Style + Ask the Edit

Ask the Edit: Outfit Ideas for a Courthouse Wedding

Hi Abra!

Longtime reader and huge fan! I wanted to pose a question. Anything you would recommend that is simple and nice for a courthouse wedding?  I’m getting married in about 2 weeks and want to look cute and classy, but as we will have a larger celebration later, don’t need to be flashy. I’m a size 14 so finding something nice and flattering can be a challenge. Would love to see what you recommend!

Thanks! Wendy

I love a good courthouse wedding.  My two tips are to bring a bouquet and a boutonniere (it makes it more festive), and keep an eye on the background for photos.  The first tip is self explanatory.  The second comes from a friend who had to have her photos Photoshopped to remove the mugshots from the background.

As for what to wear…

You didn’t provide a budget, so I’m going to try to stay under-$500, with a preference for dresses under-$300.  This isn’t a wildly ostentatious budget, but it’s fitting to the occasion.

BHLDN, Anthropologie’s bridal store, has a wide variety of “little white dresses,” more casual wedding attire.  Most styles go up to size 16.  I was kind of digging their balloon sleeve sequin dress in white.  It’s a bold choice, but it says, “My wedding is a party.”

Now, if you’re looking for something with lace, this Ted Baker dress with lace sleeves and a pleated skirt is great.  I also like the petal appliqué on this Eliza J boatneck dress.  Or you can go all out, cupcake style, with this lace ASOS prom dress with a full skirt and sheer yoke.

For something sleeker, this under-$100 Eloquii dress with a dramatic puff sleeve is cool.  You could also go very simple, elegant with this Elie Tahari crepe sheath.

I feel good about all of these suggestions, but if this were my wedding, I’d do one of two things:

This Bronx and Bonco dress is not available in 14.  But it is available in 16.  Order it, take it to a tailor, it’s going to fit you like a dream.

This dress is cool, modern, elegant.  I would put my hair up, in a low chignon and add this mesh black fascinator clip for some extra zazz.  I’d probably wear pearl earrings, no other jewelry.  And if I could, I splurge on a pair of shoes to wear to both the courthouse and the later wedding event.

Now, for a bit of Meghan Markle in our lives, I would go for this Manning Cantrell off the shoulder dress.  Then, I’d sneak over to etsy for a blush, tulle birdcage veil which I would secure with a rose gold clip.  Add a simple pair of rose gold and pearl earrings to complement the clip.

Best wishes on your marriage.

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  1. PHX says:

    Those are all incredible selections, especially the last two. I’m all Heart Eye Emoji over those!

    June 28, 2018/Reply
  2. Lauren says:

    I think you really nailed it with these suggestions. Gorgeous!

    June 28, 2018/Reply
  3. Kelly says:

    Thanks for the courthouse wedding tips! I’ll pass those on to my sister as she plans hers this summer.

    June 28, 2018/Reply
  4. MIchelle says:

    Well now I want a re-do on my courthouse wedding (from 7 years ago!) This post put a smile on my face. Thanks.

    June 28, 2018/Reply
  5. Colleen says:

    I want to re-do my 2005, ultra-traditional wedding as a courthouse wedding based on those last two outfits alone!

    June 28, 2018/Reply
  6. Britt says:

    Long-time reader, first time commenter – thank you for this post! I was actually going to write in with the same question and I love all your picks. I now might actually have a chance at finding an elopement dress! Love your blog by the way!

    June 28, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Go to shopstyle and use their search feature, it should help you find something special.

      June 28, 2018/Reply
  7. Jules says:

    I don’t know what your local courthouse looks like. My good friend got married in a courthouse, but the building itself is historical and beautiful, with gorgeous lawns. So she did a full wedding gown and it looked AMAZING 🙂
    I know it’s not necessarily what you asked for, but just wanted to share that even a full gown looked awesome. (But she’s sort of extra, so YMMV) Congrats on the wedding 🙂

    June 28, 2018/Reply
  8. A says:

    These are stunning.
    Long time listener, first time caller.

    Do more of these.
    Do a post of elopement dresses a week all summer. 😀

    June 28, 2018/Reply
  9. J says:

    I love all of these dresses. I also want to suggest not being afraid of color for your wedding. I wore a red silk jersey dress with a white cardigan for my courthouse wedding, while my friend wore a maroon lace dress to hers. My dress was so simple that I still wear it as a work dress. I would definitely go with a bouquet and boutiennere no matter what you decide to wear! Congrats!!

    June 28, 2018/Reply
  10. Kate says:

    Love your choices, but Manning Cartell is an aussie brand – so a 14 is more like a 10 US.

    June 28, 2018/Reply
    • Belle says:

      There was an 18 for sale earlier. Someone must have grabbed it.

      June 29, 2018/Reply
  11. Nancy M says:

    love this post, and i’ve been married for 9 years! Congrats Wendy, you’re going to look great!!

    June 29, 2018/Reply
  12. Jennie says:

    Fantastic suggestions! I had a courthouse wedding two weeks ago and the Bronx and Bronco dress would’ve been my first pick. Also something to consider if someone is looking for budget friendly, I rented a Monique Lhuillier dress from Rent the Runway and it was perfection. Everyone thought I had it custom made and I believe I paid around $55 for the rental during one of their sales.

    June 29, 2018/Reply
  13. Opal says:

    For a friend’s courthouse wedding I ordered a Virginia dress from It was simple, elegant, and made to my measurements. I have several of their dresses and they are favorites.

    June 29, 2018/Reply
  14. Amanda says:

    Loce this article! These are some awesome ideas for a courthouse wedding. These outfits are so cute. Thanks a lot for sharing the great article.

    July 12, 2018/Reply