We’ve all watched enough TLC to know that wedding dresses can be pricey. For some brides, it’s one of the biggest purchases for the wedding. And while some stores like David’s Bridal offer much more affordable options, it can be super hard not to lust over a certain designer you spotted in a magazine, only to learn their dresses are way out of your budget. What’s a bride to do?
One option that’s becoming more and more common is a wedding dress rental. Just like how the groom frequently opts to rent a wedding tuxedo instead of dropping a hefty chunk of cash on a suit he’ll wear once a year (if that), it’s now an option for brides to do the same.
So if you’re thinking of a wedding dress rental, what’s your first step? Call your local boutique to see if they ever do rentals—as the trend has risen, so has the number of brick-and-mortar stores willing to rent—or peruse some online outlets. Rent the Runway has an entire section dedicated completely to bridal wear. Borrowing Magnolia has a wide variety of designer gowns at a fraction of their retail price. If you’re looking for something a touch more casual, Vow To Be Chic has an elegant “Little White Dress” section with tons of pretty options (and is great for your bridesmaids, too). And when you’re done picking out your wedding dress rental, it doesn’t have to stop there! Even accessories can be rented, with sites like Happy Ever Borrowed offering a large variety of everything from jewelry to veils to headpieces.
Sound like the perfect option for you? If you’d rather rent than buy a new or even a used wedding dress, here’s what you need to know:
- First and foremost, it’s a huge money saver! In 2014, the average cost of a wedding soared to over $31,000, with the cost of the average wedding dress clocking in at $1,357. Not many couples have that kind of change sitting in their wallets. If you decide to rent, you can find dresses at sites like Rent the Runway starting as low as $70.
- The wedding dress designer of your dreams is no longer unattainable. Borrowing Magnolia has a Vera Wang you can rent for $1,085…a fraction of it’s nearly $5,000 retail cost.
- After the wedding, you don’t need to worry about preserving your dress or storing it—you just return it to where it came from!
- A lot of women long for that day when they take their mom and bridesmaids wedding dress shopping with them. Buying online definitely isn’t the same experience.
- You need to be extra careful at your reception to keep your dress in mint condition, or whatever the details of your rental contract entail.
- The heirloom factor: When you rent a wedding dress, you’re forfeiting the experience of ever passing the dress down to your own daughter or other relative/friend, and it may feel a little less special to know you never owned your dress.
When renting a dress, you’re also taking some unavoidable chances. Here’s a few things you’ll definitely want to take note of before you sign on the dotted line:
- Make sure to try the dress on immediately. Alterations on rented gowns typically aren’t allowed, as they need to be able to fit a wide variety of brides. If you have specific sizing issues, a wedding dress rental may not be your best option.
- Read carefully and understand what your security deposit covers, and don’t be afraid to ask if you need any clarifications. You don’t want to spill a drop of champagne on your dress only to learn later that you now owe the rental boutique the retail price.
- Inspect the dress carefully when it arrives to make sure it doesn’t have any wear-and-tear that you might find unacceptable.
- Don’t miss your return date! Outlets like Borrowing Magnolia charge a late fee, so make sure to send your dress back before you hop on the plane to your honeymoon.
- Start shopping early. Rental outlets will usually have a limited amount of stock, and won’t be able to just order a dress in your size the way your average bridal boutique can. If you’re getting married during a popular season (like early summer) start your dress quest as early as possible!
So, tell us WGM’ers! Would you rent your wedding dress? Let us know in the comments section below!