Wedding Dress Tips

Is it cheaper to rent a wedding dress?

Fact: Wedding dresses aren't cheap. Generally costing at least four figures (sometimes more), the price of a gown sounds even more expensive when you consider that you'll only be wearing it once in your life (unless you get creative, of course). At this point, a bride might wonder, is it worth the cost? Should I rent a dress instead? Well, bride-to-be, there are both pros and cons to that idea. Let's narrow down the decision-making process, shall we?

Many brides say "yes" to buying a bridal gown, but some are skipping the lifetime commitment to a dress they'll wear once. Let's break down the ins and outs of wedding dress rentals to help you decide if renting a wedding dress is the right move for you.

Since you only get to wear a wedding dress once in your life, there is a dilemma of whether you should buy it or maybe rent it. We decided to dive into the problem, and here is what we think about the two possibilities.


When it comes to buying a wedding dress, you can either find one in a bridal store, or you can have a tailor or a designer make it especially for you. There are an endless number of wedding gown pictures online, and even if you don't have a picture to show, you can always express your ideas to the designers and get your dream wedding gown.

The good thing about buying or designing your dress is that you already know that it will fit you perfectly. Everything will be made before the wedding day, and the designer can make embellishments and accessories after your desire. While you wait for your gown to be made, you can find shoes and jewellery in the meantime, and the dress will hang in your closet for the rest of your life.

The bad thing about buying a dress is the price. You might end up paying slightly over then you originally wanted to give for a wedding dress, that you only get to wear once in your life. Also, when you design it, you have to go through endless fitting to make sure that that is the dress you want and to make sure you look flawless in it. And even though you get to keep the dress for the rest of your life, it can cause some trouble in your wardrobe, as it will most likely take too much space, and you won't be able to fit anything else in your closet.

When you choose to buy your wedding dress, you can go with either an off-the-rack gown or have a dress personally made for you. In SA we have a host of amazing wedding dress designers for you to choose from. And our local Bridal Boutiques offer imported dresses from renowned overseas designers. You are spoilt for choice.

Designing your wedding dress is a great way of showing off your personal style. Because you are wearing something that you created from scratch, it is very memorable and will make you feel stunning and confident on your special day.

If you can dream it, they can design it! You will be able to bring all of your quirks and whimsy together to create your dream wedding dress! You can incorporate all the elements you have always wanted to stand out on your wedding day!

The Pros of Buying a Dress

  • There are no limits! The designer will make the dress of your dreams
  • The fit will be perfect!
  • You will receive your dress a long time in advance for fitting and matching accessories
  • You'll have access to a designer to create extra accessories like a veil and trimmings for your wedding shoes
  • You can keep it forever as a keepsake of your special day

The Cons of Buying a Dress

  • It can be costly! Wedding dress prices usually start at R15 000
  • Having to go for fittings will take up a lot of your time
  • You will spend a lot of money on a dress you will only wear once
  • Storing and maintaining your wedding dress after the big day will take up a lot of space and time


Instead of buying an expensive dress, you can always rent one. That became more popular over the years, because, as we already mentioned, you only get to wear it once. It sure is a beautiful memory to have, but it takes a lot of, and it takes up a lot of space in your closet.

The good thing about renting a wedding dress is that you don't have to pay as much money as you would have to pay for a wedding attire that you get to keep after your wedding day. There is no need for those tiresome fittings because the dress won't change after you already tried it once. It saves you quite the time, and you can return the dress shortly after your wedding so that it won't take up much space in your closet.

The bad thing is that that might not be your dream wedding gown. You can probably change it up a bit, but not as much as you would have wanted, because after all, you are only renting the dress and the owners have to have it back as soon as the wedding is done. For curvy ladies, there might be a problem of finding a dress that fits perfectly, as there aren't much wedding gowns out there. Another obstacle you might face with a rented wedding dress is that you have to be careful on your wedding day. Any damage you make, you will have to pay, and knowing that can make you crazy and not able to relax on the biggest day of your life.

You don't have to spend big on your wedding gown anymore, and you can opt to hire it instead. By hiring your dress, you can achieve the same level of fabulousness for your wedding and look at a fraction of the price. If you are someone who doesn't see the value in spending lots of money on a dress, you'll only wear once, and hiring is probably a better option for you.

And just because you hire your dress, doesn't mean you won't get to look like a princess on your special day. On the contrary! Hiring is a much more viable option for getting those big designer name gowns. Those unobtainable designer wedding dresses that you have googled on Pinterest can now become a reality for you! Wearing that designer dress always seemed impossible due to the high costs. Having your dress designed by your favourite designer can cost you thousands while renting it will cost you much less.

Pros of renting your wedding dress

Save Money 

When you rent a dress, you are most likely spending a lot less money than you would be if you had to purchase it. If you have your eye on a particular wedding designer's line, you may be able to rent an expensive dress for $200-$400 or less.

