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A Guide to Wedding Dress Hire & Bridal Gown Rental

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Thousands of Brides each year choose to forgo the expense of buying a bridal gown and intead head down the route of wedding dress hire.


Whilst there are perhaps certain disadvantages to doing so, it is fair to say that hiring a wedding dress is usually the cheapest way of getting hold of a top notch gown for your big day - let's face it, how else could you get hold of an original Vera Wang or Armani wedding dress for a few hundred pounds!


Wedding dress hire shops can be found all across the country, each offering a good range of styles and designs, typically with something to suit everyone. Invariably, you will only ever wear your your wedding dress the once, so why spend a small fortune on something that will get such little use?


When it comes to wedding dress hire, there are a few things that Bride's need to be aware of. These things should in no way put you off going down the rental route, and in the vast majority of cases wedding dress hire shops are more than a match for their bridal retail counterparts, but it is only prudent that they are pointed out up front.


Firstly, whilst wedding dress hire is often considered to be the cheapest option, don’t accept this at face value and be sure to check out all of the terms and conditions of your rental agreement before signing on the dotted line. For example, do they charge you for cleaning or alterations? What if you damage the dress on the day, or more importantly what if someone else damages your dress before your wedding? Not all wedding dress hire shops will be open and up-front about such costs, so make sure you ask or you could well end up paying more than if you had bargained for.


The second thing is that the choice of frocks for hire is smaller than those to buy, so you will need to either shop till you drop, strike it lucky, or compromise with your second hand wedding dress. That said, wedding dress hire shops will often stock bridal gowns from discontinued lines at discount prices. Such dresses will be unable to be bought brand new and if you are struggling to pin down the dress of your dreams from a shop selling gowns, then this may just provide the ideal solution - you may just find the Armani or Carolina Herrera wedding dress of your dreams!


The next factor with regards wedding dress hire is that those who aren't a standard size may find things more difficult. For example, if you are particularly small you could end up in a wedding dress a couple of sizes too big and, even with the best of alterations, this will still affect the overall fit. Likewise, if you are not in perfect proportion (you may have a larger than average bust for example) you might have to wear a significantly larger dress just to accommodate one particular aspect of your body. The 'average Bride' should find little problem, but any plus-size Brides, little women or tall ladies could well struggle, as could those who are a little top heavy or bootylicious.


Finally, the gown you see in the wedding dress hire shop will typically be how it is on the big day. Shops are usually unwilling, to allow embroidery, beads, diamonte or other embellishments to be added to the gown. For most Brides this isn't a show-stopper, but for some, the inability to 'personalise' a bridal gown dress may well mean that wedding dress hire is simply not an option. 


When considering hiring, the two most important things to think about in advance are ‘how important it is that you keep your dress beyond the wedding day?’ and ‘how important is it that your dress hasn’t been worn by anyone else?’ If neither of these are particular concerns, then wedding dress hire could well be for you. You may have to compromise a little, or perhaps not, but hiring a bridal gown should free up valuable cash for other elements of the big day.



Related: There are hundreds of wedding articles on the site, each filled with superb ideas, advice and inspiration. Check out the links in the left hand column to read more. Alternatively, to search for a local wedding venue, product or service provider, try our Wedding Directory. With over 13,000 companies already listed, you're sure to find what you're looking for.


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