Should You Rent Your Wedding Dress? Pros & Cons

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Buy vs Rent Wedding Dress

Wedding dresses aren’t cheap. They are often one of the major costs involved in planning a wedding.

The reality is that weddings are expensive, and the grand occasion you dreamed of as a child may not be in your budget. Research form The Knot’s 2017 Real Weddings Study found that on average, an American wedding costs $33,391.

One of the largest expenses is your wedding dress. According to Insider Data, the cost of wedding dresses ranges from just under $1,000 in South Dakota to more than double this in New York.

When you only wear your wedding dress once in your life, that cost becomes an even bigger pill to swallow. You might be asking yourself, is it really worth the cost?

This doesn’t mean you should give up on your dream wedding though. Wedding dresses are expensive to buy new, but you don’t have to compromise on the dress of your dreams to save money. There are other options out there than spending a huge chunk of change on that dream dress.

Is There an Alternative to Spending Thousands on Your Wedding Dress?


Getting engaged can be one of the happiest days of your life, up there with events like your wedding, giving birth, or getting a big promotion. You may have only got engaged yesterday, yet here you are looking at articles about the cost of a wedding dress. It’s a worrying expense.

Buying a wedding dress often means you need to fork out over four figures. The cost of a wedding dress varies a lot, with designer brands costing tens of thousands of dollars. That’s a lot of money.

But there’s another option. Could renting a wedding dress give you a way to reduce that cost but still give you the dress of your dreams?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Renting a Wedding Dress


Pros and Cons Renting Wedding Dress

As soon as you get engaged, your mind starts racing to plan your wedding. You’ve probably seen a lot of different designs out there for wedding dresses – many that could be way over your budget, or at a cost you simply cannot justify. But renting your dream dress could give you the best of both worlds.

Renting a wedding dress comes with its pros and cons. We have listed the major ones below.

Pros of renting a wedding dress

  • It will save you money. The main reason people rent wedding dresses is to reduce the overall cost of their wedding.
  • Wedding dress rentals start at around $200, which can save you over $1,000 versus buying a dress.
  • It’s quick. Ordering a brand spanking new dress can take around six months. If you are having an impromptu wedding or don’t want to deal with the stress of complications in the ordering process, renting is a great alternative.
  • You may get some added extras. Many wedding dress rental companies give you package options where you can also add accessories such as a veil and shoes.
  • You don’t have to clean it. Most women get married in a white dress. After a night of celebration, chances are it will get a little bit ‘partied out’. Dry cleaning a wedding dress is not cheap and is another cost to be factored in.
  • You don’t have to preserve it. When you buy a dress, even if you never wear it again, you will often want to keep it for the sentimental value. This can be costly, as the fabric is often delicate and requires special care.
  • You can wear a better-quality dress on that special day. Designer dresses are expensive and may be out of your budget to buy. If you are only renting it for a night or two, you can likely get a designer dress that is now within your price range.
  • If you are having a destination wedding, it is the way to go. Renting a wedding dress at the destination means you don’t need to worry about packing it or experience any problems in transit – a stress you could certainly do without

Cons of renting a wedding dress

  • The options for wedding dress rentals can be limited compared with buying new.
  • You may encounter the problem of finding a dress you like but that it’s already rented on the day you want it.
  • Sizing may not be perfect. You might find a dress you like that may not be in your size. If you do find one in your size, you will not be able to make alterations so that it is a perfect fit.
  • You accept responsibility for the dress when you rent it. This means if there are any significant damages you will have to pay the cost to restore the dress.
  • To get the widest range of options for wedding dress rental, you often must look online. This can mean ordering multiple dresses to try on and sending them back before you find the right one.
  • Fees can add up. The list price may not be the final price you pay after you include add-ons such as delivery and insurance.
  • You must return it. This can be difficult for some people. Wedding dresses often keep memories and hold sentimental value. You may want to pass it on to your daughter or son’s fiancé. If you’re the sentimental type, then renting a dress might not be a good option for you.
  • Shopping with your family and friends and trying on dresses is a fun experience. It is something that is often missed out on with rentals, as few places have stores you can visit.

