Should You Rent Your Wedding Dress? Here's Why More Brides Are Saying Yes
She's got champagne taste on a beer budget.
When a bride goes wedding dress shopping, she arrives full of expectations. She’s already imagined the big moment over and over again: Her mom is there, the veil is brought out, tears are shed, bubbly is popped, and she’s off to the chapel.
Well we’ve watched enough Say Yes to the Dress episodes to know things don’t always go so smoothly, especially when it comes to budget. Wedding dresses are expensive—like, really expensive.
What’s the number one reason a bride might want to consider renting a wedding dress? She’s got champagne taste on a beer budget, sis.
For brides who have always dreamed of wearing Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, or Lazaro on their wedding day, the price—upwards of $5,000 and then some—might not send the wedding bells aringin’. Do a little head math, and you’re shelling out $5,000 for one day of wear. That’s about $208 per hour. Yes, even when you’re sleeping. Talk about beauty rest.
If you know all of this and you’re stilling dreaming of that lace Vera Wang, we get it (you’ll look just like Kate Middleton!). And so that leads us to the renting loophole. Turns out, you can get designer wedding gowns at a fraction of the price by renting them instead of purchasing.
Rent the Runway features a whole section devoted to brides looking for little white numbers (like this dreamy cap-sleeved Badgley Mishka); Happily Ever Borrowed helps you round out your look with crystal-studded belts and tiaras, as well as lace-trimmed cathedral veils; and One Night Affair offers brides a full-service rental with additions like hair styling, makeup, and even lash extensions for the big day.
Rent the Runway even offers RTR Wedding Concierge, a package that sets you up with a stylist and covers multiple events throughout your engagement.
Looking to purchase at a discount? Borrowing Magnolia allows brides to list their worn-once wedding gowns at a fraction of what they bought it for, like this $6,000 Lazara dress that you can get for $1,000. Brides supporting brides!
If you’re still looking to have the traditional in-store experience with your mother, consult one of the five brick-and-mortar stores that Rent the Runway has opened for its customers. You can book a one-on-one appointment with a stylist and try your options in a reserved fitting room. Make sure to call and ask about bridal styles before booking.
Here are a couple things to consider when looking at wedding dress rentals:
Fit: There’s no guarantee that a wedding dress rental will fit you perfectly, and most brides go through one or more fittings after purchasing a dress in-store. If you find yourself having to alter formal gowns often (either getting the length hemmed or taking in the waist or bust), this might be your biggest issue when renting. Rent the Runway allows you to select two different sizes when renting, but alterations are not permitted. If purchasing a wedding dress through Borrowing Magnolia, you’ll be able to customize and alter to your specific needs, no problem.
Timing: If you’re looking to nail down your bridal look well in advance, renting can be tricky (unless using a local service). Most services only allow you to keep the dress for four to five days—a week if you’re lucky. Happily Ever Borrowed offers a “Send Before You Spend” option that allows brides to try three different accessories for a $25 fee before making a decision. Rent the Runway might not match that perk, but you can reserve dresses well in advance and it might be worth it to rent the chosen gown once beforehand to make sure the style and size is to your liking. You’ll still be saving!
What NOT to worry about: the heirloom thing. Because the notion of wearing your mother’s wedding dress might be as sweet and sappy as molasses, but in reality we can count on one hand how many times we’ve actually witnessed that. Say yes to the rented dress, and accessorize it with your mother’s vintage comb or veil (not her puffy sleeved gown from the 80s!).
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If our foremothers knew we were out here renting wedding gowns, they might roll over. But how else are we supposed to afford all of those peonies, Nana?