Dubbed the AirBnB of retail, By Rotation, a new fashion app is attracting a wave of brides-to-be who want to rent their wedding dress.
Following in the sartorial footsteps of Princess Beatrice, whose wedding dress was an up-cycled vintage number from the Queen’s personal collection, and Carrie Symonds (who married Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a secret ceremony in May 2021) more women are ditching the notion of splashing out on a brand-new wedding dress. Instead, we’re seeing a number brides-to-be opting to rent their wedding dress.
With the cost of a wedding in the UK seemingly increasing every year, it’s no wonder savvy brides are looking for ways to cut down costs. As a result, and teamed with a growing focus on sustainability in both the wedding and fashion industries, we’re seeing more women change their attitudes to the wedding dress.
By Rotation – a peer-to-peer fashion rental platform dubbed the AirBnB of mid-to-luxury fashion – has seen a 50% increase in listings over lockdown, and a category that’s steadily growing is bridal dresses, allowing more brides to have greater access to high-end wedding dresses.
“If By Rotation existed at the time of my wedding, I would have certainly hired,” says Tatiana, a lawyer and regular By Rotation user, whose wedding dress is available to rent from £1000 per day (RRP £10,000).
“A wedding dress is guaranteed to be the most expensive dress you’ll ever buy and you are hopefully guaranteed to only wear it once. It really doesn’t make sense to buy it.”
While, for some brides splashing out on that brand-new designer dress or scouring the high street retailers for a fashion-forward wedding dress is the highlight of their wedding planning process, a number of others are opting to get a little more creative. Renting your wedding dress is a great way to incorporate a luxury element to your wedding at a lower cost. You’ll also be doing your bit to combat the fast-fashion trends we’ve seen taking hold in recent years.
“I first saw my dress pictured in a magazine and said to my best friend that I’d love to wear a dress like that to my wedding, and she said “well why not that one” so off we went to Jenny Packham, and I instantly knew it was the one.” says Louise, whose Jenny Packham dress (RRP £3500) is available to rent from £250 a day.
“It’s a beautifully cut dress, that is so much fun to wear, and this many shimmering sequins can’t fail to make you smile. I love this dress and could never sell it, but I also know that I’ll never wear it again either. It’s time for someone else to shimmer and sparkle up the aisle.”
While the allure of a sparkling brand-new dress is certainly appealing, there’s something quite romantic about wearing a dress with a bit of history. And the wedding dress rental trend is proving popular among brides wanting to incorporate a vintage theme to their wedding. Searches for vintage wedding dresses have seen a huge increase in recent months (Vestiare Collective – a luxury re-sale platform – reported a 56% increase on this same time last year), and we can only imagine this will continue to rise as brides strive to emulate Princess Beatrice’s vintage dress.
You may even find yourself in somewhat of a high profile gown. After sourcing her own vintage wedding dress from William Vintage, Molly Whitehall’s stunning 1930s dress can be rented for £375 a day. But hurry, it’s already wracking up thousands of views.