How I Wear Killer Designer Dresses to Weddings (Without Spending a Fortune)

rent the runway
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

Love is in the air!

And as a hopeless romantic, I couldn’t be happier about it.

But, with six weddings to attend this summer, my bank account is not quite as stoked.

As much as I hate spending money on clothes I’ll only wear once, I really love showing up to such joyous (and well-photographed) events in a killer new dress.

Which is why I’m absolutely obsessed with Rent the Runway, a site that lets you rent designer dresses at a fraction of their cost. (Think: a $725 dress for $40.)

Though I think membership is valuable year-round, it’s especially wonderful during wedding season.

Here’s what you need to know…

Say Hi to Rent the Runway, My Secret Weapon

That's me, in the red!
That’s me, in the red!

On Rent the Runway (RTR), you can rent thousands of dresses from more than 300 well-known designers.

Here are four reasons it’s become my go-to for formalwear:

1. You Can Quickly Filter Results

RTR’s powerful search function allows you to only browse dresses you can afford.

I usually set the max price to $40 (for a four-day rental) and still get plenty of results.

You can further filter your results with 11 different categories, including formality, occasion, length, body type and other factors.

Since you can fine-tune your search until only a limited number of dresses appear, it’s perfect for people like me who hate both shopping and making decisions.

2. The Reviews are Super Helpful

You can sort reviews and photos by body size, so you can see the dresses on people who actually look like you — not some 5-foot-10, only-eats-liquids model.

And just in case you get your size wrong, RTR sends a free backup size with each order.

3. Shipping and Insurance are Easy

Shipping for a rented dress costs $9.95 both ways, plus $5 for insurance for stains and tears.

Or, if you’re a PRO member like me — which costs $29.95 per year — shipping and insurance are included.

With PRO membership, you also get a $50 rental credit during your birthday month.

4. It Offers a “Love Your Look Promise”

In my two years using the site, I’ve experienced nothing but amazing customer service.

RTR reps are quick and eager to help. For example, if you don’t like your dress, they overnight you another style (or several) at no extra cost.

Though renting a dress for $40 may sound expensive when compared to buying something off the sale rack for $20, remember: These are designer dresses.

Most of the dresses I’ve rented are worth $300 to $600 or more — and look like it.

...even while wearing a jacket and running pup patrol.
…even while wearing a jacket and running pup patrol.

The fit, quality, the way they make me feel; to me, it’s absolutely been worth it.

Want to learn more? Click here and use code FIRSTRTR20P to get 20% off your first order!

Your Turn: Have you ever used Rent the Runway?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. We would have shared them with you anyway, but a true “penny hoarder” would be a fool not to take the company’s money. 🙂

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.