more comfortable in patterns, designs, or vibrant colors than in standard white dresses or solid-colored suits, don’t feel like you have to hide it.

If You’re Attending A Courthouse Wedding

Although it may be difficult to understand a casual dress code (you may wonder what constitutes too casual and too fancy), there are some sure bets when it comes to appropriate apparel for a courthouse wedding. The courthouse is the workplace of public officials; as such, it is appropriate to dress more formally than you would for a casual errand run. You can’t go wrong with a sport coat and slacks, a dressier sundress, or a good shirt and slacks or a skirt.

Have no idea what to wear to a civil ceremony and need help finding an outfit? Below are some of our favorite outfits for guests to wear to weddings held in a courthouse:


If you’re looking for something that’s both modern and timeless, a sleek all-in-one can be the right solution. The structural designs of our top picks are second to none; Solace London produces especially eye-catching, budget-friendly alternatives.

Maxi Dresses

There is still room for a statement maxi dress in your civil ceremony without encroaching too much on the area of the wedding gown. To prevent looking like you’re trying too hard, choose an outfit that is drastically different from the last one you wore for any upcoming celebrations.

Slip Dress

The bride who wants a simple, classic appearance would adore a slip dress, and the bride who loves the look but was worried it was too informal will also find it to her liking. The slip is a staple in our closet; to give it a more contemporary feel, we pair it with sunglasses and mules.

Midi Dresses

White midi-length dresses are a wardrobe staple, and there seems to be no shortage of cute variations. If you want to feel more event-ready, ditch the cotton and linen and reach for some silk or lace instead.

Mini Dress

Several of the most hip brides we know have chosen to wear minis in their legal wedding ceremonies. Try going bare-legged but wearing long sleeves like Bettina Looney did in vintage Chanel. If your primary wedding dress is a really traditional style, you may want to consider this alternative.

A Suit

Androgynous tailoring, which is becoming increasingly trendy for civil ceremonies, is another fantastic counterpoint to the traditionally feminine wedding attire. We adore everything from the slinky Asceno styles to the Reiss shorts suits, so don’t worry if you’ve never seen yourself as a traditional bride.

Something Different

Now is as good a moment as any to try something new with your wedding attire, so go ahead and wear that white leather bomber, embroidered denim jacket, or pyjama-style suiting you’ve always wanted. You may use this as a chance to experiment with more outlandish wedding aesthetics, such as tulle or feather accents, that you might be too self-conscious to try on your actual wedding day.

Can You Wear Black To A Civil Wedding?

As long as it’s not the only color in your clothing, black is appropriate for a civil wedding. If you’re concerned that black could be insulting to the couple’s culture, you can always ask them.

You should keep in mind that black is viewed as a mourning hue by some, and even considered unlucky by others. However, if the couple gives you the okay to wear black, make sure to accessorize with different colors for a more pleasing appearance.

As a matter of fact, did you know that even modern brides often choose to wear black? Learn the symbolism behind the traditional black wedding gown.

Can I Wear Jeans To A Court Wedding?

The bride and groom may specify a dress code or guests might inquire about appropriate attire for the courthouse ceremony. To be on the safe side, if you’re invited to a court wedding, you should not wear jeans.

It’s preferable to be somewhat overdressed than underdressed, which can be unacceptable, especially during a wedding, even if you don’t have to dress too formally. Dress nicely for a court wedding without standing out too much from the crowd.

What to wear to a courthouse wedding?

A wedding in a courthouse requires more casual attire. Attire for a wedding in a courthouse can range from business casual to formal, so long as it is not too exposing.

Put on some slacks and a blazer to feel more at ease. Men, meanwhile, are free to dress in whatever they like, so long as it’s not too casual.

What Should I Do To Prepare For A Civil Wedding?

  1. Find a state office and make sure you’ve got everything you need to apply for a marriage license.
  2. Take care to abide by all of the rules and restrictions associated with your marriage license.
  3. Get your legal ducks in a row before the wedding ceremony begins.
  4. Verify that all fees have been paid.
  5. Choose a person to serve as a witness at your courthouse wedding and inform them of your decision.
  6. Arrange the details of the ceremony, such as the number of guests allowed by the courthouse and the wedding clothing, in advance.

Can I Have Bridesmaids In A Civil Wedding?

If you and the courthouse agree on the total guest count in advance, you can have bridesmaids at your civil ceremony. The local custom may allow for as many as three bridesmaids, but this should be confirmed before the big day.

Furthermore, some people choose a civil ceremony in order to keep costs down. If this is your situation, you can get away with having no bridesmaids at all.


Finally, the end! We were just having a conversation about appropriate clothes for a civil wedding and determined that most guests wear semi-formal wear.

There are other options, such as inquiring with the couple or consulting the invitation for details on what to wear. Remember to act with decorum, dignity, and respect, just as you would at any wedding.

Don’t stand out by wearing something that could be taken the wrong way. Please let us know if you have any further questions after reading this tutorial.