For years, bridesmaid dresses were regarded by women as a necessary evil. They were often costly, unflattering, and entirely unwearable post-wedding. But recently, brands like J.Crew have had much success selling versions that are simple and classic enough to be versatile.
And now, there may be an even more attractive option for people who are lucky (or, depending on how you view it, unfortunate) enough to be a part of multiple weddings: rentable bridesmaid dresses.
Rent the Runway, aka “Netflix for couture,” is a free service that allows users to browse an inventory of hundreds of dresses from more than 95 high-end designers — all available for short-term rent. The company, which launched in 2009, is expanding rapidly (they just added bags to their repertoire) and they have an eye on the bridal market, too. In January, the Rent the Runway team is rolling out Rent the Runway Weddings.
They’re already exploring bridal through a partnership with OneWed.com which, according to a release, “offer[s] a 10 percent discount on dress rentals to all wedding guests with the potential to earn free dress and accessory rentals for the bride herself.”
Though details on the new site are unavailable at present, it’s clear that in the case of bridesmaids dresses, rental would be a brilliant idea. But will Rent the Runway offer women the opportunity to rent wedding gowns? And if so, how, exactly, will that work? (For the unfamiliar: Buying a wedding dress is typically a lengthy process that involves multiple fitting sessions.) Regardless of the specifics, we are sure that bridal retailers like Priscilla of Boston or David’s Bridal (neither of which would comment on this story) will not be thrilled with the development — these retailers count on regular sales of bridesmaids dresses to keep their business going.