The most exciting part of the wedding, for most brides, is wearing the perfect wedding dress on the wedding day. They always dream about looking gorgeous in their swirling outfits and unforgettable in the eyes of the groom and the guests.
Usually if you are buying your wedding dress, you use it only for a couple of hours. Then it the spends rest of its life in storage, till maybe your daughter's wedding. So the cost of the dress is an important consideration.
There are three categories of bridal gowns, according to Carley Roney of 'theknot.com' website
1) Custom design or couture dress-
You go to a designer or dressmaker and get a dress designed and stitched from scratch. These are most expensive, starting from $1000.
2) Custom order dress
You go to a salon or store and try on a sample designer dress, available in sizes 8, 10, or 12. Once you place an order, the dress is cut to your size and several fittings maybe required. Prices start around $600.
3) The ready-to-wear dress
You can buy off-the-rack and take it home immediately if no alterations are needed. These are least expensive and start at $250.
Most people like to buy a dress in the range of $1200 to $2500 with add-in costs like alterations ($300), veil ($400), accessories like gloves and shoes (>$100), your costs have zoomed to $2000 -$3000. Most salons insist that you deposit 50 percent of the amount when you order.
But if spending thousands of dollars on a wedding dress frightens you, you have other options.
• Design your own, one-of-a-kind dress.
• Consignment shops have used wedding dresses in immaculate condition for purchase.
• Thrift shops have excellent bargains, but quality may be poor.
• Online auctions have excellent choices available, but make sure to ask for multiple photographs before final purchase.
• Friends and relatives can loan their wedding heirlooms.
• Rentals are not uncommon.
Rentals are quite a practical solution for those who consider budget as well as long-term utility. Most salons have rental sections where dresses can be borrowed up to one week. Rental dresses are usually kept in immaculate condition, so no repairs or dry cleaning is necessary. To find rental salons especially for costume rentals, check out local phone listings or search the Internet.
Men have been renting tuxedos for years so you should not have any reservations about renting your wedding dress. If a bride has purchased a dress, she faces problems of maintenance and storage. But if she rents a dress, all she has to do is choose it, wear it and return it and not even bother about dry cleaning.
Why are rentals advantageous? Firstly, it cuts costs by half. You save valuable money that can be used on the new house. Thousand dollar dresses can be rented for a couple of hundred dollars. Sometimes bridal packages come with accessories like veil, shoes etc. Secondly, the bride need not bother about the maintenance of the dress. She can return it after using it and proceed without worry for her honeymoon. Thirdly, in the case of destination weddings, the wedding dress is available for hire in rental shops in wedding destinations like Hawaii and Las Vegas. It is so convenient that you need not cart your wedding dress in your baggage while flying to these places. Fourthly, if you have storage problems, renting and returning the dress solves this problem.
However, there is a flip side to it too. You have a limited selection, as you have to choose from the limited designs available for rental in the salon. In many cases, you cannot make alterations and can only choose a size nearing your size. If the dress you love doesn't fit, you have to go for another one. You may also have to pay separately for alteration charges. You also have to be very careful the whole time not to damage the dress as it has to be returned and you will have to pay for any damages. If it is badly damaged, you may end up having to buy the dress. Also, you do not have a family heirloom to pass on to your children.
The ultimate decision on whether to rent or buy, rests on the individual choice. Both have their pros and cons. A big budget, grand wedding type may definitely go in for an exclusive designer wedding dress. A sweet little, but practical, wedding may go in for a rented wedding dress. All eyes are usually on the bride during the whole ceremony and reception, but no one need know whether the dress is designer or rented, as long as the bride looks happy and ravishing.