Mick and Bianca Jagger at their courthouse wedding in St Tropez, 12th May 1971
Getty Images
Weddings 03 Jun 2024 4 MIN

Courting fashion at the marriage registrar’s office

Say “I do” in style, even if it is at a courthouse

Just because a government office is possibly the most unromantic setting for the start of a lifelong union doesn’t mean you can’t go big when it comes to your outfit. Even if it is a micro-ceremony with a handful of immediate family members and witnesses, it’s a big day (and there will be pictures).  

The best part about a court wedding is that there are no rules, so nothing is off limits. My mum, for example, got married in a pair of good old blue Levi’s and a tee. However, this was the ’90s, when minimalism was at its peak, fashion was at its most casual, and Kate Moss’s understated style had the world in a chokehold. The point is, anything goes at the courthouse. But this plethora of choices can be confusing. 

What you wear should be timeless and reflect your personality. Bianca Jagger’s oft-referenced Yves Saint Laurent ensemble from her Saint-Tropez courthouse wedding is a masterclass on the subject. The ivory Le Smoking jacket worn with a bias-cut column skirt and wide-brim hat has been on countless bridal mood boards since the ’70s. 

Minimalist options like a simple dress or a classic silk sari always do the job, as do more celebratory looks with embellishments—especially if the plan is to go out and party after. Look for details that speak to your personal style, whether it’s sharp tailoring or fluid silhouettes. If the idea is to go for clean lines, consider a lustrous fabric.  

Here are some of our favourite options for your big day.  

Practical pairings

A pre-draped sari is a no-brainer if you want something that’s both traditional and modern. It’s easy to put on, and eliminates any chance of you poking yourself with safety pins while getting dressed. Shweta Kapur's 431-88 has a chandelier top with just the right amount of razzle-dazzle for drinks and dancing after the signing. A kurta is a comfortable and classic choice, and this bright fuchsia silk brocade version with gently flared sharara bottoms from Raw Mango is an instant winner. The brocade will make you feel like a million bucks without even trying. A gharara hits the sweet spot between a full-blown lehenga and pants—and this silk pantsuit from Anita Dongre will have your wedding party talking about it for days after. Bonus: the look comes with a matching veil if you want to dial up the drama for photos. 

Fun is in the details

In case you hadn’t noticed, bows are still around, and bright, dopamine-boosting colours are always fitting for a celebration of love, like on this Saloni dress. This crystal-encrusted Moonray dress is a great pick for a minimalist bride who’d like to make a statement on the big day. We suggest ditching the shirt and dressing it up with heels. For brides who want a bit of Bollywood drama, this Manish Malhotra scallop-edged sari with silver embroidery would look great on the dance floor later. 

The all summer mini

If minis are your thing, why not wear one on your wedding day? This white Acler number with a plunging neckline and voluminous sleeves will flawlessly take you from the courthouse to cocktails. Another short and sweet dress (courtesy of buzzy designer Clio Peppiatt) comes covered in caviar-like beads and with a crystal-studded neckline. The silk sleeves are detachable in case you want to switch up your look for the after-party. For a high cost-per-wear value, this Bodice mini in the brand’s signature pleats can be dressed up with heels and a statement jewellery.