Many little children dream about their bridal gown growing up, only to be confronted with a stomach-wrenching price tag when the big day eventually comes around.
With the average wedding dress costing over €1000 and the pieces usually only getting one wear, some people are now turning to rental boutiques for their big day - including Carrie Johnson.
For her secret wedding over the weekend, Boris Johnson’s wife rented not only her actual wedding dress but also three decoy dresses to throw people off the couple's plans.
The dresses were from My Wardrobe HQ, an English eco-fashion business that specialises in luxury dress rentals. The online and in-person shop was set up in 2019 and is one of the first of its kind to be set up in the country.
The company has a selection of clothes and accessories available from over 500 designers including Stella McCartney, Gucci, Prada, Chanel, and Saint Laurent. All the customer has to do is browse, clear a background check, and they can rent the dress of their dreams.
Upon its return, the dress will then be worn again by another blushing bride - rather than kept in an attic.
While the idea may seem novel, there are tonnes of similar services popping up around Britain and Ireland as well as in the US, where the rental trend is becoming especially popular.
Rent the Runway, a popular site for designer rentals, has been around for over a decade but the company has seen a boom in demand in recent years, with its value standing at over one billion dollars in 2019.
"The average bride spends between two and five thousand dollars on the wedding dress alone," Blaire Walsh, Rent the Runway's style director, toldmagazine.
"When only wearing that dress for approximately three to five hours, it just doesn’t seem worth it when you can focus on making your wedding dreams come true by having that firework sendoff or an extravagant Parisian themed dessert table for your guests to indulge in."
Though some might fret about the thought of wearing the same dress as another bride, the benefits are huge, especially when it comes to saving money.
Rentals usually go for around €500 or less, a fraction of the cost for a one-off gown. You can save on accessories too, with some businesses offering packages for renters.
One of the biggest bonuses is that you can shop for a designer item that might usually be out of your price range.
For example, Carrie Johnson’s stunning Christos Costarellos dress should have cost her £2,870, but she reportedly rented it for just £45.
Renting is also a much better option for the environment. Around 225,000 tonnes of clothing gets dumped in Ireland every year and though you might hang on to that white dress for a while, the chances are you will eventually end up donating or tossing it.
On top of all of that, you also don’t have to worry about cleaning and preservation costs or trying to pass it off to your very ungrateful future grandchild.
Of course, you do have to make sure you're not returning a ruined dress, but as smaller pandemic weddings continue, the pros of renting seem to outweigh the cons.
To explore some Irish rental options check out Covet in Dublin city or Limerick’s The Ivory Closet.