Summer weddings are fast approaching, and whether you're racing to the altar or taking your sweet time, everyone knows their budget. If you find that instead of a couture gown, you'd rather toss your cash (lots of cash) toward the St. John honeymoon of your dreams, we can't blame you. Believe it or not, it is totally possible to tie the knot without unraveling your finances. We've found Chicago's best wedding rentals to help you create the nuptials of your dreams, on a smart budget. Rent gowns, jewels, bags, even one-on-one time with glamour gurus to ensure that on your wedding day, you look like a million bucks.
The Frock Shop
As the saying goes, you're (hopefully) only going to wear this once, so we can understand it might be hard to drop the equivalent of a hybrid Honda on your wedding gown. The Frock Shop has a solution. Browse online through their selection of wedding gowns (and formal gowns, if wearing white isn't your thing). Then schedule your rental. You can pick up, alter, and wear a wedding gown just as you would if you were buying it—but you're not. The process is super easy, and will leave you with plenty of time (and money), for other wedding fun stuff.
WhiteXchangeIf you've already bought a dress (sorry babe), but still want to get in on the money-saving action, you've got options. WhiteXchange is a Chicago-based service for brides looking to score some post-wedding cash. List your dress for sale and let WhiteXchange take care of all details. Then score all the weird stuff on your registry that nobody was into. For the bride-to-be, WhiteXchange sells gently used wedding gowns for budget-savvy brides. You'll have all the brands and styles you love to choose from, but the price tags aren't as coma-inducing.
Little Borrowed Dress
Bridesmaids matter too! If you'd like your wedding party to continue speaking to you once the “I Do's” are over, keep their budgets in mind. As cute as you think your bridesmaid dresses are, there is no guarantee that they'll truly "wear it again". Sorry. Little Borrowed Dress is a hot rental site for bridesmaids who want to participate in their beloved friends' wedding days, without diminishing hopes of someday throwing their own bash. Pick your bridesmaid dresses from Little Borrowed Dress' collection, choosing the styles and colors you love. Next, link your bridesmaids and bask in their sighs of relief and thank-yous.
On your wedding day, if you want more on your arm than your new spouse, but find that fine jewelry isn't in the financial cards,—borrow it! Sure you can ask Mom, but if your styles don't match up, Adorn can help. Browse online through an endless (seriously, we couldn't stop) collection of rentable jewelry perfect for accessorizing the biggest day ever. Rental prices are not at all scary, especially when you consider purchasing the same pieces. Diamonds are a huge wedding budget-suck, but they're still really, really pretty. Grab all the bridal bling you want, and it's okay to be sad when you take it back—we won't tell.
Bag Borrow Steal, now Avelle
You (and your bridesmaids) might need something to tote your touch-up kits around in all night, and your more-than-gently-used Coach bag from college ain't gonna cut it. If you don't have room in your budget to add an elegant clutch to your collection (or if you don't want to ask your bridesmaids to do the same—nice girl), just rent one. Avelle has a library of gorgeous designer clutches to choose from, rentable by the week or the month. You've got enough to commit to right now, anyway.
Not everyone travels with a glam squad. Okay, the vast majority of the population doesn't travel with a glam squad. Some of us prefer to DIY, and we still look great doing it. Since wedding day beauty is a bit more noticeable than say, a trip to Dominicks, it's okay to enlist the help of a professional or two. A budget-wise way to do this is to take a bridal make up lesson from Sonia Roselli. In just two hours, you'll learn how to put your game face on for the big day (and beyond!). This is a stellar solution for destination weddings, too. Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a woman to glam-up, she'll be a fox forever.