Carrie Symonds wore yet another rented gown for her second wedding to ousted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. For their first nuptials in summer last year, which had to be a small affair owing to Covid-19 restrictions, the bride chose to rent a dress from Greek designer Christos Costarellos. Purchased new, it would have set her back £2,830 (about $3,475) but as a rental, cost only £45 (Dh202.)
For the larger wedding, which included friends and family who were prevented from attending the first ceremony, the bride again decided to rent, opting for a silk Ruby gown by Savannah Miller, which retails for £3,500 (Dh15,738). Instead, Symonds rented it from London website My Wardrobe HQ for only £25 (Dh112.)
Across the board, renting wedding dresses is becoming increasingly popular, as brides look for different ways to snag their dream outfit, while cutting out the hassle of waiting months for made-to-measure and not having to bother with costly dry cleaning and storage.
While many brides may hope to be able to pass their own outfiton to a daughter one day, in reality, a growing number choose to sell their gowns to help recoup some of the cost.
Renting may not be to everyone's tastes, but for those looking to sidestep the fuss involved with a custom-made creation, many are finding the rental options are growing. Given that some companies now even provide an alteration service to ensure a perfect fit, the argument for renting over buying has never been stronger.
In the UAE, there is a growing number of companies that offer wedding gowns for either purchase or rental, to help ensure every bride is dressed to perfection on her special day.
Designer-24 has branches in Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE, and was founded to ensure every bride has access to high-end wedding dresses, regardless of budget.
With a huge selection on offer, including major names such as Sandra Mansour, Elie Saab and Oscar de la Renta, each one is shown on the website with its size, ranging from XS to XL. While this makes it easy to find a dress that fits quickly, it might be a little restrictive in terms of design choices.
However, the upside is that the company offers beautiful creations at a fraction of their retail price. An Oscar de la Renta strapless lace creation for example, that costs Dh16,425, can be rented for Dh3,430, while a strapless mermaid piece with draped sleeves by Arunaz — Dh80,000 new — can be rented for Dh9,170.
There is even a hand embellished gown by Elie Saab, that would normally set the buyer back Dh367,280, but can be rented for the comparative bargain of Dh17,570.
Hazar Haute Couture
Dubai company Hazar Haute Couture may be cheeky in calling itself haute couture — a term that can only be bestowed by the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode in Paris — but it does offer a highly impressive range of 200 outfits for rental and purchase.
In the business since 1980, Hazar has decades of experience creating custom gowns, and brides can have their dream dress made-to-order from Dh20,000. In addition, the company offers outfits to rent starting at Dh5,000.
The company has forged a reputation for lavish, romantic pieces that are covered in crystals and embellishment, and styles offered include fit and flair, mermaid and ball gown.
The Dress Boutique
The Dress Boutique offers a comprehensive service that not only rents out gowns and accessories, but also has a full team of seamstresses so it can alter any outfit even if bought from somewhere else.
It can also modify an existing outfit, so if the bride wants to add sleeves, more embroidery or even more lace, The Dress Boutique can help. As well as gowns for sale, it also offers a large array of rental pieces that will be altered by the in-house atelier to ensure a perfect fit.
Dresses can be collected two days ahead of the wedding, and must be returned two days after, or incur additional charges. A sizeable deposit is also needed for each outfit, from about 50 per cent of the retail value. However, when the piece is returned on time, and in perfect condition, this will be refunded in full. Rentals start at Dh3,500 and go up to Dh20,000 depending on alterations.
As one of the oldest bridal shops in the UAE, Al Daker has boutiques in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and has a comprehensive range of creations on offer. Known for its opulent pieces, each one is handmade, and covered in intricate beading and lace. While the price of having a dress custom-made at Al Daker can easily run into the tens of thousands, renting one starts at the more modest price of Dh5,500.