Rental wedding dresses
Rental wedding dresses
As soon as new brides receive their dowry, they start planning for their big day. Some decide to make it an extravagant event, while others prefer to make it an intimate affair with just close friends and family members.
The demand for wedding dresses rises at holiday periods and especially during summer, the wedding season. “The high season for weddings is June and July; most hair salons and tailors are busy in this period of time,” said Sorayya Ahmed, owner of Farawla salon and tailoring. “We receive many orders during that particular period from brides who wish to look their best on their big night,” she added.
“Many brides cannot afford to pay big money for all the services salons provide, aside from all the money she has to pay for her wedding dress, which could cost her around SR10,000.”
Many brides feel that paying that much money for a dress that they will only wear for one night is a waste of money. “I would never pay this much for a wedding dress, knowing that people will only see me for four hours,” said Eman Youssef, 26-year-old bride-to-be. “I also think that it’s ridiculous to buy a dress that a bride will wear for one night. That’s why I’m approaching boutiques that rent wedding dresses expecting to pay only SR2,000 and not more,” she added.
Renting out used wedding dresses is a good investment, according to Mariam Al-Kaf, wedding dress boutique owner. “I came up with this idea right after I got married. Knowing that I spent a lot of money on my wedding night, I had to come up with an idea to bring that money back,” she said. “I started renting my own dress to my neighbors and their friends secretly, because I was ashamed that people might find out about it. I started to make little changes on my dress to make it different every time someone rents it,” she added.
“A few months later my friends started sending me their own wedding dresses to rent out for them. Now here I am, owning a shop with almost 30 used rental dresses and I’m making good money out of it,” she added.
Saudi brides-to-be are often separated by either rejection or acceptance of this new initiative. “I see this as a great idea to save money and spend it elsewhere, like on the honeymoon or even on the wedding itself, like getting a better photographer or a singer,” said Lama Abdul-Majeed, 27-year-old schoolteacher. “I have made strict rules for my budget and I try as much as I cannot to exceed it; knowing that if I did, I might end up in debt after the wedding,” she added.
Others find renting wedding dresses to be a huge compromise to their individuality or to keeping special memories. “A wedding day is the only day in a girl’s life where all eyes are on her, and a day where she is treated like a princess. I myself would not want to spoil that feeling by wearing someone else’s special dress,” said Raneem Jazzar, 21-year-old college student. “I would rather look for a less expensive option and be creative by flipping fabrics and adding designs to it. At least then, it will be my own,” she added.
Arab News found a list of rules and regulations displayed at most wedding rental shops. “First, a bride is not to change any feature or design of the dress. Second, a bride is not to resize the dress but to find a dress that actually fits her. Third, the dress has to be sent to the drycleaners after the wedding. Fourth, a bride cannot keep the dress for more than two days after the wedding or else she will pay more for the delay. Fifth, if the dress was damaged or ruined in any way, the bride will be charged in full for repairs or the value of the dress,” stated the list.
Young brides who consider renting their gowns are savvy and seem to be fully aware of the current financial crisis affecting most people, according to Faris Dahlan, financial expert. “It’s commonly known that a wedding could cost people on an average income up to SR100,000. Spending that much money on one night is insane for people who cannot afford it. After all, nothing lasts after that night but the photos,” he said. “Many people start borrowing money for this one night and end up in debt their whole lives. The smart thing to do is to limit one’s budget as much as possible,” he added.
According to Tahani, a manager at the Women’s Charitable Society in Jeddah, wedding dresses donated to the charity are rented out to people and the proceeds go toward the organization’s benefit. “We usually give the dresses to the brides who are living or working within the organization for free, but ask that they clean and return them within two or three days. Sometimes people from outside the organization come to us and ask to rent these wedding dresses,” she said. “We now have around 15 wedding dresses in very good shape. We usually charge no more then SR300 to SR500. We have been doing this for 14 years now and it has benefited us positively,” she added.
A rental wedding dress should always be cleaned and steamed before it’s worn again, according to Dr. Hanan Bakhsh, infectious disease specialist. “The risk is minimal because diseases and viruses die and fade in very little time. They usually die in three to four hours,” she said. “To be on the safe side brides should re-clean their dress, including heat and steam to make sure it’s germ-free,” she added.