Long before I became engaged, I spent hours imagining the aspects of my wedding. I knew what my bouquet, dress and hair would look like. But like every girl, I grew up. My “dream wedding” changed. Most notably, I changed my choice of dress. It began as an elaborate white gown but evolved into a green Renaissance-inspired piece. Then back to white, to off-white, and so on. I even considered a pantsuit, which is becoming more popular. No matter what kind of outfit you choose, there are three main opportunities available to you.
In traditional families, many brides inherit heirloom dresses. I have seen many classic gowns that have been altered to fit the current wearer’s style. I have always loved the sentiment involved in this practice. It also has a financial benefit. The only cost the bride incurs is that of alterations.
Of course, most wedding dresses are purchased new. They are clean and free from tears and other defects that might increase an alteration bill. However, the price of a new wedding gown, even from a small boutique, is often in the thousands of dollars. I was fortunate to live in a small town where prices are often lower. My dress was purchased on sale – half price – for seven hundred dollars.
Before buying, I looked at rental dresses. Many shops, including the one I chose, offer previously worn dresses. My source offered these dresses at a set price. They could be reserved for up to a month, and altered by the tailor of the owner’s choosing. However, I soon learned that renting wasn’t much less expensive than buying outright. Some of the dresses had small stains and snags that had been overlooked. But most of them were beautiful and in like-new condition.
The option that you choose depends on many factors. If your family has a tradition of passing wedding dresses on to the next generation, obviously that will heavily influence your decision. Otherwise, both renting and buying are viable options. If you hope to pass your own dress on to your daughter, niece or cousin… or if you’d like to keep it stored for sentimental reasons, renting will not do.
However, I encourage you to consider all options before making a choice. Each of these possibilities is viable, and you may be surprised at what delights you most. I had not intended to purchase my dress. But like my spouse, it fell perfectly into my life. Yours will too.