Courthouse Wedding Dresses

My boyfriend & I are planning a simple court marriage. We’re not engaged “officially” yet but we know that we want it this summer after his deployment. We would like to wait a couple of years to save up money for a Church ceremony, a Convalidation in the Church, but for now we are doing the court marriage in our hometown.

I would like to find a short, informal, inexpensive white [or ivory/off white] dress to wear. We have decided to make this all very informal [with a BBQ afterward & all] and he will not be wearing his uniform either. If anyone has any suggestions or links for places with dresses that fit this description please let me know! Thanks in advance!!!!

Donna, Wedding Queen

Please think about this very carefully since once you’re married, you’re married, and another ceremony will not be a wedding. There would really be no need to
save up money” for a convalidation ceremony since those are not weddings and don’t usually have a lot of expense. You can read more about Convalidation in the Catholic Church or a Marriage Blessing in other Christian churches.

When you go to you will find links to dresses for vow renewals. Some of those outfits may work for you but it really depends on your venue, time of day, etc.

If you want to wear a wedding gown though, I would wait until your boyfriend comes back from his tour of duty to be married in the manner you’re dreaming of.

vow renewal dress
weddington way

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

I completely agree. And, if you decide that you really want to be married now, you can wear a wedding dress for a court house wedding. It is the one exception to the formality rule–where we match the formality of the dress to the formality of the event.

Thank you and yes we have thought about it that way. Since we will not be married in the eyes of God my Monsignor has spoken with us and agreed that a Convalidation Ceremony can and commonly is celebrated as a wedding would be. So, we will be getting married by law this summer but having a wedding ceremony through the church in about two years. A few close friends of mine have done this as well and everything worked out perfectly.
Thank you for the website address though to look for simple dresses.

marriage convalidation dress

Donna, Wedding Queen

I appreciate the fact that your Monsignor is suggesting the Convalidation yet surprised that he would encourage this before the fact. Most would counsel a couple to wait since they don’t love the idea of a couple living together as husband and wife before they are married in the eyes of the church. I do understand that the church sees the convalidation as your wedding, however, in the etiquette world, where we consider our guests, to have a wedding with the gifts, gowns and al the frills for a couple we know has been living together as husband and wife really isn’t appropriate. Read more about the Convalidation ceremony.

We wish your groom a safe return back to you and thank him for defending our country.

vow renewal dress
I Do Take Two

Kay and Dennis Flowers
Authors of Catholic Annulment, Spiritual Healing an essential book for getting remarried in the Catholic Church.

We realize you have already made up your minds about a civil wedding before convalidation, but the previous replies have offered you excellent advice. No matter what your monsignor says, according to canon law a convalidation ceremony is supposed to be a simple renewal of vows so that the Church can now recognize your marriage as sacramental. Marrying outside the Church is considered grave sin for practicing Catholics.

Yes, the convalidation ceremony usually uses the same wedding vows as for a formal Church wedding, but since you will already be married, it doesn’t make sense, etiquette-wise, to assume the ceremony will include bridesmaids and an expensive reception.

As for your question about where to purchase a wedding dress, you may want to search the clearance racks at local department stores for a great bargain. Thrift stores often have lovely dresses you can purchase for a song.

May God guide you and bless you.