📸: Lauren Hawkins Photo // @laurahawkinsphoto
A dress for $200? Yes, please! Rent the Dress CT allows elopements and styled shoots to steal the show with jaw-dropping designs.
Sarah Brehant, owner of Sarah Brehant Events, saw the opportunity in the bridal industry. Whenever she would plan styled shoots, bridal gown companies wouldn’t collaborate or have the right sizes for the models. Typically, they would only have size ten and up available for use in shoots. Brehant started Rent the Dress CT with smaller sizes in mind. At first, Rent the Dress CT carried dresses of all sizes, but realized that the smaller dresses really filled in the gap where other bridal businesses lacked. Dress sizes start at zero and vary in custom designs and designer brands.
These dresses aren’t available just to any bride, however. The everyday bride can’t even get their hands on them without a professional planner or photographer, as the dresses aren’t made for full-size weddings. Since the dresses can only be rented for four days (you can tack on each additional day for $50), it’s ideal for elopements and styled shoots with a smaller time frame. That way, after sending back the dress via USPS Priority Mail, more brides can enjoy the lavish gowns.
For a dress that is only meant to be worn once, it’s an eco-friendly option as they circulate many other brides and it’s affordable for those holding a small, intimate ceremony in the mountains, abroad in Europe or even in their backyard. That’s right: you can take these dresses anywhere, but shipping is limited to US residents only.
While Rent the Dress CT holds about 100 dresses, only twenty are continuously rented due to popularity in style and trends. Ranging around $200, most dresses have a corset back and are adjustable, and follow an A-line style with trains as they typically look best in photos. Dresses are circulated for up to two years, depending on trends and wear-and-tear. Once they’ve given all they’ve got, they are donated or sold at a very low cost on Instagram.
So how does it work? Dresses are rented out through a professional planner or photographer, depending on the occasion, and brides can message via Instagram their measurements, preferably taken by a seamstress to maintain accuracy. Dresses cannot be tried on prior to committing. Once a dress is confirmed and shipped to the bride, the four day rental period begins. Smoke bombs are not allowed and dresses cannot be exposed to water, i.e. taken into the ocean or lake, and avoid contact with food altogether. The company has a cleaning policy of $200 if the dress has not received proper care. After serving its purpose, it must be cleaned by the renter (hand-washed or dry cleaned) and returned in its plastic bag and box in the postal mail.
For brides who are just dying to get their hands on the dress and will buy it straight out, the rental company allows a four-day try-on period before sale.
“These are really gorgeous dresses at a really low price,” Brehant says. “It’s super simple and straightforward.”
Rent the Dress CT is based out of Willimantic, CT and shipping is available to US residents only. All dress styles can be viewed on Instagram @rentthedressCT.