Should You Rent Your Wedding Dress? Pros & Cons to Help You Decide

Updated 01/03/17
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Photo by Stoffer Photography

Fact: wedding dresses aren't cheap. Generally costing at least four figures (sometimes more), the price to pay for a gown sounds even more expensive when you consider you'll only be wearing it once in your life (unless you get creative, of course). At this point, a bride might wonder — is it worth the cost? Should I rent a dress instead? Well, bride-to-be, there are both pros and cons to that idea. Let's narrow down the decision-making process, shall we?

Wedding Dress Rental Pros

- Lower Cost

This is probably the biggest pro of them all, and probably what started you down the path to renting a wedding dress to begin with. When you've had your eye on a dream wedding dress that costs more than two month's rent, a girl's got to get creative. Dresses that were way over budget are suddenly in the realm of possibility. Renting a dress is a much cheaper option than buying one and often brings wedding dresses that cost four figures into three instead.

- Added Extras

Sometimes when you rent you end up getting more bang for you buck, as some wedding dress rental companies provide packages where you can get your wedding veil, accessories or shoes, as well. The overall discount in a package deal can bring your costs down even more.

- No Need to Clean

Cleaning typically comes standard with a wedding dress rental. Given that wedding dress dry cleaning can cost up to $200, that's another savings to factor in!

- No Need to Preserve or Store

As with dry cleaning, wedding dress preservation comes at a cost. A lot actually goes into making sure the delicate fabric of a wedding gown doesn't yel There's no need to worry about where you'll keep your gown after the big day or how you'll preserve it. Send it back and you're done!

- Designer Options

You just may be able to snag a dress by your dream high-end designer that you'd never be able to afford otherwise.

__-Hassle-Free Destination Weddings

Renting a dress can be very convenient for destination brides, as some destination salons allow you to rent your dress. No need to worry about packing and flying it while keeping it wrinkle-free.

Wedding Dress Rental Cons

- Limited Options

However, the options available among rental dresses aren't as broad and might be dated. If you're looking for a specific style or are a picky shopper, renting may not be the best choice. Not only are gown options more limited, but the places offering them aren't as common as those offering buyable gowns.

- Size Constraints

Even if you do find a gown you like, it may not be in your size. Are alterations allowed? That's something you'll need to ask wherever you're renting from.

- You're Responsible for Damages

Accidents happen. From wine spills to lipstick stains, torn hems to busted seams, your wedding dress can go through the ringer on your big day. While insurance covers minor issues, brides usually are responsible for the cost of the dress if there's any significant damage (or loss or theft). And, obviously, if you end up having to buy the dress anyway, it pretty much defeated the point of renting the dress to begin with!

- Online Ordering

This is always a risky bet. What if the wedding dress of your dreams arrives and looks completely different than pictured? Luckily, most rental services give you the option to order dresses just to try them on before committing to rent them for the big day, but that, too, comes with a cost.

- Extra Fees

Extra fees can include shipping, insurance or late fees. Make sure to read the fine print and understand what you're responsible for, as well as when the dress needs to be returned and in what condition. And don't forget to include fees in the overall cost of the dress — it all adds up!

- No Heirloom Factor

For some brides, a wedding dress holds memories of a lifetime. It's something they'll want to keep forever and possibly pass down to the next generation. With a rental dress, you might lose that sentimental value.

- Less of a Shopping Experience

If you dream of saying yes to the dress in a room full of your closest loved ones, you won't get that same magical experience renting a dress online. Whether you value sentiment or practicality more, it's up to you to give each of these pros and cons their own weight. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you view your wedding dress ROI — is the dress a greater symbol of a day you'll never forget that you'll treasure forever, or is it merely just something you'll only wear once and never again?

Where to Rent a Wedding Dress

If you've decided to rent, you can get started with these companies who are known for offering wedding dress or wedding accessory rentals. Browse through all of them and you just might find the dress of your dreams!

Borrowing Magnolia

Borrowing Magnolia lets you easily sort their extensive library of more than 700 pre-owned wedding dresses. You can sort by size, designer, fabric, or rental price. After selecting a dress to try it on, you pay $40 to have the garment shipped to you to try on in the privacy of your own home. You can more dresses to try on for an additional $29 each. Once you get the shipment you'll have five days to try them on and think it over. Find one you like? Great! Borrowing Magnolia also can accommodate most alteration requests, which is a big bonus if you're renting a dress. When it comes to actually getting the gown, you'll receive it a month before your wedding day. And, in addition to renting wedding dresses for a fraction of the cost, you can also buy them from Borrowing Magnolia at a steep discount.

Get the Gown

Find a wedding dress you love among the Get the Gown collection? You can order up to three dresses to be shipped to your home to try on. If you find the one, Get the Gown offers 7-day or 14-day wedding dress and accessory rentals. Among their collection are top bridal designers including Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Melissa Sweet. Get the Gown will also allow for alterations, but the request must be made in writing and approved. From there, Get the Gown will actually tailor the gown themselves before shipping it back to you. Brides are able to change their order at any time so long as the wedding dress has not yet been shipped out. The company also offers a small selection of veils and sashes.

One Night Affair

One Night Affair exclusively rents Galia Lahav wedding gowns beginning at $299. One Night Affair also rents evening gowns, cocktail dresses and mother-of-the-bride dresses. Southern California brides can make an appointment to try on the wedding dress rentals in the Los Angeles Galia Lahav showroom.

Adorn

In addition to renting your wedding gown, brides can also rent wedding jewelry and accessories.

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