The idea of renting your wedding dress went out of fashion for quite some time and yet throughout the 1940s and 50s, borrowing a wedding dress was very normal. Now renting wedding dresses is rising in popularity again. This time we look at why people are returning to borrowing, or renting, wedding dresses and whether or not it’s a decision you should consider.
We all accept that realistically you will only wear your wedding dress once. At best, you might pull it out of storage once in a couple of decades in the hope of squeezing into it and discovering – the joy of joys! – that you can still do it up. But realistically it’s not the sort of dress you’ll be throwing on to attend your best friend’s birthday party.
Not having to store (or dry clean!) your wedding dress afterwards is a huge advantage in renting your dress. This has seen people returning to buying dresses, jumpsuits or co-ords for their nuptial celebrations that are more practical so they can wear them more than once. Doing this means that you can treat yourself to a fantastic outfit as you know you will be getting years’ worth of wear out of it.
For a winter wedding, think about the incredible statement coat you could buy for your Big Day knowing that you’ll be able to wear it for years to come. This approach to weddings was commonplace in the 1930s when “many brides-to-be couldn’t afford a traditional silk gown; with many brides getting married in their own ‘best’ clothes and doing away with any elaborate jewellery and accessories, such as the traditional bridal veil”.
Whilst this return to borrowing or renting wedding dresses is not due to an economic crisis like the Great Depression of the 1930s, the cost-saving advantage of renting a dress should not be too quickly dismissed. In 2019 a typical bride was spending an average of £1321 on their wedding dress alone.
The return to borrowing or renting dresses might well be motivated by society’s desire to live more sustainably thereby protecting the planet’s precious resources. Like seeing a rise in vegan and vegetarian menus at weddings in 2021, having a sustainability-friendly wedding is on the increase. There are all sorts of ways to have an eco-friendly wedding from simple things like using seasonal, local produce, having eco-friendly favours to cutting down on your guest list. Another way to protect the environment is to borrow or rent your wedding dress.
If those are motivations enough to make you decide to rent your wedding dress, then you’ll need to know how to make it happen!
According to Brides magazine, when you set out to rent a wedding dress for your Big Day, you will need to:
- Have an idea of your sizing
- Read customer reviews
- Use filters when browsing online
- Be flexible in what you’re looking for
- Don’t worry about getting it right immediately. It might take some time for you to find what you are looking for.
Renting your wedding dress is also very helpful if you are planning a destination wedding, as you might be able to rent your wedding dress in the local town or city. Then you can travel light, and avoid the nightmare scenario of your luggage getting lost taking your wedding dress with it!
The disadvantages of renting your wedding dress include:
- Having fewer options
- You’re responsible for any damage
- You can’t keep it!
You won’t be able to pull out your dress in twenty years to see if you can still fit into it and you won’t be able to pass it down to your granddaughter for her to wear at her wedding. If you aren’t willing to accept the fact that there are fewer options as you go about choosing the dress of your wedding dreams then maybe renting isn’t the right move for you, especially if you have your heart set on a very specific look for your Big Day.
However, if you are certain that you want your wedding to have as low a carbon footprint as possible then another option to consider is borrowing a dress from a family member. Of course, if this is an immediate member of your family or it’s a family heirloom then doing this will make your wedding all the more special.
If you needed any further encouragement to borrow a wedding dress then it’s worth noting that even the Royal family aren’t buying wedding dresses right now! Princess Beatrice’s wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on 17th July 2020 saw her upcycle one of her grandmother’s ball gowns, an exquisite heavily beaded white gown designed by Norman Hartnell in 1961 for Her Majesty The Queen.
The vintage gown was altered by Beatrice’s dresser Angela Kelly and the designer Stewart Parvin by “making small adjustments, including the addition of cap sleeves”. For anyone wanting to see the beautiful and historic gown, @Tatlermagazine has stated that “Princess Beatrice’s stunning wedding dress is now on display to the public” in a Twitter post on September 26th 2020.