Say yes to the rental wedding dress
Darcy Wintonyk and Lynda Steele, CTV British Columbia
Published Thursday, January 3, 2013 1:47PM PST
Last Updated Thursday, January 3, 2013 8:13PM PST
If you're planning to say "I do" this summer but don't have a lot of money, there are great ways to cut costs on your bridal gown, including renting the dress or opting for a white bridesmaid frock instead.
With the bill of an average Canadian wedding hovering around the $30,000 mark, a bridal tradition popular in many parts of Asia is gaining traction here in B.C. – rental gowns.
Japanese pediatrician Junko Yamanaka, who is doing cancer research in Germany, chose to rent a dress before marrying her Canadian-born fiancé Scott in Vancouver's Stanley Park.
She came to Amara Wedding in Richmond to find the dress of her dreams, just five days before the ceremony.
"In Japan many brides borrow the dresses, and you can just find so many kinds of dresses, and you can find the one that you really like. So I think it's a good system," Yamanaka told CTV's Steele on Your Side.
Wedding publication WeddingBelles says that traditional gowns have reached prices of around $2,200, while a simple dress can run $1,275.
At Amara, brides choose from a big selection of rental gowns, most between $400 and $600. The dress, veil, crinoline and dry cleaning are included in the rental price.
Even the most expensive rental gowns are less than $1,000 -- savings that can be used for the couple's future, says store manager Miwako Ozawa.
"You can use the money you saved for your honeymoon or the down payment for your first house," she said.
The shop also does tuxedo rentals, photography services and makeup application, making it a one-stop shop for a busy couple.
The practice of gown rental is already very common in Japan and Korea, Ozawa said, because brides feel it's wasteful to have a wedding dress sit in the closet unused, and less room to store the gowns.
She said more Caucasian brides are now catching on to the trend, but for different reasons: "They see it as a smart and easy way to save money -- and they want to be green. It's more environmentally friendly – instead of only wearing a dress one time."
Many brides on a budget who are stuck on buying the gown are opting for a white bridesmaid dress instead of a traditional gown.
Catherine Staveley, co-owner of Frocks Modern Bridesmaids, Vancouver's only store dedicated to bridesmaid dresses, say 95 per cent of their dresses come in white.
The bridesmaid frocks are hundreds of dollars cheaper and often made by the same designers that make wedding gowns.
While a 100-per-cent silk, satin and crepe halter bridal gown sells in the shop for $1,400, the almost identical 100-per-cent silk charmeuse bridesmaid version retails for $900.
"The savings are huge and they can still look gorgeous," Staveley said.
"You lose the train a lot of the time but a lot of brides who are looking for a backyard wedding or a simple destination wedding, they don't want the train anyway."
The average price for a short, white bridesmaid dress is around $500 to $600, while a longer version retails for $600 to $900. Some white bridesmaid dresses cost more than their coloured counterparts because of the necessity of a thicker lining. Sometimes white dresses are manufactured in a separate facility to ensure they don't come into contact with any fabric dyes.
There will be an estimated 158,000 weddings in Canada this year alone.