Wedding Dress 101: Should You Buy or Rent?

wedding dresses

Your big day is fast approaching, and there is so much to be done in order to make sure it’s perfect. As every soon-to-be bride knows, the dress is one of the most important components of the day. In fact, for a lot of brides, the day you say “yes” to the dress is almost as big as the wedding day itself.

There are many questions to ask yourself before picking out the perfect gown. Among some of the more important questions is whether you should buy or rent your gown. Certainly there are pros and cons to both, but we’re here to talk you through all of your options to guarantee you make the right decision for you.

Buying a Wedding Dress

Countryside style bride holding a bowl and a wooden spoon

It goes without saying that are plenty of pros to buying your own wedding dress. Your wedding day is going to be the most memorable days of your entire life. True, you will have the pictures to remember it, but your dress can be a particularly special memento to remind you of that magical day. You also will get the satisfaction of knowing that nobody else wore that gown before you. That dress is yours — all yours — and you were the one person who got to wear it and create all those lasting memories.

Plus, brides who own their dresses will often pass down their gowns to daughters, granddaughters, nieces, or friends as heirlooms. Many of these young ladies will want to wear it at their own weddings.

Of course, there’s always a flip side. This might be pretty obvious to you all, but wedding gowns can be expensive. Depending on your budget, wedding dresses can range anywhere from $500 to $50,000. For some, that is the entire budget of the wedding, leaving hardly a penny to spend on catering. Not only can the actual price of the dress be high, but also every alteration stitch is another expense added to the bill. By the time you add in the accessories, the veil, the sash, and the shoes, you’ve accessorized yourself into kissing that chocolate fountain goodbye. Of course, the dress can always be worked into your budget, but you may have to cut corners in other areas or make other compromises on what you really want. Designer dresses may be just a dream to you and never a reality if you choose to buy rather than rent.

Then again, while your dress may be expensive, if you own yours, you have the option of renting out your dress to other brides for a small fee, which could eventually pay off the cost of the gown.

Renting a Wedding Dress

designer wedding dress

If you’re looking to save money in the wedding gown department — whether to spend it elsewhere in the wedding or to use the extra cash for a down payment on a house — then renting your dress may be the way to go. While it may seem uninspiring to wear a secondhand dress on such a special day, don’t turn your nose up at it just yet.

There are many misconceptions on renting a dress, which may turn off many promising customers. Many believe that you cannot alter your rented dress, which is simply not true.

Quite often, your alterations are priced right into the rental of the gown and will not add any additional charges. Stores and boutiques that rent out dresses go through a very thorough cleaning process for each gown. Their goal is to ensure that each dress is in impeccable condition before it moves onto the next bride. You should never have to worry that your dress is going to be dirty or torn up. However, it is important to note that even though these wedding dress shops care for their dresses between clients, normal wear and tear is common. So, any guests paying extra close attention may notice that your dress is not brand new.

Alternatively, if you’ve been dreaming of a designer gown but don’t have the budget to accommodate it, renting is your answer. Rather than spending the $30,000 on a designer gown you’ll only wear once, why not rent it for that night and pay half the price, or maybe even less? It certainly is something to think about.

While most of the cons to renting a dress are obvious, it is important not to forget about them while you make your decision. First of all, mistakes happen. Imagine showing up to pick up your gown and finding out that through some mix up your perfect dress is on another bride. That could be disastrous to your wedding day! While not a common occurrence, it could happen.

Additionally, renting a dress means you won’t have a gown that is fresh, new, and unique to you. Other brides will have worn that exact same gown before you, taking away from some of the the individuality that you were searching for on your wedding day. (Although, people buy the same dresses all the time to wear, so this might be a moot point for some.)

Choosing What’s Best for Your Bridal Style and Budget

wedding dress

As you can see, there are several pros and cons to buying and renting. There is not one option that outweighs the other in terms of which is better. It really depends on you: the bride. What will your budget will allow? What are you looking for in a dress? What are your priorities on your wedding day? There is no wrong answer, so listen to your heart and be sure to follow what it tells you. This is one of the most important days of your life, and you should do everything to make sure it is exactly what you and your fiance are dreaming of.

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