Rental, RTW, or Custom-Made: Which Wedding Dress Option Is Really For You?

Renting, ready-to-wear, and custom-made are three viable options when it comes to wedding dress hunting. Each provide their own pros and cons, selections, and possibilities. But what is the smartest way to decide on which one truly is for you? Brides-to-be, we know the type of dress you’ll wear can be a huge decision-making process since a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. All you want is to choose the right dress or outfit that will make you happy, especially when you’re looking back on all your wedding photos 10, 20, or 50 years from now.

So let’s discuss the pros and cons of renting, buying, and customizing in a little more detail, shall we? We hope this will help you on your quest!

Rental, RTW, or Custom-Made: Which Wedding Dress Option Is Really For You?

An emerging trend in the wedding fashion scene, renting is becoming a sustainable and chic choice for eco-conscious, and budget-savvy brides.

You won’t have to worry about preservation and storage. The beauty of renting a dress is that you’ll have to return it. After the wedding, you won’t have to worry about yellowing fabric or a big dress taking up space in your closet. Especially if you’re planning on moving to a condo as your first home, you won’t have to think about where to put your gown nor will you have to worry about dry cleaning, because some rental places can do that for you!

Real Weddings: A Rental Gown and Budget Rings: This Intimate Wedding Shows the Beauty of Simple Things / Photographer: Ivy Palomares

You can wear designer pieces for a fraction of the price. A common misconception about rentals would be the highly limited and not-so quality options. But, we beg to differ. There are rental stores in the Philippines that offer great quality and trendy designer dresses for a fraction of the price. Sure, the price tag can still be in the five-digit range, but this is still much lower than getting a designer piece that is brand new or off-the-rack. And you can also rent a beautiful dress way below the five-digit range, too!

Real Weddings: A Rental Gown and Budget Rings: This Intimate Wedding Shows the Beauty of Simple Things / Photographer: Ivy Palomares

You’re contributing to a more sustainable fashion practice. You won’t have to use up new fabric, energy, and resources to create a brand new one-time use gown. You get to pass on the joy of wearing that beautiful garment without adding to the world’s carbon footprint.

You won’t get to keep it. Not keeping the dress can be both a pro and con, depending on how sentimental you are. If you have no attachment to your wedding dress, then renting won’t be a problem.

You might have limited variety. You can expect a lot of classic silhouettes as well as more daring pieces in rental stores, but be prepared to manage expectations, too. You might not get the exact style you want or those that you see online.

You might not get the perfect fit. Rental gowns usually come from previous brides, so do expect that the fit might not be tailored exactly to your measurements. Alterations might be limited as well since these pieces are being rented only.

Renting is for you if:

You’re not too sentimental about your wedding dress. If you’re okay with returning the dress and have no emotional attachment to it, then definitely go for renting!

You don’t want to worry about storage. Renting is for you if you’d rather save closet space, and don’t want to think about caring for your dress in the long run.

You want something much more budget-friendly. You don’t want to sacrifice style and quality but would rather stick to a friendlier budget, renting is a good way to go.

Off-the-rack gowns are also top-tier when it comes to style. Plus, there are plenty of bridal salons in the Philippines that carry global fashion labels.

You get to see and fit the actual dress right away. A lot of brides opt for RTW so they can immediately see what cuts, silhouettes, and details look good on them! Buying off-the-rack allows you to feel the fabric and test out how comfortable the dress is on you. You won’t have to worry about waiting for months until you can see the dress close to its final form.

Photographer: This Couple Made Their Intimate Wedding Highly Meaningful and Detailed / Photographer: Lex Alinsod

You get to make alterations after fitting the dress. Bridal salons also offer alterations to your chosen dress so the fit will be more tailored for you. You can take out some of the length, size up or down, and sometimes add a few more minor details like appliques.

Photographer: This Couple Made Their Intimate Wedding Highly Meaningful and Detailed / Photographer: Lex Alinsod

You can peruse as many styles as you want. The wonderful thing about RTW dresses is that you can visit as many boutiques as you want and try on as many dresses as you want. It’s a fun way to bond with your entourage by bringing them along for the shopping trip, and you get to explore all the styles your heart desires.

You’ll have to think about storing it after the wedding. Since you’re buying a gown, you’ll have to keep it. You might want to think about closet space, preservation, and dry cleaning.

You’ll need to be prepared for alteration costs. On top of the price of the gown, you have to take into account the probable costs for alterations since it won’t be a perfect fit right away. You’ll also have to consider the amount of time it will take for your dress to be available.

You won’t be able to personalize as much. And you might be wearing the exact same dress as another bride. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for some, especially if you don’t mind.

RTW is for you if:
You’d rather see the finished product already. If you’re highly concerned about fit and style, it might be more comfortable for you to buy a ready-to-wear gown that needs minor alterations only.

You don’t have the time to go through a whole design process. If you’re not really the type to go for too much detail, time, creative collaboration and are simply happy with designs you see online and in-store, then RTW will be a good choice.

You want a budget-friendly option as well as that finding the one moment. Ready-to-wear dresses are usually more affordable than custom-made dresses since the fabric and materials are pretty much produced in bulk. Plus, you get to have that heartwarming moment of finding and wearing the perfect dress!

A custom-made gown is something that is one-of-a-kind and tailored to your specific preferences.

You’ll have a very unique wedding gown. Custom-made gowns are works-of-art made just for you! You’ll be collaborating with a designer who can sketch and produce a gown crafted for you alone and no one else. You can even incorporate meaningful details that speak of your love story or the people who matter in your life through embroidery or beading.

Real Weddings: From Walking in Francis Libiran’s Bridal Shows, Chelsea Robato Now Wears His Creation Down the Aisle / Photographer: Pat Dy

You can tailor the gown to your exact fit and liking. A custom-made gown means it can also be tailored according to the exact fit you want and the exact details you want, down to every lace and beading. You can also opt to have a custom veil to match the dress or turn it into a convertible piece for an instant ceremony to reception look.

Real Weddings: From Walking in Francis Libiran’s Bridal Shows, Chelsea Robato Now Wears His Creation Down the Aisle / Photographer: Pat Dy

You’ll have a very sentimental piece. It’s going to be a very special gown with a lot of thought, love, and craftsmanship behind it. It will also be a beautiful keepsake that you might just be able to pass on as an heirloom.

You’ll have to think about storage and preservation. This is a given. You’ll need to have enough closet space for your custom gown. And you’ll want to make sure you can take care of it properly, too, if you don’t want the fabric to turn yellow or weather with time.

You have to be prepared for higher price points. A custom gown made from scratch is also equivalent to a higher price tag because of the time, materials, and high-level of craftsmanship behind it. Apart from the actual dress, you’re paying for the talent and skill of the designer, the seamstresses or tailors, and every piece of crystal or beading that goes into the final piece.

You will need a longer lead time. You gotta be patient! It will also take at least three fittings before you get to your final piece, and you won’t get to see the finished product right away. You’ll be trying it on at different stages of production.

A custom gown is for you if:
You have enough time to wait. If you have a long lead time for your wedding, let’s say, at least a year of planning, then you can allocate more time for the design and production of your gown.

You can be prepared with the budget for a custom gown. The budget will really determine a lot of your wedding planning decisions, but if you’re ready to spend a good amount of money for your gown, then go for it!

You value sentimentality and uniqueness more than anything. Budgeting, planning, and choosing a wedding dress is highly personal. So, if you’re the sentimental type of bride and you value craftsmanship, uniqueness, and details that are to your exact liking, then custom is for you.

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