If you’re in the midst of wedding planning and wedding dress shopping, there’s one thing you already know:
Wedding dresses can be expensive!
And that’s why a lot of brides are passing on the tradition of buying a dress and opting to take a new approach:
A wedding dress rental.
According to a survey by The Knot, the average wedding gown costs between $1,600 and $2,000. And the designer gowns we all dream of wearing can easily cost $10,000 or more. If that’s more than you’re wanting, willing, or able to pay, you might want to consider renting your dream dress for a fraction of the price.
Brides-to-be, before you run to your local bridal boutique and place an order for a custom-made gown, you’ll want to read this.
Here’s what you need to know about renting a gown for the big day, including the pros, the cons, and where you can rent the dress of your dreams.
What Do Wedding Experts Think About Renting a Bridal Gown?
Wondering what experts in the bridal industry think about renting a wedding gown? We chatted with two, and here’s what they had to say.
Kirsten McKinley, founder of Weddings & Brides, shared these thoughts on wedding dress rentals:
“Wedding dress rentals allow you to choose from a wider range of dresses. Since renting a dress is cheaper than buying one, you can afford to go for a fancier, more expensive dress, as you’re not outright buying it! Wedding dress rentals are becoming increasingly popular, and there are now plenty of dress rental companies, meaning you’re bound to find one that’s right for you.”
Celebrity Wedding Planner/Designer and television personality Samantha Goldberg shared her thoughts as well:
“Renting a gown is no different than celebrities who grace the carpet with iconic designers. It’s been happening for years and has so many benefits…One being not a hefty price tag! Another benefit to renting a bridal gown is you can choose some of the most chic styles that may be a classic – or, as I can say—untouchable. Another pro, you will save a ton of Bridal Bucks! What does that mean, ladies? It means better options for your wedding day or, even better, a more lux honeymoon!”
Samantha finished with this bit of advice:
“Before you put that down payment on a gown that may be a tad off budget, you may be able to find that same one…and rent it! I would say that’s a definite I DO!”
The Pros and Cons of Renting a Wedding Gown
Renting an outfit for a special occasion is nothing new (tuxedo rental shops have been in business for decades.) But renting something as special and meaningful as a wedding dress? It may or may not be the right choice for you.
Here are some pros and cons to consider before deciding if renting a dress is the right move for you.
PRO: You’ll Save Money
Most brides have a budget for their dress, and everyone who’s ever planned a wedding knows that it’s a whole lot easier to blow a budget than to stick to one. Renting a dress can save you thousands of dollars, and you can put that money towards other elements of the wedding or enjoy the opportunity to wear a couture designer gown that you could never afford to pay retail price for.
PRO: There’s No Need to Preserve It
Brides typically have their wedding dress cleaned and preserved after the wedding day, then store it in a closet for decades. Not only will you probably never wear it again, but there’s a good chance you’ll never even look at it again. The only guarantee is that it will take up space in your closet.
Renting a dress eliminates the need to pay for cleaning and storage costs. If you’re a minimalist who hates clutter, it also means more free space in your closet.
PRO: It’s Eco-Friendly
There’s no question that renting a dress that already exists is better for the environment than producing a brand new one. If you care about sustainability in fashion, you might want to consider renting your wedding dress as well as other wedding day essentials, such as your veil and accessories.
CON: You Can’t Do Alterations
For the perfect dress to be the perfect dress, it has to fit well – and for most brides, that means spending even more money on alterations. The biggest drawback to renting a wedding dress is that you cannot make alterations. You’ll have to return it in the same condition you received it in, so pay close attention to the measurements before you rent.
If you’re petite or on the tall side, pay special attention to the length.
CON: Options May Be Limited
Walk into a bridal boutique, and you’ll be presented with endless options – all of which can be made to order in your size. Renting can be problematic because not every dress is available in every size, which means your options may be a bit more limited.
Things to Keep in Mind When Renting a Wedding Dress
Whether you’re dreaming of walking down the aisle in a strapless princess-y beaded ball gown or a glam, vintage-inspired long sleeve gown with a high neck, there are a few things to keep in mind when renting a wedding dress.
The Return Policy
Rental companies only allow you to rent a dress for a set period of time. Be sure to know what the return date is and if their policy requires you to clean the dress or not. Fail to return the dress on time, and you’ll definitely be charged some added fees, which kind of defeats the whole point of saving money by renting rather than buying.
Rent as Far in Advance as Possible
Don’t wait until the last minute to rent your dress. Options and sizes might sell out, and you could be left with limited options (or no options at all) if you wait until the last minute. Plus, renting your dress well in advance will give you more time to shop for the shoes and accessories to go with it.
Visit Bridal Boutiques Before You Rent
We’ve seen many a bride walk into a bridal boutique with the intention of buying a glitzy sequin-trimmed mermaid gown only to realize that her dream dress is actually an A-line tulle look with delicate ruffles.
