A sustainable and budget-friendly way to shop for your wedding dress

05 Aug 2021

Buying pre-loved or renting your wedding dress offers more benefits than you might think 

All images: Getty Images

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The average cost of a UK wedding now exceeds £17,000. With the average UK salary standing at £24,600 and the continuing cost-of-living burden, it is no wonder that brides- and grooms-to-be are feeling the pinch when it comes to their wedding budget. From DIY wedding décor to asking family and friends for favours on the day, there is a wealth of ways couples can cut back on their wedding spend.

More and more brides are also looking at options to save on their wedding dress, with the average dress costing between £1,000 to £2,000. Budget-savvy brides are increasingly considering vintage and pre-loved wedding dress websites, such as Sell My Wedding, and eco-conscious couples are also in favour of the more sustainable approach to wedding dress shopping. 

Pre-loved wedding dress website StillWhite has saved more than 200,000kg of carbon emissions and 180million litres of water in clothing production by reselling over 20,000 dresses.


Laura Hilton, owner of Threads Bridal in Norfolk, launched her business in June 2021 after she had to postpone her wedding three times and was made redundant during the pandemic. Drawing on her experience of wedding dress shopping, Laura decided to open a bridal boutique that stocks pre-loved gowns and encourage brides to share and re-wear. 

Laura says: "Not only was it a cost effective choice but the dresses on offer have had very little environmental impact on the planet, which was important to me. The stigma attached to wearing a second-hand wedding dress is long gone with it now becoming fashionable to re-wear a dress. The message globally that we're hearing is to reduce, reuse and re-wear, so if I can offer brides a second choice when choosing a wedding dress, I feel as though I am helping in some way or another."


Wedding dress rental is also in high demand. Carrie Symonds chose to rent her dress for her wedding to Boris Johnson in May 2021. The beautiful bohemian gown by bridal designer Christos Costarellos was loaned for £45 a day by MyWardrobe HQ, saving Carrie the £2,830 price tag. 

A recent survey by UK waste prevention company BusinessWaste.co.uk found that 40% of the 2,100 brides questioned would hire a dress for their wedding day. Asked why they would do so, many stated that they would rather put their money towards their future as a married couple.


Looking for a dress to rent is bride-to-be Myriam Barnes from Doncaster, who comments: "I just think you get more choice, rather than what’s in ‘fashion’ at the moment, so I can get something really unique that will suit my personality. Plus, I don’t have to worry about getting it professionally cleaned afterwards or figure out where to store it – I can just hand it back."

Bride-to-be Sarah Epstone, who is getting married in 2022, is also looking at renting her dream dress. She said: “I’d rather we made some memories just for the two of us rather than being selfish with the cash and spending it on my dress for the day. We’re trying to save for a mortgage, so financially it really doesn’t make sense to me.”

Wedding dresses made using ethical and sustainable methods are also soaring in popularity. Naya Bridal in Norfolk is one such business which is blazing a trail in the industry. 

Whether you choose to shop pre-loved, rent your wedding dress or buy brand new, it is a personal choice that only a bride can make with their wedding budget and beliefs in mind. 

Did you wear a pre-loved gown or rent a dress for your wedding day? Get in touch; email sarah.harris@archant.co.uk

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