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Should I RENT my Wedding Gown or BUY my Bridal dress?

Updated on June 19, 2013

The Princess Bride on a Budget


The most exciting part of the wedding, for most brides, is wearing the perfect wedding dress on the wedding day.

We always dream about looking gorgeous in our swirling princess bride outfit and looking unforgettable in the eyes of our groom, our family & guests. This is most likely always the case no matter what type of wedding we are having or where is taking place. Women have dreamed and dreamed about this day.

The proposal was magical and a tear jerker but the planning is were all the "FUN" really happens.

The one thing no matter what else goes right or wrong in this whole wedding planning process is the "THE GOWN".

Usually if you are buying your wedding dress, you use it only for a couple of hours.

In today's economy is it truly savvy to spend $$$$$ on a dress that you will only wear for such a short period of time?

We all want the everlasting "Fairytale DAY" and the pictures to treasure those memories but are there other options?

Why can we women look like we just walked out of a designer's runway without having to sell a body part ?

Why do men get to look like GQ models on "OUR DAY" but they get to return their tux the day after the wedding?

There are three categories of the bridal gown shopping experience, according to Carley Roney of '' website. These are the most likely options that most brides research after they first become engage and announce it to the world.

1) Custom design or couture dress- This process could be a lot of fun!! "The Bride of Frankenstein" process, you painstakingly cut, print, different styles from different designers trying to come up with "YOUR DRESS". Now is the part of the search that gets even more exciting finding the right "QUALIFY" dressmaker and not your mom's friend. Someone who has years and years of experience in making dresses. OK, you found one. You go to a designer or dressmaker and get a dress designed and stitched from scratch. These are most expensive, starting from $2000 and UP!! The big question about this process is the end product. You gave your creative juices and worked with the dressmaker; took time in finding the right beading, fabric and all the ingredients needed for "YOUR DRESS". Will you be 200% satisfy with the end product? if you are than you should join the ranks of the some very famous couture designers.

2) Custom order dress - Now, the route most brides and their entourage walk down you go to a salon or store and try on a sample designer dress, available in sizes 8, 10, or 12 (OK??...what if you were an 18 or 20). After trying a zillion gowns, FINALLY!!! you cried, your mom cried and yes even your grandmother cried. Yes, you feel like you are in a reality T.V. show on TLC. You than start the next step you place an order and the gown itself only cost $$$$$. You walk out of the salon and you paid $$$$$ not even a pen to show all the $$$$$ you just charged your credit/debit account. oh well!! At least you are comforted by the lovely and very sassy funnny pictures in your gown that your entourage took of you while trying on the salon's sample. You than have to wait 3-6 months depending on who is designing this gown.

3) The ready-to-wear dress - You can buy off-the-rack and take it home immediately if no alterations are needed. These are least expensive and start at $100. Yes, you can go to every Bridal salon and check out their sample sale rack or go have fun by doing a running of a bride event. Those are fun!!... but you than run the risk of getting caught in the adrenaline rush of the other brides and could very easily make a decision on pure impulse and may regret your decision later or maybe not.

4) Online Shopping - You have tried on thousands of gowns but "The Dream Dress" happens to kill your wallet or you will have some explaining to do to your fiancé. So because now a days, we are able to buy a cute everyday dress from a great cheap online retailer, we may think this may work for us in this occasion. I would never recommend it but if you can do it and can have a great experience than KUDDOS!!

BUT ANYTHING can go wrong!!!

this is your wedding, you have been drooling over this since you started to play with Barbie dolls or before you could say "DADA". Is this really the time to be risky?

Chinese manufacturers are not the designer itself and it is obvious they do not use the same "QUALITY" materials as the original brand.

So why risk it? sometimes CHEAP becomes stressful & much more expensive at the end. You could end up with two gowns. Not counting the added stress.

There are other points that one must look at when purchasing a designer gown:

  • Alterations - The bridal boutique where you waited months on end to have your gown come in does not include the tailoring/alterations of your gown in the cost of the dress. So here we go weeks closer to the day a bride walks the down the aisle and piles and piles of financial stress keeps getting adding on. The gown, we fell in love with just happens to have fancy silk or very expensive hand sewn crystals so not only did the "Sexy Princess Bride Gown" cost over $1500 or $$$$$ but now there is an added fee of $200-$600 additional because we are too short and it needs to be hemmed, we need to add cups to the bust or figure a way to hide "the girls". So YES, alterations can get stressful and any bride can surely become a bridezilla at this point by everything else that is going on with the planning of this "fairy tale dream wedding".
  • Accessories - Bridal slip, shoes, undergaments, hair accessories, matching veil.

What do you do with this gorgeous princess gown after you say your I do's?

