When it comes to weddings, renting is a common practice; it's an effective way for couples to save money on big-ticket items. You've got outfit rentals like tuxes and gowns, décor rentals like linens and chairs, and some couples even rent full-blown bouncy castles for their big day. One category people often don't associate with renting? Accessories—which means missing out on a huge opportunity to cut costs even further.
Need a little convincing to get on board? We consulted with experts Brittany Finkle and Lauren Grunstein to break down the basics of renting wedding accessories.
Meet the Expert
- Brittany Finkle is the founder and CEO of Happily Ever Borrowed. She graduated with a degree in Apparel Design from Cornell University and was previously a buyer at companies including Ralph Lauren and Saks Fifth Avenue.
- Lauren Grunstein is the vice president of Verstolo, a fine jewelry company specializing in custom diamond jewelry that offers a Diamond Rental Program.
Why Rent Over Buy?
The first (and most obvious) benefit of renting your accessories is saving money. "Renting just makes sense for those items like veils, headpieces, sashes, or jewelry that aren't going to get any use sitting in the back of your closet for years," says Finkle. "No, your future daughter isn't going to want it (it will yellow no matter how you preserve it), and re-selling veils isn't the easiest venture."
The second benefit of renting your accessories is that it's eco-friendly. "Buying one-time wear items is wasteful, but if you're buying them from overseas as well, you're increasing carbon emissions to get yourself a $20 junky headpiece you can only wear once," Finkle continues. "By renting, you're cutting down on the garbage contributing to landfills of one-time-use items. Take the picture, capture the memory, and send it back."
Which Accessories to Rent
The answer is really, anything! The options are endless when it comes to accessorizing your wedding day look, and renting only gives you more opportunities to have fun with your bridal style.
- Jewelry: Whether you're looking to sport real diamonds or play around with costume baubles, renting your wedding day jewelry is a great alternative to investing in expensive pieces that might not fit into your budget.
- Veil: Your veil is the one wedding accessory you've probably dreamt of wearing your whole life. What you probably haven't dreamt of is the often-shocking price tag. Considering you'll likely only wear it for the ceremony and portraits, your veil is one accessory definitely worth renting.
- Hair accessories: From pins and headbands to tiaras and clips, hair accessories are icing on the cake. They can add a touch of detail, accent your veil, or even transition your beauty look from one phase of the wedding to the next.
- Mother of the bride and groom: Renting isn't just an option for the bride. Let mom get in on the fun and have her browse through items she can style with her outfit. After all, she'll have many moments to shine throughout the event.
- Bridesmaids: Being a bridesmaid is an investment in and of itself, and your bridal party will appreciate any opportunity to stay within budget. It's also an easy way to have your bridesmaids match from head to toe (if you so wish).
Tips for Renting Accessories
Try before you "buy."
"Try different accessories during your bridal gown appointments or fittings to see what type of veils, hair accessories, and jewelry you like," says Finkle. "Once you have an idea of what you like, check the inventory online to see what types of accessories you can borrow that are similar." Grunstein agrees: "If you’ve never worn a major statement earring in your life, your wedding day is probably not the best day to start," she says. "Just like a dress, it’s vital to actually try on the pieces, especially earrings. We encourage our brides to try on as much as possible to ensure they find the perfect piece."
Don't stress about matching.
"There's only one rule of thumb here: If your gown is bright white, you can only go with a bright white veil, says Finkle. "Matching it with anything darker will make it look dingy or dirty. Most gowns are different shades of light ivory and ivory and because veils are such a thin, translucent tulle fabric, most match and blend perfectly with any ivory color."
Identify if your lace is chantilly, alençon, or point d'esprit. Looking for a veil that has the same type of lace will compliment your gown nicely.
Talk to your hairstylist.
Don't fall in love with a bridal hair accessory without talking to your hairstylist first. You may fall in love with a piece, but if you have visions of wearing your hair down and the hairpin you've chosen doesn't work with your hairstyle, it's best not to find that out on your big day.
Consider multiple accessories throughout the day.
"Switching up your accessories for the big day can be a fun way to achieve a different look—and it's cost-effective when you're renting," says Finkle. "For your ceremony, add a veil for down the aisle and maybe some simple jewelry or a sash. When you switch to the reception, put on a statement piece like a large sparkly tiara or headband."
Don't leave it until the last minute.
Most bridal boutiques require at least six to eight weeks for ordering accessories but selecting your accessories at least one month before your wedding date is the preferred lead time.
What steps are involved in renting wedding accessories?
"First, we set up a phone or boutique consultation so we can discuss the bride’s needs and style," says Grunstein. "We then offer options from our handcrafted, custom-designed selection of fine jewelry that best fits her look."
What if it doesn't arrive on time?
"We always recommend you set your arrival date for one or two days before your wedding day," says Finkle. "We do everything in our power to have pieces arrive on time or early to our bride, but there are shipping mishaps! If you know your postman is prone to lost packages select a longer rental time like an eight-day rental period and make sure your arrival is a few days in advance of the big day. "
What if I damage it?
This will vary based on where you're renting from. "Renting an item means it's been worn before and there is definitely some wear and tear on items that have been worn dozens of times," says Finkle. "Our rule of thumb is as long as we feel a bride can confidently walk down the aisle, then it stays in our rotation." Most companies also cover their bases in the event an item gets damaged while in a client's possession. This will also, of course, depend on the value of the item itself. "Verstolo fully insures each and every item while it is in our client’s possession, so they can all enjoy the jewelry worry-free and with peace of mind," says Grunstein.
What are some rental trends for wedding accessories?
"The majority of our brides are renting earrings and pairing it with a delicate diamond bracelet," says Grunstein. "Another trend we’re seeing is clients renting for both their rehearsal dinner look and their after-party look."