I have been in some weddings. And each and every one of them, I wanted to be a bridesmaid because I dearly love the people involved. But there’s no shame in any bridesmaid admitting that the expense of an often $300 (or more) floor-length robin’s egg blue chiffon concoction that you’ll never wear again is often a sigh-worthy affair. Take heart, ye of the faint of bank account heart — bridesmaid dress rentals could provide a welcome alternative.
Frugal women who nevertheless want to look classy at special events will likely find the idea of Vow to be Chic a lot like Rent the Runway, which ships customers designer dresses on a rental fee basis. The idea being: You can wear a pretty dress and not feel a twinge of sadness at seeing it sit forlornly in your closet until you finally decide to chuck it.
A 28-year-old six-time bridesmaid started the business after her personal experience with fancy dress induced wallet pain.
“Many of my best friends aren’t engaged yet, so I have many more to come,” she tells Yahoo’s The Exchange. “It’s an honor, but it’s an expensive honor.”
Brides sign up their bridesmaids on the company site, where the women can then pay only about $95 to $125 to rent a designer dress for the special day. Once the party’s over, the dresses go back, and your wallet doesn’t feel quite so thin nor your closet quite so full of discarded gowns.
Here’s how it works: Brides select the dress online for their bridesmaids, who then send in their measurements (something you should definitely have a tailor do so you don’t muck it up). Long before the wedding, bridesmaids receive two sample dresses to try on at home and send them back with final sizing selections. Final dresses arrive before the wedding, then get sent back after the big event.
“The idea of renting bridesmaid dresses — or, for that matter, dresses you’d wear as a guest, like via Rent the Runway — is fantastic,” Jen Doll, wedding attendee extraordinaire and author of Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest tells Consumerist. “You won’t feel like you’ve had to spend a ton of money on something that will just take up room in your closet afterward, which is great for your overall attitude going into an event.”
The idea of rented formal wear is even better for those who go to multiple weddings a year (again, raising my hand in delight and yet fearing the inevitable hit on the old wallet), she points out.
“If you’re going to a ton of weddings in a season, you can wear a bunch of different things without going into credit card debt, which is almost as beautiful as the happy couple’s love,” notes Doll.
On that note, if anyone is interested in a once-worn, previously beautiful long gray dress with a few heel holes and Champagne stains on it, I know where you can get one free. It starts with a “My” and ends with “closet.”
The bridesmaid dress nightmare ends — with online rentals [The Exchange]