Sunday, February 27, 2011
Has anyone else gotten rid of their wedding dress or contemplated it? What did you do with it? Any regrets? Sentimental clutter is hard for me to deal with. -- Maggie Sue, Unclutterer Forums
Questions like this come up all the time, and there's no one right answer. You may want to keep the dress, sell it, or donate it.
But some brides never need to ask this question - because they never bought a wedding dress. They rented it.
The New York Times points out that, in some parts of the world, this isn't a new idea. "Yoshiyuki Kohara, who works in Tokyo as director of the Asian market for the Association of Bridal Consultants, said that in Japan it has been common for 50 years to rent either a traditional kimono or a Western-style gown."
And now many more brides are deciding to save money by renting their gowns. "Why spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a wedding gown that you will wear for a couple of hours and then hang in a closet collecting dust for years?" asks One Stop Bridal in Ohio.
I'm seeing wedding dress rental sites far beyond the U.S. The photo above comes from Oceania Weddings in Australia; Ouijelevoeux does rentals in Montreal. In Paris you can rent a robe de mariée from Graine de Coton. [via Parisian Party] House of Arushi rents wedding gowns in Dubai. Update on Oct. 31, 2012: Oceania Weddings and House of Arushi seem to have disappeared.
A blogger on Weddingbee said her brother-in-law "got married a couple of years ago to a wonderful woman from Brazil. She wore a gorgeous dress that she rented in Brazil for less than $250! Apparently it is quite common for brides in Brazil to rent their dresses." And a commenter on that article said, "Renting is the norm for us Koreans."
And returning to the U.S., Gowns by Pamela, in Utah, specializes in renting modest wedding dresses.
If you want to go the rental route, you'll want to be clear on what services are provided - and do they cost extra, or are they included? For example: Will the shop make alterations - and if so, how extensive can they be? Are you expected to dry clean the dress before you return it, or does the shop take care of that? Does the rental also include items that go with the gown, such as petticoats?
And there are other important questions, too. For example: When are payments due? Are refunds available? How long is the rental period? What happens if the gown gets damaged?
For those who can find a good rental place - with a nice selection, good service, and reasonable policies - renting might be a perfect way to get a lovely gown. As Robin Callif says in The New York Times: "The guy should be forever. Not the dress."