Wedding Dress Hire: What You Need to Know
By Raashka Mannie

02 July 2019

Wedding dress hire. Wedding dresses are often the centrepiece of any wedding. Whether you’re after a traditional gown or something with a twist, they are a focal point of the ceremony and one of the first thoughts many brides have in the early stages of planning a wedding − and possibly before that.

There are many benefits to buying your own wedding dress, from the heirloom factor to the precious keepsake it may serve, but there are also a number of drawbacks to consider: it’s time-consuming to find or design the wedding dress, as well as getting it tailored and fitted so it looks perfect; it presents storage problems in the future and can end up simply collecting dust for a long, long time; and, most notably, it costs a lot.

Many brides opt in for what grooms have been doing for quite some time: hiring a wedding dress. Not only does this counter every issue that arises with buying or designing your own wedding dress, but has added benefits of being environmentally- and financially-friendly. In the past, families would pass down wedding dresses from one to the other as an heirloom for their coming wedding day. In modern times, this is far less likely as a result of ever-changing fashion trends. Lace and cathedral-length veils may be vogue one year and outdated the next. 

We’ve got 6 convincing reasons to consider hiring your wedding dress instead of buying it, along with a useful FAQ to address the most common concerns that brides have about wedding dress hire.

Image by Michael Anthony Photography

1/ Save your money

With a wide range of styles and sizes in a hire collection, you can opt to wear a designer dress at a fraction of the cost. On average, a wedding dress will cost north of $1,500, with designer brands being, at the very least, double or more. Designing and tailoring a wedding dress can range from anywhere from $1,000 to quintuple that amount, with extra services for time constraints, fittings and style changes. Hiring a wedding dress, however, usually exists comfortably below $1,000 − even when looking at some high-end brands. Alongside the dress itself, many hire collections also offer bridesmaids dresses and accessories such as shoes, jewellery and more. You can save anywhere from 30% of your wedding budget based off wedding dress hire alone.

2/ Save your planet

The resources used to make your dress can go to waste sitting in a wardrobe for years to come, so hiring your wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses makes you an environmental all-star! From water pollution to textile waste, there are a plethora of factors that come into play when considering how your custom wedding dress can harm the environment. When you think about the quantities of fabric, embellishments, and the time and effort that go into creating gorgeous wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses, hiring is a perfect way to reduce and reuse.

Image by Our Story Bridal

3/ Save your time

Finding a wedding dress means scouring stores and browsing through websites until something clicks − then, directly after that, it means fittings, adjustments and musing over whether you’ve made the right choice. Designing a custom wedding dress means working from scratch on top of all of those things. With wedding dress hire, it’s reduced to a few steps of setting your budget, browsing around for something you like and then hiring it. Hire collections can often add tiny customisations to your dress, whether it’s some extra pizazz or a diamanté detail, and can take as quickly as 1 week to complete any hem alterations or sizing adjustments.

4/ Save your space

When the wedding is done and dusted, the final slice of cake eaten and the honeymoon gone by, there comes the question of storing a wedding dress. Will it be stored amongst moth balls and boxes of childhood memories in the attic? Or should you try to sell it and make some of that money back? It’s understandable that some brides keep their wedding dresses as a memory to cherish, but many wedding dresses require special storage in order to remain undamaged and in its pristine state. With wedding dress hire, all you have to do is return the wedding dress and shake someone’s hand before going on your merry way.

Image by Renée Rodenkirchen

5/ Save your friends

From the bridesmaids’ point of view, a wedding can be incredibly costly. Buying a pretty dress for a single wedding can really put a dent in savings, but it’s generally what’s expected of a bridesmaid simply because they’re a bridesmaid. If you’re going to hire a wedding dress, it opens up the option for your bridesmaids to do the same. Hire collections usually give the option of hiring bridesmaids dresses and their related accessories, which makes planning a wedding all the simpler.

6/ Save the day

There are a lot of factors that come into play on a wedding day. Sometimes, even the best laid plans can fall off the tracks or turn out completely different because of a change of heart. If you’ve got a sudden whim to rework the theme of your wedding, or the date is moved to an entirely different season, or even if you end up deciding you don’t like your wedding dress at all, you can change it. Hiring a wedding dress means you’re not committed to a theme, season or dress that you may no longer want or like. It awards you flexibility and the ability to prepare for the unexpected, which is always a plus when planning a wedding.

Image by Hermione de Paula

Frequently Asked Questions

With all those benefits of hiring a wedding dress, it’s easy to see why the modern bride is often opting for it, but we’re sure you still have some questions. We’re here to shed some light on brides’ most common concerns when it comes to wedding dress hire.

1. What if I choose my wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses months in advance of the wedding, and then they suffer damage by other wearers during that time?

Hire collections allow room to plan for this. Many will offer an exclusive hire option, during which you can pay a little extra to keep your dress in storage to ensure that no one else wears it before your wedding day. Depending on the hire collection you contact, the dress can be held for up to 6 months.

2. What if I want my gown to look unique, not worn by so many other brides?

This depends on where you’re hiring your wedding dress from. At many hire collections, dresses are hired out a maximum of 3 to 5 times before they’re “retired” and replaced by new ones. This is because of wear and tear, but also to stop hundreds of brides from wearing similar dresses. There are also hire collections that are happy to slightly alter dresses to better reflect your personal taste.

3. Isn’t there a stigma attached to hiring a wedding gown or bridesmaid dresses?

No. In the past, there may have been, but times have changed and so have attitudes. With grooms and groomsmen hiring their suits/tuxes for the wedding being an entirely normal process, why should it be any different when it comes to a dress? However, if you really feel like you don’t want to share that you’ve hired your dress, there’s no need to. Who’s going to know?

Edited from an original article by Esther Dawson