Rent, Buy, or Make – Wedding Dress Options

So, you need a wedding dress. Should you buy, rent, or make it?

For most people, the first answer that comes to mind is, “Well, I’ll buy my wedding dress. That’s what people do, right?” This line of thinking leads to a quick trip over to Google and… well, so many options that it makes my eyes cross just to think of them.

Other folks aren’t interested in buying a wedding dress. They’d much prefer to rent. They have too many vivid childhood memories of decades-old dresses moldering at the back of closets. They too turn to Google only to realize that renting a wedding dress is, unfortunately, not really an option. 

And as for making your wedding dress? If only this was the first thing that came to mind for more people! You know I’d love it, wedding dress fashion designer that I am.

More confused than ever on how to find your dress? I get it. Based on what I know as a designer, I’ve listed the pros and cons of each option, and, of course, if you ever want to chat more, please let me know!

Buying a wedding dress: pros and cons

The biggest pro is that the process of buying clothes is likely a familiar one. You may never have bought a wedding dress before but I imagine you’re well-versed in the process of going to a store, trying something on, and buying it. 

Unfortunately, this familiarity is also the biggest con of buying a wedding dress. Some of my clients find me because they’ve purchased a pre-made dress but need to have it altered. I’ve already shared what it can take to alter a wedding dress but long story short: It’s often more time and money than the person originally bargained on.

Renting a wedding dress: pros and cons

Renting a wedding dress has one huge benefit: more closet space. After your wedding, you give the dress back, which means you don’t have to worry about storing it or preserving it (if you’re into that kind of thing). 

The downside to renting is that your options are limited. While more companies are offering wedding dress rentals — Rent the Runway being the best-known — it remains a newer option with less inventory. This reality is limiting in a lot of ways especially if you don’t fit the very particular (and, I would argue, narrow) view that the wedding fashion industry has about what a wedding dress is “supposed” to look like.

Making a wedding dress: pros and cons

I know, I know. I design wedding dresses for a living. Of course I think making your own dress is the best option! I won’t deny this is true but I also like to be upfront about why I believe what I believe. 

For one thing, designing your own wedding dress isn’t as expensive as people think. It also doesn’t require as much knowledge of clothes as it might seem; I’m right there with you the whole time to guide and share my years of experience. Most importantly, though, making your own wedding dress allows you to celebrate what makes you you.

And that’s why no matter what option you pick — buy, rent, make — I just want you to enjoy the process of finding your wedding dress. It’s so easy to feel boxed in when planning a wedding. As a big believer in fashion as a means of expression, I don’t want you to feel forced into wearing one particular thing because you “have to.” I want you to feel amazing! I want you to feel bold. I want you to feel like yourself.

Still curious about your options? Let’s talk.

Indy Bridal Fashion Week 2019

Last year around this time, I was gearing up for the biggest build I’ve done. Originally, I designed 12 wedding looks for the runway, but whittled it down to 9. I was in full bridal season mode (between custom and tailoring, I don’t have many down times) and dreaming of what future brides might want.

I like minimalism but I love drama. Not sure how that’s possible, but here we are. I invested in all the fabric, from silks to laces! I needed models to work with, and I asked several model friends. They served as fit models for the pieces they wore, offering a lot of their time so I could get the looks I wanted and the fit I’ve become known for.

The first three dress samples were ready for the Perfect Wedding Guide July Bridal Show and they were a hit! I had these three beauties modeling the dresses at the show, after which we did a couple of shots outside. Black Iris Estates is just so gorgeous!

Lens: Amanda DeBusk Photography
Models: Arianna Cruz, Nora Dietz Kilen, Chloe VanRyn

I still had so much to do in between client dresses. I had my work cut out for me! Luckily, I had a wonderful intern from Ball State University, Emily Black, helping out with construction and finishing. There’s a reason why couture fashion houses have a team. Let me just say I don’t recommend doing all of this on your own.

I worked day and night getting everything ready. The night before, I was still adding a crinoline to one of the dresses. The excitement powered me. I wouldn’t stop.

The day of the show came and I didn’t feel ready. I wanted more time, more fittings, more of everything.

Models started arriving, Alayna Byrd came ready to do make-up and Allison Linnae was doing hair. It started getting exciting!

We did a run through and we stayed connected, talking and laughing, enjoying each other’s company. My models and all the professionals I work with are friends. I like spending time with them. This is my family.

The fashion show wasn’t really well attended but that didn’t stop us from having the time of our lives!

A representative of Wedding Studio Greenwood came to the show and caught this video and posted it to Instagram and I couldn’t be more grateful!

Video from Wedding Studio Greenwood

Bradley Michael Photography captured some wonderful images from the runway, beautifully lit by the amazing people at The Garment Factory in Franklin, IN.

It was a night to remember! Thank you, everyone! I love you all!