Between renting or buying, which is the right choice for you? You spot a gorgeous dress and immediately fall in love. And then the price tag hits your eyeballs like a ton of bricks. Can that even be right?! Yep, designer gowns are priced for their incredible quality materials and impeccable master craftsmanship. All of that doesn’t mean you can never afford the gown, it may just mean you will need to rent it for a special occasion or get it gently used! This goes for wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, cocktail dresses, summer dresses, even men’s tuxes and suits.
Personally, I think that renting is an excellent option as you get the original designer item in nearly new condition (they’re always dry cleaned between each renter) but at a fraction of the cost! My favorite rental companies allow you to choose multiple sizes so that you always have a perfect fit, or will overnight you a new size if necessary. And it’s not just the gowns you can rent, you can get purses, accessories, you name it! They arrive a couple days prior to your event and then you have some padding after the event to ship it back to the company too.
If you’d rather spend money to own a gown or accessory but can’t afford the original price tag, there are plenty of ways to hopefully get your hands on it anyway. Numerous shops have popped up in recent years that curate beautiful collections of items likely only worn once that are now steeply discounted. This is also a really great option for those who have splurged on items and want to resell them after their event is over. The biggest tip I’ll give is that patience and persistence are key if you’re looking for a particular type of dress, designer, or style.
I’ll be honest here, I purchased a custom veil and then resold it and recouped nearly the entire cost (we already have an antique veil in the family, didn’t think we’d need another). Below I’ve listed all of my favorite places to rent, resell or purchase gently used, most of which have tried by yours truly just for your benefit! And check out this article on Oprah’s website, she’s got a few other handy tips!
image courtesy of Rent the Runway
The Ladies Shops:
Rent the Runway www.renttherunway.com – this is a one stop shop since they always stock the hottest trending items as well as many lovely classics and range from gowns to casual attire to accessories and beyond. You can even try on styles in one of their brick & mortar stores if you want!
Lending Luxury www.lendingluxury.com – this site is a little less navigable than RTR, but they’ve got the luxury designer gown selection to make up for it!
Happily Ever Borrowed www.happilyeverborrowed.com – this is the most comprehensive accessory shop I’ve come across, you’re sure to find a gorgeous accessory to rent.
Bag Borrow or Steal www.bagborroworsteal.com – got your eye on a designer handbag? Then this is the place for you! You can rent or purchase at insane discounts.
image courtesy of The Black Tux
The Mens Shops:
The Black Tux www.theblacktux.com – this is my personal favorite because of their clean and easy to use website, not to mention their suits and tuxes to take any guy from “wow” to “MEOW” (…did I just say that?!)
Weddington Way Rentals www.weddingtonway.com/men – these suits and tuxes will make any man look fly! Just forewarning, all their male models look like Ken dolls.
Menguin www.menguin.com – you guessed it, the traditional penguin suit is where they get their charming name. But they have so much more than just penguin suits!!
image courtesy of Nearly Newlywed
The Resale Shops:
Tradesy www.tradesy.com – this shop has designer and mid-range items available for purchase at discounted prices. They’ve got a wedding specific section too but primarily have non-wedding items.
Nearly Newlywed www.nearlynewlywed.com – this boutique shop’s sole focus is on wedding gowns. They’ve got an abundant amount of information on each dress so you’re sure to find just the right one.
Once Wed www.oncewed.com – this elegant wedding-specific shop resells pretty much any dress style by any designer you can think of! Plus, they’re so much more than a resale shop, so check out everything else they offer.
So have fun! Go crazy! You can rent for some occasions, buy for your own for others, and even resell if the price is right!