In the last couple of years, one bridal trend that has really taken off is wedding dress hire.
Bridal trends from yesteryear typically included acquiring the wedding gown permanently, which usually happened in one of two ways: purchasing it or having it handed down as an heirloom by the mother of the bride/groom.
Fast forward a few decades and it’s all about wedding gown rental. Here’s what to consider when hiring your dress.
Read More: Scottish Wedding Dresses: Designers & Ideas
Wedding Dress Hire: 5 Things to Know
Hiring a wedding dress may not be the right option for every bride – including you. Here’s what to consider:
The process is mostly done online
You may find that most wedding dress hire services operate online, meaning there isn’t a showroom or boutique to try the dress on in.
You will need to give yourself plenty of time to source your dress to make sure you’re happy with the size and feel. Many companies may have an alteration service to make any necessary nips and tucks to the gown, but others may refuse alteration full-stop.
When trying out dresses via online companies, be sure to opt for trying different sizes of your dress/dresses of choice in case you feel comfortable opting for a size higher or lower than your standard dress size.
Try before you... rent
It’s wise to sniff out a local bridal boutique to spend an afternoon trying on dresses to get a feel for the style you’re comfortable in. This will make the hiring process much quicker and smoother because when it comes time to rent your gown, you’ll likely get it right the first time.
Be mindful of damages
The dress you hire is your responsibility, which means being super mindful of not spilling anything on it or damaging it in any way.
Weddings – especially once the wine or champers start flowing – can be danger zones for spillages and other incidents that may mark or mar your dress.
This should be kept in mind, particularly for outdoor weddings, weddings that serve red wine or high-staining foods, if you plan on wearing lipstick or make-up, and of course, any tipsy trips to the bathroom!
Any irrevocable damage to your gown may mean you forfeit your deposit, so bear this in mind.
Customisation is unlikely
A woman’s figure is as unique as a snowflake, which can sometimes make the process of finding clothing that looks and feels right difficult.
One of the reasons many brides opt to buy a wedding dress is so that it is fully theirs to customise as they please.
You may find a wedding dress hire company that will allow for temporary alterations (be wary that this may just be with pins), but it’s unlikely you’ll find one that allows major alterations.
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Outfits for everyone
One of the great things about hiring your wedding dress from a rental company is the likelihood of being able to get ALL wedding outfits and accessories from them. This includes bridesmaids’ dresses, flower girl dresses, and the mother-of-the-bride outfit.
You can also opt to rent all of your accessories too, such as veils, capes, shoes, jewellery, trains, etc., which can be super cost-effective.
Wedding Dress Rental: The Best Options in the UK
Okay, so if you are a UK-based bride, or you are a non-native planning a UK wedding or elopement, here are some of the wedding dress hire options available:
Lovers of haute couture fashion will be enamoured with everything that Atelier Tamman has to offer, which even includes a bespoke hiring service for wedding gowns.
Many brides love to opt for the bespoke route because it allows them to get creative and unique with their gown, as well as make sure the dress fits perfectly.
As a lend and rent service, By Rotation has become a hugely successful and popular wedding dress hire company since its conception in 2019, and is loved for its plethora of non-traditional/non-white dresses.
As well as the wedding dress (which includes designer) of your dreams, By Rotation also offers accessories, shoes, bags, and more. It works in a community-based manner and is a friendly, sustainable, fashion-focused brand.
The Bridal Gallery
This London-based company specialises in all things bridal, including accessories, and has such a vast range of wedding dresses, you’re likely to find everything you need for your wedding outfit all under one roof.
Because of their wedding dress hire service, you can find the dress of your dreams at a budget cost.
Arguably the most well-known of wedding dress hire places in the UK, The Devout is a monthly rental subscription service that predominantly caters to lovers of sustainable fashion.
These memberships allow you to hire incredible dresses and accessories for peanuts in comparison to what you’d pay if you bought a wedding dress. Subscriptions start at as little as £39 a month.
Girl Meets Dress
If a designer dress (think Stella McCartney, Suzannah, and Self Portrait) is a must for your big day, Girl Meets Dress allows you to find your ultimate big-name dress for a fraction of the cost.
And it’s not just brides that are catered to. Wedding guests can also pick out an outfit to celebrate your big day.
For brides who like to see their gown in the flesh first, Girl Meets Dress has a Fulham-based showroom.
Hurr is unique insofar as it allows you to be both a borrower or borrowee, and while it doesn’t have a section exclusively dedicated to bridal attire yet, many lenders are uploading their wedding dresses or wedding dress-style outfits for hire.
Because of how Hurr works, you can find dresses that are designer, indie, handmade, or vintage – whatever your preference. Oh, and dress hire starts at as little as £15 a pop!
Something Borrowed focuses on wedding dress hire and resale of both bridal gowns and bridesmaids’ dresses, making it a sustainable and waste-reducing brand.
As for the dresses themselves, you can opt for the two-day try-at-home service, which allows you to choose up to three dresses to try out in the comfort of your own home (for a cost of £75), making the dress-seeking process quick and simple.
Selfridges has long been known for providing chic, fashionable clothing, and despite the age of the brand (fun fact: Selfridges dates all the way back to 1909!), they’re very much keeping up with the Joneses when it comes to trends.
Although Selfridges’ rental service isn’t exclusively wedding-focused, it will more than likely hold wedding outfits (including sparkly white dresses) for the bride who wishes to ever-so-slightly deviate from tradition.
Pros & Cons of Wedding Dress Hire
As with, well, virtually everything, there are pros and cons to wedding dress hire, so before you make your final decision, weigh out the yays and nays.
Pros of Wedding Dress Hire
● It is a SUPER cost-effective way to get a killer wedding dress without having to pay the big bucks you would when buying one.
● It is a more sustainable, eco-friendly approach to dress-finding.
● You won’t have the challenge of storing, preserving, and dry-cleaning your dress after
your big day. Simply return it and the company will take care of that.
Cons of Wedding Dress Hire
● If you’re a picky shopper or dresser, this could be a limiting option, as it could mean the dress of your dreams (and your size) may not be available for your big day.
● While you can get insurance to cover any smaller damages or stains to the dress, bigger or more significant damage may come at a hefty cost.
● It’s very easy for us gals to fall in love with a beautiful dress, and if that’s the case with your wedding gown, saying goodbye to it after use may be difficult!
Wedding Dress Hire: FAQs
The wedding dress hire cost can radically vary, but you’re typically looking at a minimum of £250 which can go up to £600 (or more), depending on where you source your rental dress, and for how long you wish to rent the dress.
Absolutely. There are plenty of places in the UK to hire your gown, including the companies referenced in this blog.
The process of renting your bridal gown isn’t that dissimilar from buying one. You simply browse the rental options available, try on as many dresses as you see fit until you find the right one for you, and put down a deposit.
Once your big day approaches, you will receive your gown in the post, pressed and ready to be worn, and you will then return it after use.