It’s billed as one of the biggest days of your life; so, would you choose to rent your wedding dress?
That’s what Carrie Symonds – now Johnson – did when she married the prime minister in a ‘secret’ ceremony at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday.
The 33-year-old mother-of-two tied the knot in a stunning boho-chic gown by Greek designer Christos Costarellos, which costs £2,870 new – but just £45 a day from My Wardrobe HQ.
Carrie hired another three decoy gowns from the eco fashion business to allegedly throw snoops off the scent ahead of her and Boris Johnson’s big day, with the company only finding out they supplied the UK first lady’s dress when they saw the photos.
Carrie Symonds – now Johnson – married Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a ‘secret’ ceremony at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday wearing a rented gown
Carrie hired her £2,870 wedding dress by designer Christos Costarellos for just £45 from MyWardrobeHQ, and said she was ‘very, very happy’
Since the news broke that Mrs Johnson hired her frock, My Wardrobe HQ founder and CEO Sacha Newall told The Daily Telegraph they’ve had around 250 enquiries about bridal rentals.
‘We’ve had a massive surge in rental enquiries, especially relating to bridalwear,’ she told the publication. ‘Now that Carrie has championed it as a sustainable option, it’s just going to grow and grow. This could be transformative.’
My Wardrobe HQ isn’t the only clothes rental platform that offers bridalwear; By Rotation, Girl Meets Dress, Something Borrowed Bridal and Our Closet all feature a range of dresses to appeal to brides.
Last year By Rotation said searches for bridalwear had surged 650 per cent since March 2020, when many brides were forced to scale down their weddings due to the pandemic.
A Stella McCartney gown worth £2,800 on By Rotation is yours for just £60 a day – with a minimum rental period of three days
On My Wardrobe HQ, a Galia Lahav Madonna gown, available in a size 8, is available for £124 a day. Its recommended retail price is £8,450
A Lela Rose Green Gables gown which sells for £6,400 can be rented for £95 a day – or bought second hand for £2,000
While renting a dress isn’t a new phenomenon, the fact more brides are choosing to do so – as opposed to it being a necessity due to a tight budget – is a shift.
Hiring a gown can also make a high end designer that may typically be out of a bride’s price range more accessible.
A Stella McCartney gown worth £2,800 on By Rotation is yours for just £60 a day – with a minimum rental period of three days.
On My Wardrobe HQ, a Galia Lahav Madonna gown, available in a size 8, is available for £124 a day. Its recommended retail price is £8,450.
This Peter Langer Penelope Dress on My Wardrobe HQ is available for rent from £84 – it’s worth £5,650
This Pallas Couture Annalina Dress can be rented on My Wardrobe HQ from £91 a day – its RRP is £6,075
A Monique Lhuiller Holly dress worth £8,050 can be rented from £119 a day or bought for £3,000
The Stefania wedding dress by Mira Zwillinger which retails at £12,000 can be rented for two days costing £400 a day
This Laura Ashley gown from the Sigrid Maria Vintage collection retails at £265 but can be rented for just £8 a day
And a Lela Rose Green Gables gown which sells for £6,400 can be rented for £95 a day – or bought second hand for £2,000.
There’s also the sustainable element of renting or buying a second-hand a gown, and the process can be a lot quicker than buying one, which often requires numerous fittings if made to measure.
Fashion rental site HURR launched HURR Bridal last year and the site saw a surge of over 268 per cent of brides-to-be on the hunt for rentals, some booking as far ahead as Autumn 2022.
Co-founder Victoria Prew said: ‘We have seen a steady and increasing interest in bridal, but the web traffic and bookings accelerated notably over the Bank Holiday weekend. As an ideal time for planning, the long weekend gave brides a chance to plan a more sustainable wedding dress option.’
Sacha predicts rental will end up worth 20 per cent of the UK bridal market if it goes the way it’s heading across the pond in the US – nearly £60million a year based on 2018 figures.
Tamsin Chislett, co-founder of rental subscription service Onloan, told the Telegraph that rental ‘provides the dopamine hit of newness but without actually buying something new that you might get bored of’.
‘The boom in rental signifies a renewed excitement around fashion and getting dressed up. It’s a return to fashion giving us joy,’ she added.