The Bride’s Guide to Renting a Wedding Dress. Is It the Most Sustainable Choice?


When it comes to your wedding day, is renting a wedding dress the secret to being a sustainable bride? It may just be more beneficial than you think.

Sustainability is more than just a buzzword — it is a lifestyle for those who care about the planet. And that ethos shouldn’t have to be paused on your wedding day. There are lots of ways to have a sustainable wedding, and renting a wedding dress plays a key part. It is not only good for the planet but also for your budget.

From swimwear to activewear, sustainability is at the forefront of fashion these days. Wedding dresses are no exception. A lot are now made with attention to eco-friendly practices, such as the choice of material. If you want to be a sustainable bride, you might also want to consider wedding dress rental. 

Why is wedding dress rental sustainable?

Among others, one of the reasons why wedding dress rental is sustainable is because it minimizes waste. Most wedding dresses are worn only once. Hence, if you have one custom-made or bought brand-new, it will most likely just end up unused for years in the cabinet. The time will come when you might just throw it away; although, you can choose to give it away or donate it. 

Married couple
Married couple, courtesy. Andre Hunter | Unsplash

From limited usage to material waste, wedding dresses have significant environmental impacts. Not to mention, it requires a lot of time and energy to create a single dress. With such, renting can present a greener alternative. They require the same time, energy, and material to produce, but rented dresses can be reused tens or even hundreds of times. Rental extends the functional life of clothes, keeps them out of landfills, and reduces emissions.

The best thing about wedding dress rental is that you can enjoy a multitude of benefits beyond doing something good for the environment. It is budget-friendly. Not to mention, it eliminates storage and maintenance woes since you do not have to worry about the upkeep of the dress over time. 

Finding the right sustainable wedding dress 

To help you pick the right wedding dress to rent, here are some of the most important considerations.

1. Start with a peg 

Renting a wedding dress can be overwhelming. The dresses are available in a wide array of materials and designs. To start off, you need to have a peg. What you can do is go online and search for the styles that you want. This way, when you go to a rental shop, you have something to show them, and they will provide you with recommendations. 

2. Choose sustainable materials 

If you want to be sustainable at your wedding, choose a dress made using eco-friendly materials. For instance, you will find dresses made using scrap fabrics. Also, plant-based fibers are the best for sustainability. Some of the best examples of such are organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, and linen. 

Wedding venue
Wedding venue, courtesy Carlo Buttinoni | Unsplash

3. Consider logistics 

If sustainability is your goal, it does not make sense to rent a wedding dress from abroad or any other location that will require long transport. Such will offset the benefits of sustainable dresses. If possible, choose from a rental company nearest your wedding location. This way, the dress will not need to travel far, which also means that you will be minimizing carbon emissions. 

4. Research the store

Take the time to research the rental shop at which you plan to get a wedding dress. Go online, read reviews, and consider what other people are saying. The best options are stores that have a proactive approach to promoting sustainability beyond their dresses. They must have other initiatives in going green. 

5. Know the brand 

Support brands that are one with you in your causes. As you go to the rental shop and look for potential dresses, look at the brand. Research how these brands are approaching sustainability. The company should be proactive in promoting what is good for the planet. It goes without saying that you should not be supporting brands that are known for exploitation, whether it is of humans or other resources. 

Online wedding dress rental platforms

Check your local bridal shops for rental options. There are also online rental options as well from platforms like the following. Not doing a traditional white wedding dress? You can peruse other clothing rental platforms (like Nuuly or Vince Unfold) for stunning dresses for any style.

short wedding dress

Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway offers more than just wedding dresses, but the wedding dresses are sublime. You can use the RTR Reserve program to ensure the dress you want is available on your dates, too.

woman in long wedding dress

Dare & Dazzle

This Bay Area service will give you the boutique experience wherever you are (in the U.S.). You’ll have a 3-day “try-on” option to try up to 3 dresses to find that perfect fit.

dress outlet

The Dress Outlet

Find a dress for any style or budget at The Dress Outlet. It’s a perfect go-to for the mother of the bride, bridesmaids, and wedding guests, too.

Go Beyond the Wedding Dress 

Renting a wedding dress alone is not enough if you want to have a sustainable wedding. Below are other things that you should do. 

12Fifteen lab-grown diamond engagement and wedding rings
Courtesy 12FIFTEEN

1. Sustainable jewelry

When it comes to jewelry, lab-grown diamonds are a great alternative to mined. These diamonds are created in a controlled environment and take only a few weeks to produce. This is unlike their natural counterparts, which take millions of years to process. More so, lab-grown diamonds are less labor-intensive. 

2. Send electronic invites 

In this digital age, we do almost anything online, and such should include distributing your wedding invites. Send a digital copy to your guests to minimize paper waste and carbon emissions from the logistics side. If you insist on going for printed invitations, choose eco-friendly paper. 

3. Serve plant-based food

It is not enough to plan a delicious meal. If you want a sustainable wedding, source your food from local suppliers. You are not just helping the community but also minimizing the need for transport. Consider also having a plant-based menu. And of course, single-use plastics have no place on the table! Use sustainable dinnerware for a low-impact meal.

A table setting
A table setting | Annie Spratt | Unsplash

4. Choose the right venue 

Reducing carbon footprint is one of the most important things to consider in an eco-friendly wedding. One thing that will help is to choose an accessible venue, eliminating the need to fly or drive far. Also, evaluate the potential venues and see if they are active as well in promoting sustainability. 

5. Ask for eco-friendly gifts 

If you have a registry, then be specific about your request for eco-friendly gifts. Being sustainable should go beyond your wedding. So, to help you have a green lifestyle, ask your guests to give eco-conscious presents. You might also want to have a charity registry as well.

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