Choosing The Best Wedding Dress for a Civil Wedding Ceremony

This is the last in my series of guest posts from Venus Bridal UK and here the focus is on finding a wedding dress suitable for a civil wedding ceremony.

If you’re getting married in a hotel, as I did, you may find a dress with a long train rather unsuitable!

Another consideration is that you may well be sitting down for a longer period of time, particularly if your reception is following straight on from the ceremony.

My dress had lacing at the back so it could be let out for breathing (and toilet breaks!).

I’d also advise deciding whether or not you will want to wear the dress again when making your choice.

I planned to cut the train off and get a dress-maker to turn my wedding dress into an evening gown – but I haven’t quite got around to it yet.

Finally, if you do plan to wear your wedding dress again, be aware that your weight may well change (I was a stone lighter on my wedding day!), and that even if you plan to wear it again, you might not be able to get back into it!

Here’s the advice from Venus Bridal.

Where you have your civil wedding will help influence what you will wear on your big day but should by no means limit it.

With this in mind, your dress needs to suit the season and the location but you should also think about the type of civil ceremony you’re having, as civil ceremonies take place in countless settings – including on a beach, in a fairytale castle or in a hotel ballroom.

However, if you want to look like a princess there’s nothing stopping you but you can also go for a relaxed and casual look or even fancy dress.

That’s the beauty of civil weddings.

And, of course, you can always ask your partner what they would like to see you in.

Type of outfit

For a civil ceremony, you can essentially wear anything you like – a short dress, smart suit, T-shirt and jeans, or even a themed outfit – but whatever you decide on make sure you feel comfortable in your final choice.

Your wedding day is the time you show friends and family how much you and your betrothed love each other – it is not a time to experiment or try to be something you’re not.

But with a civil ceremony you can allow yourself more leeway than with a traditional wedding.

Most brides would not wear a short dress for a church wedding but they are ideal at civil ones.

And then there’s the practicalities to consider: a short dress is often less expensive, easier to carry if going abroad, more comfortable and you can wear it again.

Dress shape

If you decide on a dress think about your best and worst features and then choose a shape that hides the bits you’re less fond of and highlights your best parts.

Colour of your outfit

One of the great advantages of a civil wedding is the freedom to choose a wedding dress that is not white.

This is great for those who don’t have the right colouring for a brilliant white dress.

But you can go beyond the off -white shades such as ivory or cream and really go to town with dramatic reds, pale golds or ethereal lilacs.


Wedding dresses come in a variety of fabrics but when deciding what fabric to use it is a good idea to remember what time of year and/or the location.

With a civil ceremony you have a lot more choice, you no longer are confined to satin and silk or crepe and brocade.


Unless you still want to look like a princess on your special day it is probably preferable not to wear a train.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to go bareheaded – you can wear a headdress or a hat that suits your dress. In fact, you can make a real statement with what you wear on your head.

Whatever wedding outfit you choose to wear for a civil ceremony, the bridal attire can be just as beautiful and as unforgettable as a more traditional wedding gown.

This blog post was written by Venus Bridal, bridal gown designers and manufacturers who provide timeless, glamorous and diverse wedding gowns to stockists throughout the whole of the UK.

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