What Could You Spend the Money on Instead?


How To Save On Wedding Dress

It can be hard to say exactly how much money you would save from renting a dress compared to buying. The specific dress and the budget you have will determine the levels of savings.

However, we can estimate – and looking at average costs you could expect to save around $1,000. That’s a lot of money. What else could you spend it on?

Things that cost $1,000:

  • You can put it towards other expensive wedding costs such as the venue.
  • You can splash out and hire a photographer for the day. This way you will have photo memories even if you don’t get to keep the dress.
  • Why not put the money towards a sunny honeymoon in the Caribbean? Royal Caribbean offers cruises from destinations like New Jersey to Bermuda starting at $431 per person.
  • Perhaps you’re looking to settle down with your new marital partner and get a place of your own? You could put $1,000 toward the deposit on your new home.
  • Buy an experience for you and your new spouse to do together. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of sky diving or swimming with dolphins.
  • Pay for your dream wedding DJ. According to Weddinghire.com, wedding DJs in the USA cost on average $1,000.

Best Places to Rent Wedding Dresses


Best Places To Rent Wedding Dress

You can shop for wedding dress rentals online, and easily include all your wedding crew – the bridesmaids, mothers. In-laws, and selected guests.

Most services offer a virtual personal stylist, to talk to you online, by phone, or email, and ensure that measurements and styling are what you desire.

The standard service also includes pre-paid parceling for return of your hired garments.

Here are three of the best wedding dress rental services in the United States and how each differs from the other:

1. Vow to be Chic


You’ll find a range of high-end designer dresses by some of the world’s most renowned designers at Vow to be Chic. Some of these are exclusives.

You’ll be sent two sizes of your selected dress, with a rental period of 10 days. If you wish to try the dress before your wedding, you may also opt to take advantage of a try-on period at a small additional cost. Typical rental price ranges between $100 and $150.

2. Rent the Runway


Rent the Runway has around 500 dresses available for brides to choose from, and a range of second wedding dresses and accessories – including jewelry, handbags, veils, combs, and hairbands – to complete your perfect attire choice for your big day. You’ll save time and effort and can dress your bridesmaids from the same rental company.

One of the longest established wedding dress rental companies in the United States, with Rent the Runway you can choose your rental period from between four and eight days. Average rental prices start as low as around $40, and returns are fulfilled by UPS.

3. Wedding Dress Forrent


Wedding Dress Forrent offers more than 250 designer wedding dresses for rental. That’s a big choice for you, though you will only be able to hire for between three and five days. Your dress is delivered on the first day of your rental period. If your dress doesn’t fit, Wedding Dress Forrent will help you find another dress or give you a credit.

At around 25% pf retail price, rental prices are higher than at other wedding dress rental companies, typically starting at around $300.

Does it Make Sense to Rent Wedding Dresses?


Renting a wedding dress and your second wedding outfit removes the stress from your bank accounts, and the process of choosing is often quicker. You can get a stunning wedding dress and second wedding outfit that will make you the envy of all your friends at a fraction of the cost of buying it from a retailer.

If you’ve just got engaged and are looking for the dress that fits your budget as well as your dreams, checking out rental options could be the right choice for you.

By Michael Barton

Michael’s career includes a quarter century in the global financial industry, ranging from trading and training to advice and sales. He has held senior positions at companies such as Goldman Sachs, SNC (Merrill Lynch), and Cargill Investor Services.

This experience helped Michael provide a unique service in his capacity as a personal financial advisor, helping retail and high net worth clients manage their money more effectively and invest more profitably.

Michael has joined DollarBreak to bring the Wall Street touch to you. To help you navigate your budget, make and save more money, and maximize your investments.

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