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Should You Buy or Rent Your Wedding Dress? We Help You Decide

Should You Buy or Rent Your Wedding Dress?
The prices of wedding dresses often have brides-to-be gawking. Hence, more and more are opting to rent their dresses than spend a huge amount on it. But how practical is this really? Won't you want your very own dress for your big day? The debate continues ...
Sujata Iyer
Last Updated: Mar 4, 2018
Can't choose between buying or renting? Opt to buy a pre-owned dress instead. You won't spend a bomb, and you're free to do whatever you want with it after the wedding.
Today's breed of pragmatic and money-minded brides is constantly on the lookout for ways to have a fabulous wedding without it costing the earth and a half. A wedding dress is one of the most expensive items on the wedding budget of any bride-to-be. However, it doesn't have to be so any more. Ever thought of renting a wedding dress instead of buying one? Or will sentiment get the better of you and lead to a really expensive purchase? Wedessence lays before you the pros and cons of renting and buying a wedding dress. Go through what each option offers and does not, and make your choice.
Why Renting Makes Sense
A few years back, no bride would have thought that hiring a dress for her wedding was even an option. She would have shuddered at the thought of wearing a gown that was worn by probably more than 3 brides already. Oh the horror! But today, she'll consider it with an open mind. Here's why.
Can be extremely cost-effective
It's not just wedding dresses, everything around us is becoming more and more expensive with every passing day. So, it only makes sense to save wherever you can. A rented wedding dress can help save a lot of (very valuable) bucks off your wedding budget. You can channel the money you save towards buying a new home, your honeymoon, or anything else you want to. Renting makes designer wedding dresses more affordable as the cost can go down to almost a tenth of what it retails at. There is generally a hefty security and damage deposit that rentals will charge, but it's worth it when you get it all back.
Does not need storage post-wedding
Women packing suitcase
Apart from the cost, the other bonus that a rented wedding dress offers is the relief from finding an appropriate and safe storage space for it. If you're one who's constantly on the move, lugging around a huge box with a dress that you'll never wear again seems like an unnecessary and totally avoidable inconvenience, doesn't it?
Why Renting Doesn't Make Sense
Though renting may seem like a wonderful option to you right now, pay heed to the following to understand why you should think twice before you rent.
Can have a very limited selection
Choosing wedding dress
This is probably the biggest drawback that rented dresses may have. Though most rentals are brimming with all the latest designs and designers, it does fall short. Hence, chances are that even if you decide to rent, you might not find the dress.
Can pose a lot of restrictions
Woman customer paying
Because you will be returning the dress and someone else may wear it again, there are a lot of precautionary measures that the rental store will ask you to take. The first and probably the most heartbreaking one to deal with is limited alteration possibilities. You cannot modify the look of the dress as you please. Some rentals might not permit even slight alteration. In such cases, if you find your dream dress but in a size that doesn't fit you, would you rent another or go check if you can find one to buy? Most rental stores will charge you a pricey deposit when you rent the dress and for very obvious reasons. If the dress is damaged at the time of return, it comes straight out of the deposit. If the dress is damaged beyond repair, you might end up having to buy the dress. All that money you planned to use for your honeymoon goes down the drain. Not that being careful with your dress is difficult, but honestly, would you really want something as mundane as a wine spill to be on your mind throughout your big day?
Why Buying Makes Sense
Here's the lowdown on why buying a wedding dress is preferred by most brides.
Has wider selections
Choose dress in bridal store
The market for wedding gowns is never going to die down. There are always going to be fabulous designers designing fabulous gowns for fabulous brides to wear. So, the range and variety that buying a wedding dress offers cannot be matched by renting at all. And it does not necessarily have to be too expensive. There are loads of stores and websites that offer great prices on wedding dresses. You have to be resourceful enough to find them.
Can be altered to perfection
Wedding dress fitting
The biggest bonus of buying a wedding dress is that you can buy the dress of your dreams in a whole size bigger than you and have it altered to perfection. Add or remove whatever embellishments you want or don't want; the dress is yours, so you can do whatever you want with it.
Can be handled with (lesser) care
Pretty running bride
The dress is yours. If your drunk cousin does manage to spill a glass of red wine on it, it's your problem, and you can solve it in the manner most suitable to you. You don't have a second party to answer to. The cost of cleaning up a wine spill will definitely be lesser than a security deposit or a whole new gown, won't it? What we mean is that you have one less thing to worry about because you own the dress and can handle it in any manner you wish to.
Can be passed down to your daughter
Girl in wedding dress
Most brides buy a dress for the sentiment of it. Wearing something beautiful on the happiest day of your life is something that any bride wants, and being able to pass that on to your daughter is one of the most cherished sentiments for a mother. But fashion changes, and what if your daughter won't wear the dress? Well, for one, because it's your dress, it can be modified in awesome ways to fit in with the trend (whatever that may be at the time). Cut it short, get rid of the sleeves, dye it another color―there are loads of things that can be done to transform your wedding dress into something more contemporary. She can always use just the parts that she wants from it, some lace from the waist, or some rhinestones from the neck perhaps. She will need her something old, won't she? Even if she doesn't, you always have the option of selling it.
Why Buying Doesn't Make Sense
Buying a wedding dress comes with its share of pitfalls. Here are some of the most important ones.
Can occupy valuable storage space
Wedding dress in box
Let's admit that all of us would love the idea of having a little bit more space at home. With the rapidly shrinking sizes of homes, every square inch of storage space is precious. Now imagine that big box holding your wedding dress occupying the space you could easily use for something that you intend to use more frequently.
Will (almost) never be worn by you again
Unless you're planning to renew your vows every 5 years (tentatively), are you ever going to wear your wedding dress again? No, right? Then doesn't it make more sense not to have it for all those years?
Renting or buying a wedding dress is a personal choice. While most conventional brides will go for buying, more practical ones will pick renting one. It all depends on what will make the decision for you: the money or your heart.
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