Sunday, February 27, 2011

1 Way to Avoid Future De-Cluttering Decisions: Rent the Wedding Gown

wedding gown

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."


Anonymous said...

It would have cost me twice as much ($595) to hire a dress than to have my dress made ($225). Sure, it wasn't my dream dress - it wasn't even white/ivory - but it was lovely, even if, 12 years later, it is still hanging in my closet...if I could find a competent dressmaker locally, I'd get it remodelled and wear it again.

Bárbara Dayrell said...

I come from Brazil and it really is common to rent the wedding dress. If you choose one from the store, it costs like 1/4 of the price of a new one. If you get it made in the style of your choice, but don't keep it, and the store can rent it to other brides, it costs about a half of the price, and you still get to wear the dress of your choice, made for you. I didn't wear a rented dress on my wedding, but my godmother's wedding gown, witch really was cluttering her closet, but she saved it for me, and that's the nice part of keeping your own dress... That's something to ponder about. But I did rent my brides made dresses!!! (another great idea)

MarySees said...

I think it is a great idea, as long as it is not more expensive than buying.

Barbara, it is wonderful that the bridesmaid dresses could be rented, too. I was a bridesmaid 3 times, and I don't believe I ever wore any of the dresses again.

Jeri Dansky said...

Anonymous, it sounds like having the dress made was a good decision for you. Renting certainly isn't for everyone. I've seen a huge range in rental prices, varying based on things like location, the specific dresses being rented, and the services included.

Jeri Dansky said...

Bárbara, how nice to see a reader/commenter from Brazil! Thank you for sharing how things work in Brazil, and your own experience.

And thank you for mentioning bridesmaid dresses, They can be rented here, too - and given how many women have the same experience as MarySees, renting sounds like an option worth considering.

Marcie Lovett said...

Great conversation, Jeri. If grooms can rent a tuxedo, why can't brides rent a gown? For those who have been in a wedding party, the idea of renting a bridesmaid's gown sounds even better.

JustGail said...

I like the renting idea.

As to my dress, I still have it - in a box in the attic. Even if we should ever decide to do the vow renewal thing, there's NO way I'd ever be that size again. As for giving it away, it's old enough that it's not in fashion and the attic probably hasn't done it any favors. The bigger issue is my Mom's feelings, since she made it. Maybe someday - it's not taking up space in a closet, so no hurry.

Anonymous said...

I have also known people who loaned their dress to other family members or friends. I personally have used parts of a friend's wedding dress to make a keepsake pillow. That could also be a good hand me down... a ring pillow for another wedding made from a family heirloom that has a stain, or is the wrong size or style, but beautiful material.