Extras May be Included 

When you rent a gown, the rental company may include extras like a slip, shoes, jewellery, and veils to go with your gown. Being able to order all of these items at once can be less of a hassle if the price fits.

Low Maintenance 

As long as you can keep your dress in one piece during your wedding, you won't have to worry about storing the dress or preserving it after since you can just return it and go about your way. If you'd rather hold on to the memories of your wedding day and cherish all the photos, without having your gown around the house creating clutter, renting your wedding dress may sound like a great option.

Cons of renting your wedding dress

Limited Selection

One of the biggest drawbacks of renting your wedding dress is that the selection can be very limited. If you are extremely particular with what you wear or have a specific style in mind, and can't find it after looking through a company's inventory, this may deter you from wanting to rent your dress. You also have to consider that some wedding dress rental companies may have older styles since wedding fashion changes almost every year. If you're looking for a very specific style or are a picky shopper, renting may not be the best choice. Not only can style options be more limited, but you may find that certain dresses aren't available on the date you need it.

Size and Customization Constraints 

When renting a wedding dress, you'll also have to worry about finding one you like in the correct size, which could be a challenge depending on where you look. It also doesn't help that you can't alter or customize the dress as you please since someone else will be wearing the dress after you. Realistically speaking, if you want to have a good experience renting, you'd have to fall in love with the dress, and it has to be the correct size. Even if you do find a gown you like, it may not be in your size, and you're usually not able to make alterations, so it fits you like a glove.

It May Not be all That Cheap

While wedding dress rentals are supposed to be very cost-effective, if the dress you like is not that cheap, it may not save you much money to rent after all. Some bridal shops have gorgeous new wedding dresses for purchase at an extremely discounted rate which might be a better option since you'll have more flexibility when you buy a dress. When renting a dress, the fees can add up. You may have to pay extra for shipping, insurance, and late fees if you're running behind.

Ordering a Wedding Dress Online Can be Risky 

Shopping online for clothes, in general, is a risk. There's a chance of having an item shipped to you that's the wrong colour, the wrong style, or just doesn't look as good as you thought it would. With your wedding dress, you want to avoid this at all costs. If you decide to order a rental online, examine the listing carefully, ask questions, read reviews, and make sure your sizing is spot on. This is always a risky bet. What if the wedding dress of your dreams arrives and looks completely different than in the picture? Luckily, most rental services give you the option to order dresses just to try them on before committing to renting them for the big day, but that comes with a cost.

You May Be Responsible for Damages

Accidents happen. From wine spills to lipstick stains, torn hems to busted seams, your wedding dress can go through the wringer on your big day. While insurance covers minor issues, brides usually are responsible for the cost of the dress if there's any significant damage.

There's No Heirloom Option

If you want to keep your dress forever and possibly pass it down to the next generation, rental probably isn't for you. For some brides, a wedding dress holds memories of a lifetime and renting a dress takes away the sentimental value.

You Miss Some of the Shopping Experience

If you dream of saying yes to the dress in a room full of your closest loved ones, you won't get that same magical experience renting a dress online.

Renting a dress isn't for everyone, but it can be a great way to save money, get a dress quickly, and skip the cost of preserving and storing a dress in the future.

The best part? Wedding dress rental allows you to cross-dress shopping off your list quickly and helps you enjoy your big day with less stress while still feeling and looking fabulous.

Renting is popular now, as you won't be needing the dress after the wedding, and it is a much cheaper option. There is that problem with damaging it, but you can always change into something more comfortable after the official wedding ceremony is over.

In the current economic climate, splurging on a wedding dress can be a financial stretch. Re-using and recycling are the buzzwords in weddings at the moment. A cheap wedding dress doesn't have to look cheap! Use the extra money you save for a special honeymoon outing or treat for you and your new hubby.

Whether you are buying or hiring, your dream dress is out there waiting for you! Remember that your wedding dress must be a reflection of you, your style and most of all, it must be comfortable! A confident bride is a beautiful bride!

Frequently Asked Questions

Renting a dress is a much cheaper option than buying one and often brings wedding dresses that cost four figures down to three instead. You might be able to save on accessories, too. Some wedding dress rental companies provide packages where you can tack on a veil, shoes, and other accessories for a reduced price.

While the national average cost of a wedding dress is $1,631 (including alterations), dress prices are based on various factors and generally range from $500 to $4,000.

You'll pay between $500 and $1,500 to rent a dress. However, you could save as much as 50% on designer dresses this way. How much do most brides want to spend on a wedding dress? It turns out that women are a little more frugal than we thought.

Guerrieri says we're part of the reason prices are so high: They're high because that is what we're willing to pay. "I think that on average there is a lot of status and signaling going on wedding day," Guerrieri says. A bride's dress can signal how wealthy she is, what her status in society is.

Bride and family pay for bride's dress, veil, accessories and trousseau (read: lingerie and honeymoon clothes). Groom and family pay for groom's outfit. All attendants pay for their own clothing, including shoes.

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