Budget-conscious brides are renting wedding dresses through “Airbnb”

Local boutique owners say more and more brides are looking to cut costs on their dresses.

OSSEO, Minn. — Even though Cassidy Gerriets has a degree in clothing design and development, she says she has always hated spending money on clothes. Wedding planning was no exception.

“I feel like I can put the money into something else,” Gerriets said. “You usually only wear [the dress] once. I prefer to put it on the food or on the place itself.”

It’s one of the reasons Gerriets, who is getting married next month, chose to shop at Budget bridal outlet, an Osseo store that only sells dresses under $500. She says other wedding costs have started to rise, due to supply chain issues and likely inflation.

“When I looked at my catering they said some items might be more expensive just because they were harder to get, like chicken… so we had to wait until later for them to get prices precise about things,” she said.

In the end, she landed on a dress that cost around $500 and she was happy with the deal and the styles.

“I get really dolled up…so I feel good,” Gerriets said.

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Owner Anette Hall says she’s seeing an increase in brides on a budget. For nine years, she has owned Bridal aisle shop. In 2020, she hatched a plan to start an outlet where the entire inventory of dresses is priced below $500.

“Brides really want to get a bargain and stick to their budget, looking for their wedding dress,” Hall said. “I think their whole wedding, they like to stay on budget, but it also makes them really excited if they have a thousand dollar budget and they find their dress for less than $500.”

But even if the price is much lower, not everyone wants to buy. In Minneapolis, Andrea Fischer, co-owner of Shop Freya Wildehas its warehouse full of designer dresses available for rent.

“We’re a sharing economy model, which is pretty new to the wedding industry,” Fischer said. “It means that each of these dresses has been loved and personalized by someone.”

Fischer says this immediately relieves price pressure on brides-to-be while helping newlyweds recoup the costs of their wedding.

“So basically if you’re the bride renting your dress for your day, you’re not just paying to get your dress, you’re also helping the bride out before getting back the cost of the labor she put into the dress,” she says.

The original bride will still retain ownership of the dress and will receive a 40% reduction in rental fees, which range from $350 to $750. Fischer says a $180 cleaning fee is also charged, to keep the dresses in pristine condition.

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