As early as 2013, we see articles raving about the recent trend of renting your wedding dress. And that trend has only grown in popularity over the years. It’s not surprising, though. With wedding prices rising (and couples throwing more extravagant weddings) the bottom line cost has almost doubled in the past decade. In an attempt to save a few dollars, many brides are renting their wedding dresses—and you might, too.
One of the biggest arguments in favor of renting your wedding dress, and other special occasion attire, is that you only wear the dress once. And you pay a pretty penny to wear it once! (Keep reading to find out the exact figure.) For some, that money is better spent on photographers, or to increase the headcount, to capture the celebration with all their friends and family. But it’s not an easy decision—there are compelling arguments from renters and non-renters alike. See for yourself with our top three pros and cons of renting your wedding dress.
Pros of Renting Your Wedding Dress
1) You Can Save Money
In the United States, the average bride pays $1,631 for a wedding dress. While that may seem like a lot—it does include alterations. (Thankfully, because alterations alone can cost up to $250!) However, you can find wedding dresses under $100 at certain rental sites, like Rent the Runway. This means you can definitely find a dress under $1,600! Plus, many rental sites have a no-alterations policy, so you save money there, too.
Bonus Tip: Renting your wedding dress also means you can afford that designer dream dress you wouldn’t otherwise have the budget for.
As if that wasn’t convincing enough, you also save a few hundred on preserving your wedding dress. Dry cleaning alone can cost up to $200, but if you want to properly store your wedding dress, a cleaning and specially designed preservation box is roughly $400. All in all, you trim your wedding budget by renting your wedding dress.
2) You Can Save Time
If you already started wedding dress shopping, you know how long it can take to find The One. And if there aren’t many stores in your area, the travel alone can eat up a whole afternoon. Shopping online saves you all the time of driving and trying on dresses—along with fittings, alterations, and picking up your gown. This is an ideal situation for any bride with a short wedding timeline (or one who dislikes shopping!).
You can still have the quintessential dress shopping experience, even when renting your wedding dress online. Just invite your BFFs and parents over, pop the bubbly, and connect your laptop to the TV screen so everyone can search with you.
3) The Dress Will Come to You
Are you planning a destination wedding? Or maybe you and your fiancé are eloping. (We won’t tell!) Well, renting your wedding dress means you don’t have to haul it across state or national borders. There’s no worrying about wrinkles, or locating a trusted dry cleaner when you reach your final stop. All you have to do is order your dress, and it let come to you!
And the best part is that you don’t have to bring it home with you, either. Maybe there were a few wedding accessories you bought after you landed. You’ll still need to make room for those on your trek back home—or worse, to your honeymoon. But when you rent your wedding dress, you mail it back before you leave. So there’s no last-minute packing or running out of room in your suitcase.
Cons of Renting Your Wedding Dress
1) You Can’t Use it Again
Many brides dream of passing their wedding dress onto their children to wear for a little something old. You may also want to celebrate an anniversary milestone—like 10 or 25 years—or have plans for a vow renewal. In all of those situations, re-wearing your original dress would be magical.
Unfortunately, you can’t re-wear your rented wedding dress because you can’t keep it. Of course, you may be able to rent a similar dress down the road. But it wont be the exact same dress that you wore on your special day. If sentimentality is really important to you, renting your wedding dress isn’t the best option.
2) You Can’t Try it On
While your rented dress may be shipped right to you—wherever you are—that means you can’t try it on beforehand. Usually, rental sites don’t allow alterations or modifications (read the agreement carefully!). So, if your dress arrives, and it doesn’t fit, you either have to make do or find an alternative. Maybe that doesn’t seem so bad—if all else fails, you can always go shopping in the stores, right? Well, not exactly.
Typically, your wedding dress arrives a week before your big day. And if it doesn’t fit, that’s certainly not enough time to find a new one and get it altered. You have to be confident in your decision before renting your wedding dress.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to know if sizing will be an issue for you. For example, if you usually have trouble finding dresses that fit in all the right places, you’ll likely be more comfortable in a purchased dress you can custom fit. Or, if you’ve recently lost weight for your big day, you may be unsure of your new dress size. Don’t guess! At very least, try some on in-store before buying online. And, of course, maternity wedding dresses can be tricky as well. Some websites will have maternity options—but, again, your new body might not fit into dresses like it used to!
3) You Have Fewer Customization Options
As we’ve mentioned a few times already: you typically can’t alter or customize your rented dress. When you purchase a dress from a store or boutique, you can make lots of adjustments, like adding more beading, removing some of the tulle, or shortening the sleeves. Each modification makes the dress fit a little more perfectly. But renting your wedding dress doesn’t allow for that.
Dress rentals follow a very strict what you see is what you get model. So you can’t be picky, and you may have fewer options because of that. For example, if you always have to take in the bust on mermaid silhouettes, you probably can’t rent one for your wedding. (Unless you’re OK adding some padding, that is!). That removes options for you—in a situation that already has fewer dress options.
Renting your wedding dress isn’t all bad, and it isn’t all good either. As with any wedding dress decision—list out your priorities, and make a decision from there. And if you’re really torn, you can always do a little in-store shopping first. If nothing brings tears to your eyes, see what the internet has to offer!
Are you considering renting your wedding dress? Why or why not?