If you’re opting for a courthouse wedding or planning to elope, part of the reason is likely because you want the execution to be low key and stress free. Whether you’re looking to save a few bucks or you want to avoid the headache of planning a big wedding, you should look and feel your absolute best during your nuptials.
Part of the fun of skipping the big traditional wedding ceremony is that you also get to skip out on the big expensive wedding dress. You know, the one you’ll never wear again. Instead, you have the benefit of choosing something that’s classic, practical, timeless, and that still keeps you looking like a blushing bride.
We’ve put together a list of 20 wedding dresses for any bride tying the knot at City Hall or planning a destination wedding. On this list you’ll find dresses of varying style and length, and for those brides who want to forgo the traditional white gown, we have an entire section of wedding dress options just for you. If none of the below options are quite right, you can also continue browsing suitable white dresses here.
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Midi Courthouse Wedding Dresses
A great choice for a courthouse wedding or elopement is a mid length tea dress. This length bridges the gap between a full length gown, and an above the knee frock. Our round up of dresses includes both form fitting and a-line options so you can choose what style best meets your needs. A midi length dress definitely draws attention to the ankles and feet – so you’ll need a fabulous pair of shoes. We’ve suggested a pair of pumps that can be worn with each of the dresses below.
1. Elegant Floral Lace Evening Dress
Made with soft and comfortable lace fabric, you can wear this curve hugging dress all day long. It’s a great transitional dress from day to night and can be dressed up or down depending on what your day entails. The back of the dress has a thick ivory ribbon that can be tied at the neckline into a bow – a sweet detail that we love. We recommend that this dress be worn with matching open toe pumps like these from Badgley Mischka. They run small so order a half of a size up.
Price: $39.50 (44 percent off MSRP)
2. Women’s Elegant Midi Dress
It’s no surprise that this dress has high ratings. It hits on all of the key factors were looking for in a courthouse or elopement dress. It’s simplicity allows it to be dressed up or down, it’s extremely figure flattering, and the fabric is high quality so you’ll be comfortable exchanging vows and celebrating afterwards. While this dress is classic and timeless, there aren’t many exciting details going on which makes it the perfect dress to wear with a bold set of heels. Blue would be our color of choice and we’ve narrowed down your selection to three distinct styles – a pump by Vince Camuto, a lower heeled strappy sandal by Sam Edelman, or a floral covered chunky heel by Betsy Johnson.
Price: $39.90 – $64.90 depending on size selection
3. Adrianna Papell Striped Lace & Mikado Cocktail Dress
There’s no doubt that you’ll look like a blushing bride wearing this gorgeously cut cocktail dress. With classic lines and a subtle stripe, the skirt has just the right amount of flare. For shoes, we suggest a strappy gold sandal. Aldo makes a great version with an ankle strap which you can view here. If you prefer a flatter shoe, check out these Kate Spade dress sandals.
4. Vera Wang Halter Lace Dress
The halter design of this dress is a fresh and sexy option, designed with delicate lace details will keep you feeling feminine, without being too exposed. Since this dress has quite a bit of textural interest already, the footwear choice can be a simple nude dress shoe. The choice of a nude heel will also help to further elongate the legs, making it the most flattering option. Steve Madden and Charles David both make a great classic nude pump.
Full Length Courthouse Wedding Dresses
If you’re looking for a full length dress for your City Hall ceremony or an out of town elopement, you don’t need to cross over into bridal gown territory. There are plenty of sleek and chic options that will have you feeling like a million bucks on the day of your wedding. It’s important to look for lightweight options that will keep you mobile and prevent you from being bogged down by heavy fabric. Since your feet won’t be visible in a full length gown, you can get away with a true flat sandal, which works well for weddings with a beach destination. We’ve found four great full length dresses for your big day.
1. Parker Black Bayou Silk Gown
Parker has so many amazing white dress options that it was difficult to pick a favorite. There are a number of shorter dress options, making the full length skirt more unique. It’s a silk with a structured sweetheart bodice and pleated skirt, which can be dressed up with heels and statement jewelry, or dressed down with some sandals and minimal makeup. If you like the textural enhancements of this dress design but prefer a shorter gown, we strongly recommend browsing some of the other white dresses by this designer.
