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Wedding Dress: Buying vs. Renting

Ever since you were a little girl, you’ve daydreamed about the stunning dress you’ll wear on your wedding day, but back then, you didn’t know you might need a small fortune to pay for that gown! For most brides, the most exciting part of the wedding is wearing the perfect wedding dress on their big day. We always dream about looking beautiful and astonishing in our swirling outfits in the eyes of our beloved groom and the guests. Unfortunately, if you are buying your wedding dress, you use it only for a couple of hours. After that, it will more than likely spend the rest of its life collecting dust in your closet, till maybe (if she’s not too tres modern and chic) your daughter’s wedding. Therefore, the cost of the wedding dress is an important consideration in your overall wedding budget.
However, if spending thousands of dollars on a one-time wedding dress frightens you, you have several other options, such as:

  • Visiting a consignment shop for used wedding dresses for purchase
  • Sourcing out thrift shops which have excellent bargains (although quality may be poor)
  • Asking relatives and friends to lend you their wedding heirlooms
  • Surfing online auctions, many of whom have excellent choices available (but make sure to ask for multiple photographs and phone customer service for more details before final purchase)
  • Designing your own, one-of-a-kind dress. In the case of my own wedding, this led to a unique situation.. what I’ll call the “shop and swap”. The shop made me a wedding dress, on condition that I return it for re-sale. In return, they gave me a free party dress to wear for the reception, which I was able to keep and have been able to wear to other occasions since then.
  • Renting your wedding dress

In my experience, choosing wedding dress rental instead of buying a one-time-wear gown is an economical decision that can help a couple trim their wedding budget without trimming their special day. It is also an economical solution for those who consider budget as well as long-term utility. Most shops have rental areas where dresses can be borrowed for up to one week. Rental dresses are usually kept in immaculate condition, so no repairs or dry cleaning are necessary. You can always find rental shops in local phone listings or search the Internet.
Men have been renting tuxedos for years, so you should not have any reservations about renting your wedding dress! If a bride has purchased a dress, she faces problems of maintenance and storage; however, if she rents a dress, all she has to do is choose it, wear it and return it and not even bother about dry cleaning.
Choosing to rent a wedding dress over purchasing a wedding dress will mean that:

  1. The wedding budget can be stretched to accommodate a honeymoon in the Carribbean or Europe or any other worldwide destination which may not have been previously possible
  2. You will save valuable money that can be used towards purchase of a new home.
  3. The bride need not bother about the maintenance of the dress. Most bridal boutiques which rent wedding dresses will pay for the cleaning of the wedding dress once it is returned to them; however, it is advisable to check with the wedding store, before renting, the exact dress rental agreement. If the wedding dress is damaged in any way, the bride may be responsible for the repair to the dress or, if the dress is extremely damaged, may have to actually purchase the wedding dress.
  4. In the case of destination weddings, the wedding dress is mostly available for hire in rental shops in the area, which means you don’t have to worry about transporting it there.
  5. If you have storage problems, renting and returning the dress solves this problem.

Nevertheless, there is a flip side to it too. You have a limited selection, as you have to choose from the limited designs available for rental in the shops. In many cases, you cannot make alterations and can only choose a size nearing your size. If the dress you love doesn’t fit, you have to choose another one. You may also have to pay separately for alteration charges. In addition, you have to be very careful the whole time not to damage the dress as it has to be returned and you will have to pay for any damages. Lastly, you do not have a family heirloom to pass on to your children.
Ultimately the decision on whether to buy or rent, rests on the individual’s choice. Both have their pros and cons. A big budget, grand wedding type may definitely go in for an exclusive designer wedding dress. A modest and practical bride may go in for a rented wedding dress. All eyes are usually on the bride during the whole ceremony and reception, but no one need to know whether the dress is designer or rented, as long as the bride looks wonderfully happy and ravishing.