How to rent a wedding dress and the etiquette behind bridal rentals

illustration of wedding dress on floral background

Weddings are expensive. 

There’s the catering, the venue and the entertainment to take into account and, of course, the all-important dress. 

According to a Hitched survey, the average bride will splash out around £1,321 on their wedding dress – which is a lot of money for something that’s only worn for a single day. 

It’s hardly surprising then that renting a wedding dress is a trend that’s becoming more and more popular. After all, you get the dress of your dreams with a significant discount – you just have to return it once it’s served its purpose. 

When she married Boris Johnson this weekend, it’s reported that Carrie Symonds saved thousands on her wedding dress by renting it for just £45 from MyWardrobeHQ.

Over the past few years, fashion rentals have soared in popularity, as people want to keep up with the latest trends but not break the bank with new pieces.

A wedding, therefore, seems like the perfect time to consider a rental option.

After all, the end result is the same. A bride still gets their dream dress – just at a fraction of the cost. 

It’s a win, win really. 

MyWardrobeHQ’s CEO Jane Shepherdson previously told Marie Claire: ‘The world is changing, weddings have now been down-sized to small gatherings. 

‘Renting a gown will appeal to brides as it significantly reduces the cost of the overall wedding day.’

How to rent a wedding dress

Do your research

When it comes to renting, a good place to start is to do some research into the chosen retailer – mainly for customer reviews and for more information on sizing.

This also allows you to take some time to look at the different prices and see how much each piece costs to rent by the day. Prices on MyWardrboeHQ, for example, start from just £5 per day. 

If you have chosen designers in mind, lots of retailers let you filter the options – to make the process a lot less overwhelming. 

Another perk to renting is that you can try it on and send it back if it’s not for you.

This lack of commitment takes the pressure off dress-hunting. You may have to pay a fee for the swap, but it’s worth it to get the right one in the end.

Order with plenty of time 

Most sites will send your order within a specific time window. However, it’s a good idea to have plenty of lead time in the days before your wedding, so you can try it on an be absolutely certain.

Some stores will also send two sizes with every order, so you have more of a chance at a perfect fit. 

Look out for additional fees

It’s also worth pointing out that there may be additional charges to be aware of, including shipping, insurance and late fees. 

What’s the etiquette behind bridal rentals?

Every site has different rules and requirements for renting, but most simply ask you to select your dress, make the order, wear the garment and return it.

It also might be an idea to get it pressed before you wear it – depending on how much creasing occurs in transit.

However, one positive of renting a wedding dress is that you don’t have to worry about dry cleaning it after the big day, or preserving it as the months go on.

Rental companies usually include dry cleaning with the service – so just send it back when you’re done.

However, if you get a little rowdy and haphazard on your special day – and cause damage to the dress as a result – you’ll have to pay for any stains or tears. 

Wedding guests can do the same

It’s not just a brides that can rent dresses for weddings.

Guests or even members of the bridal party can also choose to rent their own gowns from websites.

There are a plethora of outfits to choose and the same rules apply as wedding dresses.

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