2. Vera Wang White Lace Illusion Dress
You might have a hard time deciding between the above Parker dress and this Vera Wang gown, especially if textural detail is your thing. The gorgeous lace overlay begins at the neck and covers the entire dress, making it visually interesting. It’s no surprise that Vera Wang knows a thing or two about wedding dress design. We suggest checking out this sleek sequined gown and this short scalloped lace dress, both also by Vera Wang.
Price: $89.01 – $152.25 depending on size selection
3. Women’s Sleeveless Pleated Maxi Dress
You can avoid spending a fortune and also look like a bridal goddess with this white maxi. The flowy skirt has a shorter underlining, which subtly peeks through. It’s a great choice if your wedding date is set in the summertime or if you’re headed to a beach to exchange vows. To keep the gold flare consistent, consider a pair of gold braided sandals like these Badgley Mischka heels or these Stuart Weitzman flats.
Price: $17.99 – $21.99 depending on size selection
4. Calvin Klein Sleeveless Lace Gown
While sleek and simple from the front, the back of this dress is unexpected. The racerback cutouts are angular in shape and a large break of skin between the two zippers keeps this look sexy and sleek. There’s no question choosing this dress makes a fashion forward statement.
Price: $89.29 – $218 depending on size selection
Courthouse Wedding Dresses With Color
A growing trend for courthouse and destination weddings is to skip the white dress all together. If you’re choosing to go the less traditional route on some other wedding related decisions, why stop at the dress? You can still stand out and celebrate in style without wearing all white. The options are endless so get creative. We’ve rounded up four of the best colorful wedding dresses out there for you to consider.
1. Jill Stuart Popover Two-Tone Gown
Black and white is a classic color combination that will never go out of style. Color blocking keeps this look fresh and sophisticated. If you prefer a more fitted top, Jill Stuart has a great option that also has a white structured skirt and a black bodice. You can shop that dress here. We also love this Ted Baker gradient dress which has an ombre effect from black to white.
Price: $208.60 – $298 depending on size selection
2. Gabby Skye Floral Printed Sheath Dress
Floral prints are a great way to incorporate color into a dress. To hold on to the bridal white just a little, opt for a dress with a good amount of white in the pattern. You can use the pops of color to inspire the accessory choices for both you and your beau. We love to see a man wearing pink, so grab your guy a pink silk tie. Since you’re saving on the dress, you should splurge on the shoes (at least that’s how we roll). We can’t imagine you wearing this dress with any other pump but these Kate Spade beauties. Like the idea of a floral dress but want to browse some other options? Check out some other floral dresses here.
Price: $49 depending on size selection
3. Eliza J Belted Fit and Flare Dress
You can add color subtly to a wedding dress by choosing one with metallic undertones. Metallics serve as a neutral in many situations and here’s a perfect example. The muted peaches and grays make this dress an appropriate choice for a City Hall wedding in every season. We can also picture brides parading around Europe in this dress. If that bride is you, we’re jealous. A rose gold shoe is the best way to combine the various colors seen here. This option from Ted Baker is our favorite, but you can browse additional options here.
4. Adrianna Papell High Low Taffeta Ball Gown
For something a bit more formal, consider a taffeta gown. This structured silk fabric lends itself to a sophisticated look and is one of the more formal options on our list. It is a traditional bridal gown fabric, so if that’s not the look you’re going for, keep some color in the mix. This dress has so many special details. The big belted bow at the waistband, the high low skirt, and the lace embroidered bodice are all unforgettable. Choosing a taffeta dress with a shorter hemline is one way to play down the formality. For a unique option – check out this below the knee taffeta jumpsuit with the illusion of being a dress.
Price: $186.75 – $249 depending on size selection
Short & Sweet Courthouse Wedding Dresses
Many courthouse brides choose to forgo a lengthy gown. Shorter dresses are inherently more casual, which makes sense for a daytime date at City Hall. Short dresses are easy to maneuver and a flattering choice for anyone who wants to bare a bit more skin. The selection of short white dresses is endless and choosing four favorites was a task, but here they are. If you want to check out some additional options you can browse top rated white cocktail dresses here.