  1. well first you got a used gorgeous bridal gown that is "DIRTY" hanging in your closet. So to begin the after wedding process; you decide to have it preserved. That's more cost!! OUCH!! ok .. so the groom returned his Tux right? hmmmmm.... the cheapest gown preservation is going to keep tallying you up to $250 or maybe more depending where you take it to.
  2. could sit in a very pretty dainty quality sealed box only to be viewed as a collectible Barbie doll in a display case. So after, everything was said and done $1500 "The Gown", $350 alterations (you got lucky!), Bridal slip $59 (depends where you get it), and shoes and Bra. You could have easily meant to have a budget for $1,500 for the gown but it very quickly went over $2000.00 and it is sitting nicely to be displayed.
  3. Another option-is too quickly sell it. There are venues as Ebay and other sites but you never know how long and if you will even get 50% of the money you spend.
  4. You could be very traditional and sentimental and decide to save the gown nicely preserve for your daughter (a daughter who you do not have yet). If you and your husband have a daughter will she have the same enthusiasm and sentimentalism as you do for your wedding gown? There is truly no telling what will the bridal industry bring out 27 years from now so no guarantee what your little girl's taste be like.

There is one more option that more and more brides are becoming more receptive and open to the idea especially with how much a wedding can cost in today's age. Also, many couples have been hit very hard with the economy and they still want to have "That Especial and Magical Day" but they have to be very careful and practical with their money. So many bridal salons now rent wedding dresses and many of the accessories for a fraction of the purchase price.


A bride can have her perfect wedding and substantially cut her wedding budget cost by doing one thing: Renting her Designer Dream Bridal Gown. By renting, a bride will spend only about 30 percent of a gown's retail price or less. The bride picks up the wedding dress before the wedding and returns it to the shop after the wedding.

Renting a wedding gown offers several benefits if a bride follows a few basic steps:

  • She should carefully examine her dress to ensure that it is what she has been looking for and it has not been damaged.
  • Reserve the Bridal Dress EARLY and read the rental agreement to make sure you are comfortable with everything.
  • If she has any questions, it is best for her to address them than have that added stress later as she comes closer to her date. Communication is always KEY.


  • The biggest benefit of renting a bridal gown is the savings. The bride pays less for her bridal dress than she would if she were buying it, leaving money for other parts of the wedding. Also, by renting, the bride might be able to wear a gown that would have been beyond her financial dreams if she were to buy it. It is very possible to rent designer gowns. As a bonus, some rental bridal salons offer package deals in which the dress, alterations, veil, slip and cleaning of the gown are included in the price.

Perfect Fit

  • When renting a gown, the bride does not have to worry about special ordering one that fits her or the additional costs of alterations. The shops will have the gown in several different sizes. Furthermore, she can relax if she gains or loses a little weight from wedding planning stress. Rental Bridal Salons may carry the same gown in a variety of sizes, especially those that are popular. If the bride's specific gown does not happen to be available in another size, the rental shop likely will have a similar gown in her new size. Plus, some rental salons include FREE alterations in their rental packages.


  • Another advantage of renting a bridal gown is the bride doesn't have to take care of it for the rest of her life. First, she saves the cost of preserving the gown. Second, she doesn't have to find a place to store it. This is especially important if the bride is moving to a home with limited closet space. Most wedding gowns take up a lot of space, and if there isn't enough, it will be crushed. The bride just returns it to the Rental Salon where she rent it from.


  • One of the downsides of renting a wedding dress is that you have to return the dress after the wedding and cannot pass it on to one of your future children. Because you have to return the dress, you also must be extra careful while you are wearing the dress. If you damage the dress, you pay for the damage or purchase the dress.


  • When selecting a wedding dress rental shop, ask about alterations. Some shops allow you to alter the dress before the wedding, but others require that you wear the dress as is. Ask how many days you can pick the dress up before the wedding and when you must have it returned by. Verify any deposits required or damage fees before signing a rental contract. If you are leaving from the reception to your honeymoon, make arrangements for a friend or family member to return the dress.


  • Many people think that wedding dresses available for rent are used, dingy, old designs from 30 years ago. Some shops rent new wedding dresses to brides and then sell the dresses as used dresses and some donate their used gowns to several non-profit orgs. People often think that only low end dresses are available for rent. However, many high end designer dresses are available in rental bridal shops.

These are some Wedding Rental Bridal links that may help: - Los Angeles, California - Columbia, Maryland

but do your research and check out what is in your area close to you.

So ALWAYS CONTACT YOUR LOCAL RENTAL BRIDAL SHOP AND JUST INQUIRE!!... They may have your dress or something even better than the $$$$$ hungry bridal gown dress you tried on and now you are losing sleep over trying to figure out how to re-do your wedding budget to make sure you can get "THE DRESS".

As today's savvy Bride you have to look into ALL your options that are out there and whether is renting or purchasing your "Fairytale Wedding Dress", you have to be happy with the memories that "YOUR" special day will leave behind.


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