Before you rent (or buy) your wedding dress, you’ll want to try on different silhouettes and different styles in person. That’s the only way to know what dress shape is most flattering to your body type.
BONUS TIP: If you’ve spotted a dress for rent online that you think is perfect for the big day, look for a local boutique that actually sells that dress from that designer, then go try it on in person so you know how it feels and fits.
Where to Rent a Wedding Dress Online
Ready to start shopping for a gorgeous, rentable wedding gown? Here are seven of the best places to rent a wedding dress online.
With brands such as Marchesa, Lazaro, and Oscar de la Renta, Poshare offers the option to rent (or buy) wedding dresses for up to 85% off their original retail price.
Unlike some sites that do rentals for four or five days, Poshare lets you rent a dress for up to 14 days. That’s ideal if you want to enjoy your entire wedding weekend or honeymoon without having to worry that you have to pack up and ship back your dress.
Dare & Dazzle
At Dare & Dazzle, you’ll find a gorgeous selection of bridal gowns in just about every fabric and silhouette you can think of. From romantic lace dresses to elegant fit and flare looks to fairytale-inspired ball gowns, they have it all.
What makes Dare & Dazzle such a great option is that they offer a try-on service where you can borrow three dresses for up to three days and try them on at home. There is a fee for try ons, but if you decide to rent one for the big day, the try-on fee will be deducted as a credit on your rental.
The Dress Outlet
Whether you’re on the hunt for a simple, classic gown or one with lots of beading and embellishments, check out The Dress Outlet. This site offers dresses in sizes from XS up to 7XL, making it a favorite amongst brides of all shapes and sizes.
Keep in mind that when shopping for dresses on this site, the prices listed are usually purchase prices. You’ll need to contact their customer service department to inquire about rental prices.
If your dream is to wear a wedding dress from a top bridal designer like Vera Wang, you’ll want to visit Janet Mandell. While size and style options are somewhat limited, you just might find that the designer dream dress you could never afford to purchase is available for your date and in your size.
At Janet Mandell, you can also find stunning, rentable designer jewelry, shoes, and bags, so even if you decide to buy your dress (or rent it somewhere else), you might want to rent some of your accessories here.
My Wardrobe HQ
My Wardrobe HQ is a London-based luxury rental service with plenty of stunning bridal gowns, footwear, and accessories to choose from. You can rent items for up to 14 days, and should you decide you want to purchase an item rather than return it, that’s an option too.
Rent the Runway
You’ll find lots of formal dresses available for rent at Rent the Runway, but you won’t find traditional bridal gowns here. You will, however, find plenty of chic white looks suitable for more casual weddings, like a tropical wedding on the beach, an intimate backyard bash, or a Sex and the City-style courthouse ceremony.
Rent the Runway is also a great place to find styles for other members of your wedding party, such as mother of the bride and bridesmaid dresses. While you’re there, you might want to shop for dresses for your pre-wedding celebrations, too, like your bridal shower, bachelorette party, and rehearsal dinner.
Tulerie doesn’t specialize in wedding dresses per se, but if you’re having a casual, unconventional wedding or searching for looks for pre and post wedding events, it’s worth checking out.
Tulerie is like Poshmark in the sense that you gain access to other people’s closets – but instead of buying an item and keeping it for yourself, you rent it for a few days and ship it back. The best part about this site is that you can rent looks for up to 20 days, perfect if you want fresh wardrobe options to wear every day of your honeymoon!
Consider Renting a Dress from a Local Bridal Boutique
Dreading the idea of cramming (and wrinkling) your gown in your carry-on bag? Afraid to pack your dress in a checked bag for fear that the airline will lose your luggage? Nervous that if you ship your gown to your hotel, it will be lost en route?
For destination wedding brides, getting THE dress to THE location can be a challenge. The good news is that there are lots of bridal boutiques and dress shops in cities around the country where you can rent a wedding dress in person, on the spot.
From Las Vegas to Miami to Hawaii, many popular destination wedding locations have a local rental boutique that will let you borrow the perfect dress for your big day. You’ll just need to do some Google searching to find them.
Is It a Good Idea to Rent a Wedding Dress?
If you’re a sentimental type who’s always dreamed of passing your dress on to your daughter one day, then renting a dress probably isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for an affordable alternative to buying a dress or looking to make your wedding a more sustainable one, then it’s an excellent option.
Just keep in mind that renting isn’t the only way to find an affordable dress. Consignment shops and resale marketplaces like Poshmark are also great places to find a wedding dress at a low price, and even though you’ll probably never wear it again, it’ll be yours to keep.
You may also be interested in: Our 15 Favorite Low-Cost Wedding Rings [Bling On A Budget]
Christine Devereaux Evangelistaview post
Christine Devereaux Evangelista
Christine Devereaux Evangelista is the Editorial Director for ChatterSource. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, arts & crafts, baking and binge-watching crime dramas. She lives in Denver, CO with her husband, Darin and Goldendoodle, Walter.view post