1. Lilly Pulitzer Topanga Tunic Dress
Lilly Pulitzer is known for her collection of short white daytime appropriate dresses, all of which would be great for a courthouse or destination wedding. The long lace sleeves add a special touch and make this option stand out. We recommend a classic white pump to keep the bridal look prominent. BCBG makes a great pair that you can purchase here.
Price: $150 – $168 depending on size selection
2. Donna Morgan Strapless Chiffon Dress
Not only can you wear this dress all day long, but it’s a classic option that you can wear again and again. The sweetheart neckline will stay in place with a shelf bra with fasteners built in. The high waistline successfully elongates the torso, making the dress an extremely flattering option. The simplicity of the dress calls for some accessorizing and a bit of boldness with your lipstick choice. We recommend a dark maroon lip for fall, an orangey red for spring, or this perfect rose pink for anytime of the year.
Price: $37.81 – $198 depending on size selection
3. Lace Dress with Beads
This dress has a lot of personality and is a fun and flirty option for any bride to be. It’s no surprise that quite a few reviewers have chosen this same dress for their own wedding ceremonies. We recommend some simple pearl studs to complete the look. You can find a top rated pair of simple studs here.
Price: $79.99 – $99.99 depending on size selection
4. Maggy London V-Neck Sheath Dress
We love the look of an illusion neckline. You’ll notice this is a similar illusion style neckline as one of our full length picks above. The sheer nature of the overlay fabric adds an interesting element to an otherwise simple white sheath dress. This dress does run a little large, so remember to size down when ordering. Consider pulling your hair up to expose the gorgeous neckline and popping in a pearl hair brooch to complete the look. You can check out some top rated options here.
Courthouse Wedding Dresses With Jackets
The wedding suit is another versatile option for a courthouse wedding. Carrie Bradshaw pulled off this look and so can you. You can even snag a pair of those royal blue Manolo Blahniks, or opt for a less expensive copycat version. We won’t tell a soul. A dress and jacket combination works well during cooler months. You can cover up in the courthouse and then remove the jacket later on for your reception. We’ve included photos of all four dresses in this section both with and without the jacket pairings so you can reference both looks. If you’re getting married in the winter, you might want to consider a fur bolero to wear over your dress. You can check out a number of options here.
1. Alex Evenings Plus-Size Lace Jacket Dress
While many of the dresses featured on our list are available in a few plus size options, this dress can be ordered in up to a size 24 plus. We recommend this look for a slightly older bride, it’s sophisticated and age appropriate. If you’ve chosen a wedding dress that doesn’t come with a jacket but you like the look and practicality of one, you can browse top rated white shrugs here and choose one that matches best.
Price: $79.95 – $189.99 depending on size selected
2. Adrianna Papell Occasion Jacket With Dress
This two piece set has so many special details. The dress has delicate scalloped and laced edges along the skirt hemline, and while it’s not a true bright white, the white lace overlay compliments the champagne tones of the lining and the jacket. The jacket itself drapes open with cascading folds of light fabric. This wedding dress is also available here in plus sizing.
Price: $81.97 – $240 depending on size selection
3. Le Bos Knit Duster & Dress Set
You’ll be the most stylish and chic City Hall bride around with this dress and duster set. Both the dress and jacket have crisp lines and a structured silhouette, making it a great choice for a daytime ceremony and celebration. Keep this look clean and classic with a simple pair of ivory pumps – this pair has just a touch of shine.
Price: $69.95 – $120
4. Tahari Jacquard Skirt Suit
This jacquard suit set should stand out to courthouse brides to be. The beading around the neckline of the jacket adds a little bridal flare. Betsey Johnson has an entire line of bridal footwear called Blue which you can browse here. For this particular dress, we recommend the gray or white version of this shoe.
You can continue browsing a number of additional white dresses to wear to your courthouse or destination wedding here.
Price: $80.92 – $320 depending on size selection