Say "I do" in style.
Choosing a courthouse or city hall wedding dress can feel like venturing into uncharted territory. Unlike weddings in churches, synagogues, black-tie venues, or beachy destinations, there's no set of established bridal fashion rules for a courthouse wedding. While this can certainly seem overwhelming, we like to think of courthouse weddings as having unlimited fashion potential, and the experts we tapped to share unique city hall bridal outfit ideas agreed.
"There's a lot of flexibility when it comes to a courthouse wedding," says Lara Eurdolian, fashion expert and founder of Pretty Connected. "You can do something vintage, something new, above the knee, knee-length, or full-length dresses, pantsuits, jumpsuits, [or pull a] full Carrie Bradshaw in a white skirt and matching blazer." If anyone knows the full list of city hall wedding looks, it's Eurdolian, who wore not one, but seven looks when she married her husband in 2022 in an NYC elopement-wedding hybrid.
"Patricia Field and I designed seven outfit changes during my very out-of-the-box, Iconic NYC-themed wedding. [I wore] every semi-formal look you can imagine: pants, maxi dresses, over-the-knee tulle skirts. They all felt bridal and glam in their own way," she says.
Having faced the nearly limitless options herself, Eurdolian has great advice for how to streamline your city hall wedding bridal outfit search. "I like to start with a preferred silhouette or neckline and then find the right fabrications and design details. Because a courthouse wedding is so much more relaxed, it's your opportunity to bring your personal style into the fold and then glam it up," she shares.
Celebrity stylist Samantha Brown agrees that a courthouse wedding is a great time to inject your personal style with tons of glamour. Her top picks for city hall wedding bridal looks also highlight that a city hall wedding is a venue where you can play up recent trends outside the bridal space. From short bridal dresses to chic jumpsuits, here are the best courthouse and city hall wedding dresses and unique bridal outfit ideas, according to experts.
A Long-Sleeved Strapless Dress
Shop Similar: Reformation Maves Satin Dress, $348.
One of Eurdolian's favorite courthouse wedding dresses is one that combines casual practicality with classical elegance. "I love an unexpected strapless dress with long sleeves," she shares, adding that "the way the sleeves fall and the lines are so elegant."
A Slip Dress
Shop Similar: Jane Booke Low Back Slip Dress, $545.
If you're looking for a longer dress for your courthouse wedding, a simple slip dress comes highly recommended from Eurdolian. "I love a satin slip dress or simple strapless dress," she shares.
A Long-Sleeve Jumpsuit
Shop Similar: A.L.C. Kieran II Belted Crepe Wide-Leg Jumpsuit, $695.
Pantsuits are a popular city hall wedding dress alternative, and Brown loves a silhouette that evokes retro glamour while also snatching a bride's waist. For the fashion-obsessed bride-to-be, she recommends long-sleeve and belted silhouettes with wider legs for their "'70s feel and great, defined waistline."
A Romantic Mini Dress
Shop Similar: Sachin & Babi Grace Strapless Back-Bow Mini Dress, $395.
For minimalist brides, Eurdolian recommends a mini dress that gets its wow factor from a single elegant detail. "A bow on the back of an above-the-knee dress adds just the right amount of personality," she shares. Her favorite example of this style is a Sachin & Babi mini dress with a large bow that hints at the drama of a full-length veil.
An Elegant Midi Dress
Shop Similar: Norma Kamali Grace Stretch Jersey Midi Dress, $270.
A sleek midi dress is also a great option for a bride looking to accessorize her city hall wedding dress with personal touches. According to Brown, it's best to look for "a chic and timeless silhouette that you can accessorize to add personality." Pro tip: You don't have to splurge on silk or satin for a courthouse wedding dress. One of Brown's top city hall wedding dress picks is made from a stretch jersey that "photographs beautifully."
A Strapless Jumpsuit
Shop Similar: Jenny Yoo Annika Jumpsuit, $395.
A strapless jumpsuit with a structured bodice provides the romance and drama of a bridal gown without the fuss, plus the elegance of a great pantsuit. Eurdolian especially loves this Jenny Yoo satin jumpsuit because its versatility makes it a great choice for brides who want to show off their personal style. "It's stunning and can be styled in so many ways," she says. "Add a jacket, belt, veil, shawl or wear it simply on its own."
A Short, Subtly Embellished Dress
Shop Similar: Andrew GN Belted Crystal-Embellished Crepe Mini Dress, $2,270.
For a courthouse wedding, Brown recommends leaning into the minidress trend with a high neckline and an elegant twist like an embellished belt. "I love this style because, while it shows a lot of leg, it’s very conservative up top," she says. Plus, she adds that pairing the look with chic flats gives it a more "daytime" feel.
A Lace Jumpsuit
Shop Similar: For Love & Lemons Temecula Jumpsuit, $270.
A wide-leg lace jumpsuit has all the romance of a boho wedding gown, with extra elegance and practicality tacked on. You can also dial the sultriness up or down depending on factors like sleeve length and layers.
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