Budget-Conscious Brides Can Save Hundreds By Renting Their Wedding Dresses

Chelsea Cone-Suarez tries on a wedding dress for fun at Lending Luxuries while searching for a dress to wear to a wedding in Tampa, Fla. Lending Luxuries does wedding dress rentals as well as dress rentals for other formal events. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Bridal gowns are a central element of any wedding.

They can also be a major budget buster.

Brides across America spend an average of $1,631 for a wedding gown, according to The Knot’s 2018 Real Weddings Study. That’s over five times the $283 grooms spend on average for their wedding day attire.

And then there’s always the question of what to do with a wedding dress afterward? If you’re planning to save it for the next generation, it could take up valuable storage space in your closet — and even still likely could be passed over for being out of style.

And you’ll probably have to shell out several hundred if you’re getting it professionally preserved, according to Brides.

Consider a Wedding Dress Rental for Your Big Day

Wedding dresses available for rental are displayed at Lending Luxuries in Tampa. Fla. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

A more economical approach may be to go the rental route. Grooms have long rented tuxedos, so why can’t brides rent their gowns? After all, it’s a dress likely to be worn only once.

You can check your local dress shops to see if they rent out bridal gowns. Stores specializing in black-tie attire or even prom dresses may have options you’d love for your wedding.

In Tampa, Florida, Lending Luxury rents bridal gowns for prices that are up to 80 to 90% off the retail price, co-owner Jennifer Rosen told The Penny Hoarder. The rental includes dry cleaning and insurance, and brides can rent the gowns for five-, 10- or 15-day periods.

“[Renting is] going to be more cost effective,” Rosen said. “Why spend three, four, five, six or 10 thousand dollars when you can rent something very similar for $80, $90 or $100?

“You could put that money towards something else, towards your honeymoon or a house,” she said.

Plus you’ll always have photos of you in your wedding dress, Rosen added.

If you can’t find a local shop renting wedding dresses, Rent the Runway caters to brides across the nation by shifting the dress selection process online.

The company has a variety of styles for brides to choose from with rental rates currently ranging from $30 to $400. The retail prices of that same selection of dresses range from $150 to $2,770. Sizes range from 0 to 22.

Pro Tip

Prone to spills? Most dress rentals will let you buy insurance to cover minor stains and damage. Rent the Runway charges $5 for its insurance.

Rent the Runway says brides get a free backup size when they place their rental order and those who desire an additional option can order a second dress in another style for $32.50.

Brides can rent their dresses for a four-day or eight-day time period. After the wedding, the renter just ships the dress back via UPS at no additional cost. The company charges a $50/day late fee if the item is not shipped back on time.

Rentals Are Not Just for Dresses

Vesnaandjic/Getty Images

A wedding ensemble isn’t complete without a few accessories. Luckily, brides on a budget can rent veils, headbands, belts and more at Happily Ever Borrowed for a four-day or eight-day period at rental rates about 20% of the retail price.

Brides who want to wear thousand-dollar diamond jewelry can rent pieces from Adorn at prices that start from under $100.

And if you just can’t get on board with renting items for your special day, here are some other cost-effective options for your wedding dress:

  1. Shop at a discount retailer, like TJ Maxx.

  2. Score a deal at a sample sale.

  3. Purchase a pre-owned dress.

  4. Tailor a gown passed down from a family member.

Need more ideas for finding a dress on a budget? Check out these tips from “Say Yes to the Dress.”

Rental and discount wedding dresses may not be for everybody, particularly a bridezilla a more finicky bride who wants to customize her dress down to the smallest detail. It also wouldn’t work for a woman who plans to save her dress as an heirloom.

But for a bride looking to cut costs so she isn’t paying back expenses from her big day for years, saving money on the wedding dress just might be the way to your happily ever after.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s never been a bride but has been a bridesmaid twice — and rented her gown for one of those occasions.