*This blog post is sponsored by Laine London. Although all services and pieces were gifted to me, my opinion is all my own. If you purchase through my affiliate links I do receive a small commission. Thank you for your support.
Planning a wedding is not an easy feat. My husband and I had planned our wedding for May 2020 not anticipating the pandemic in the midst, so when we made the choice to postpone it, we basically had to plan it all over again.
If you're currently planning a wedding, you know they come with a lot of expenses, but, arguably, one of the most important items to a bride is the bridal gown.
According to The Knot, the average amount a bride can expect to pay for their gown is $1,631 USD.
Insider also published a state-by-state breakdown of the average amount a bride spends on their bridal gown. In every state, they paid more than $1,000 USD — except South Dakota, where the average was $929 USD. New York brides spent $2,463 USD.
Why Rent Your Bridal Gown?
As a budget-conscious bride, two concepts that were important to me were practicality and sustainability. Huge questions I had to answer about my wedding dress were “What are you going to do with your gown after the wedding?” Do you want to pay a steep fee to have it cleaned and stored? Do you think you can pass it along to your daughter? What If you only have sons?
The thought of my bridal gown collecting dust in the back of my closet, never to see the light of day didn’t sit right with me.
We are in the age of the shared economy. We order Uber and Lyfts from strangers, We enjoy a little R&R in other people's homes or apartments via Air bnb or Vrbo and can I just say it’s the norm to assume a groom will rent his tux, so why can’t brides do the same?
So I went to Google and Instagram to search for my “something borrowed” and Laine London Bridal Boutique popped up.
Who is Laine London?
Established in 2018 and based in Atlanta, Laine London is a first-of-its-kind black woman-owned rental bridal shop providing a chic and inclusive experience at sensible prices for everyone and everybody. They are a one-stop shop and carry not only bridal gowns but accessories, including veils and Badgley Mischka shoes.
From A-line and ballroom to mermaid and curvy hugging styles, you'll find dresses in just every style a bride could want, with bridal gown rentals starting at $299 USD.
What Is The Process Of Renting A Bridal Gown At Laine London?
You can book an appointment online or you can call or text the boutique. What I love is that they are open all week, not just on the weekends like many traditional wedding boutiques or dress shops.
They have two main bridal appointment options:
Their 60 minute appointment is what I like to call the “I’m just looking” This could be a great option if it's the first time trying on bridal gowns. Your personalized stylists will help you navigate the wedding world and educate you on styles and materials. They take your measurements and you and your stylist can figure out your own personal style and narrow your selections between 3-5 options.
Then they have their 90-minute appointment which I like to call “I’m ready to say yes to the dress” This could be a great time to bring your mom, maid of honor, or closest girlfriends. You’ve narrowed down your selections and can control the appointment with your stylist right by your side.
Since my wedding was 6 weeks away, I opted for the 90-minute appointment in the middle of the week and came alone, with no bride squad. I didn’t want to deal with anyone's opinions, advice, or have any other person try to change my mind. I wanted to have my time to form my own thoughts and feel good about my choices.
I had a ball with my stylist and co-founder of Laine London, Tiffany. It was so freeing. I was the only bride in the building. We listened to music on my personalized pandora station, sipped champagne and I said yes to the dress!
The selection is nothing I’ve seen. They have carefully curated and selected 200 bridal gowns in the boutique. I love that I didn’t recognize the same designers or styles I’ve seen at other boutiques because it made me feel like my dress was very unique.
How Does Laine London Select Bridal Gowns?
They have exclusive designer partnerships and carry exquisite gowns from Justin Alexander, Tarik Ediz, Oksana Mukha, Pollardi Fashion Group that come in a
variety of materials as well like crepe, chiffon, tulle, satin, etc.
Laine London also group bridal gowns by specific price ranges. So if your budget is between $299 USD - $599 USD they will show you gowns in that range. So when you do fall in love with the one, you can feel good about staying within budget as well.
What Size Are Available At Laine London?
They have sizes available from 0-32 They make sure no matter what shape or size, there are multiple sizes and styles you can feel comfortable in. This is an aspect I love to see because I’ve walked into other bridal boutiques and a size 12 (my size) is the highest they go which doesn’t help with body neutrality. Just because you’re a different size than society says you should be, doesn’t mean you should have to compromise or settle for something else on your special day and Laine London understands that.
Are Alterations Available At Laine London?
Yes, the best part is you can rent and custom fit your gown to your body with the help of their alterations team — led by the award-winning Nancy Yan. Before she was a part of the Laine London team, Nancy worked at HBO and helped create costumes for shows.
There are two alteration packages:
The first is the “Fit Me Pretty” package and it starts at $299 USD and includes: hemming, bustle, straps, and side seam take-ins.
The second is the “Express” package and is $499 USD This is for the bride who is on a tight timeline and includes the same benefits as above but you can enjoy your gown on time, professionally dry cleaned, and completely fitted to your body in under 30 days.
This is the option I chose. After picking my dream wedding gown, I came to the boutique 1x a week for 3 weeks to add a bustle, a bridal sash, and other small details so my dress fit me like a glove. The first alteration appointment was around 30 minutes but the others were 15 minutes or less and you’re out the door.
What Are The Expected Savings Of Renting A Bridal Gown At Laine London As Opposed To Buying?
Remember, the average bridal gown cost around $1600 USD. But it doesn’t stop there. You need to remember alterations, dry cleaning, and paying for storage. So there is a lot of costs associated with it.
Laine London bridal gowns range from $299 USD - $1700 USD and the average rental is around $750 USD to $800 USD.
If you get alterations, a veil, sash, basically your complete look, you can expect to pay around $1500 USD, which for most brides is just the purchase of the bridal gown alone.
Renting allows you to wear what would have been a very expensive dress for a fraction of the price.
What If You Prefer To Purchase A Bridal Gown At Laine London Instead?
There are options for everyone. If you’re apprehensive about renting your bridal gown and want to purchase it instead, they have a Bridal Buy Back Program. Once you’ve purchased from Laine London you are able to return the gown up to 24 hours after your wedding date and get a percentage of your money back.
It’s a great way to have peace of mind and if you do decide to return, that money can maybe be put towards your honeymoon, savings, or whatever your heart desires.
Experience Over Ownership
The bridal gown I picked for my special day was a Justin Alexander A-line ballroom style. It had a sweetheart neckline and beautiful volume and drama which I loved. It was timeless and classic and exactly what I wanted.
Just like with my everyday clothing investments, calculating the cost per wear for my bridal gown was crucial.
It wasn’t practical to spend thousands of dollars on something I’m only going to wear for 6 hours.
It’s a breath of fresh air to experience my Cinderella moment knowing other brides would be able to witness the essence and charm of the bridal gown as well.
Laine London is giving brides the option to contribute less waste in the world, and still achieve the wedding look of their dreams.
The team truly cares about a bride's wants and needs from the minute she walks into the door to when she is ready to return.
If you are ready to have the Laine London Bridal Experience, you can find them at:
TAP here to use my affiliate link to book your appointment or mention my socials or this blogpost to save on your bridal gown rental and accessories.
Whew, we’ve finally reached the end of this post! I also created a youtube video about my experience. Watch here. Be sure to check out my Name Change Process post to hear about my post-wedding duties.
Knowing that this is now an option, would you rent your wedding dress? Tell below in the comments.