Bride Chic: Is Renting Your Wedding Dress The Way To Go?

Posted by Azure on April 2nd, 2010
About Bride Chic

I thought this void in the market would be filled by some good old Yankee ingenuity but it hasn’t been. Do a search on wedding dress rental and just see what comes up. I found you can rent a gown these days, but shops offering this service are scattered thin. Most designers including those of the stylish one-off Etsy variety aren't even open to taking the plunge. So I asked salon owners a couple pertinent questions. The first one: Would you consider renting some of your designer pieces out to brides?According to Annette Cirillo-Bergen of Couture Bride, the first upscale bridal salon in Las Vegas, the answer is an unequivocal, "No. Our designers encapsulate the upper end of the bridal market and would never approve and, therefore, as their partners in the intimate world of bridal, we would never disrespect them." When asked whether she thought this concept might work in the near future, Annette went on to say, "In my opinion this concept would never work. A couture bridal gown is so well made, with many layers and fabrics used, that it would be near impossible and quite costly to a salon to fit the garment properly on a variety of sizes. Also the cost of the gowns would mean quite a steep rental charge and most brides, that we have found, would rather apply their dollars to something that belongs to them and marks a very special day!"

As a wedding dress designer, here's my own take on this: Between red wine stains and torn hems, a barrage of other things can ruin a wedding dress. Since gown providers aren't willing to experiment, gown rental in general still remains uncharted territory. Complaints from the bride's end have more to do with frustration. You'll find once you finally locate a shop carrying rentals, the selection is limited and pretty disappointing. Typically the gowns are of the off shore knock-off variety and the service is lousy. However, hit up the metro areas and there's at least one jewel out there like One Night Affair in Los Angeles offering Badgley Mischka and Monique Lhuillier among other high end names.

So I'll ask you, how about a system for renting gowns something like the guys have for choosing tuxes? The formalwear industry has streamlined the whole process of jumping into a Jasper Conran down to the point and click of a mouse. Because places like Selix and After Six are franchised and all carry the same stock, your guy’s best man in Miami can match his groomsmen in Seattle right down to the cuff links. Is this realistic for us though? Do we really want to get as efficient and streamlined as our men folk? I don’t know. A bride is such a pedestaled creature seeking that one-of-a-kind confection; it’s doubtful we’ll ever see bridal wear go this direction. The beauty of renting (at least in theory) is the price. Rentals start at around $250.00. You return the gown after the big day and save the money that would have gone into it for your honeymoon or down payment on a car. No storing, preserving or worrying about your wedding dress after the festivities are over. Though renting may sound great there is another alternative that's become very tried and true for brides. You can buy a gown and consign it after the wedding. Okay, so maybe this is not as convenient as simply dropping off the dress from whence it came but definitely one of your more practical options. Brides wanting to save bucks but have the ultimate in chic are finding once worn high end designer gowns a great alternative to renting. Here you can find the likes of Elizabeth Fillmore and Reem Acra. Here’s a link to a great web site called Once Wed. You can either buy or sell on this site and Emily is recommended by some of the most reputable bridal bloggers out there. Personally, I am impressed with the caliber of wedding dresses I found here that go anywhere from $145.00 to 15,000.00. Another similar site, fairly new to the scene, is RecycledBride.com.

For those of you still contemplating renting your gown, you'll find your best options on a store by store basis by searching the web or the links below. Here's what the typical rental process involves: 1. You pay a refundable deposit, refundable on the safe return of the dress. Usually your deposit is refunded in full, since most Brides are careful. Most rental places don't charge you for minor marks on the dress like the base of the wedding dress or train tracking the ground. However, most do charge for damage, like makeup stains, big splashes of red wine, torn linings, etc. 2. You do need to return your dress right after your wedding. If you are Honeymooning in a far away place arrange the return through someone else whether you send the dress back through the mail or return it to a shop.

So now, back to that original question: Is renting your wedding gown really an option? Maybe. If you can actually find an Amsale in peau de soie for $200-300, with the veil thrown in, you've got yourself a deal. Helpful Links For Wedding Dress Rental One Night Affair- Bridal and formal gown rental in SoCal ranging from $100-1000. Featuring designers like Badgley Mischka, Cymbeline of Paris, Domo Adami, and Monique Lhuillier. Sonia's Bridal- Bridal gown and Quince rental in the Boston Area. Gowns to Go- Rentals in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Service includes alterations, slip and cleaning. Wedding Dress Hire- Offering bridal gowns for (hire) in the UK

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