Photo credit: Laurel & Wolf
These days being a bride isn't as easy as it used to be. You deal with the soaring costs of flowers and DJs, photographers and the venue fee. Luckily, the wedding industry has evolved in a positive direction in one aspect: Bridesmaid dresses!
In 2015, Kelsey Doorey founded Vow To Be Chic, a bridesmaid dress rental service that allows savvy bride-to-be's select bridesmaid dresses from premium retailers that their bridesmaids can rent at a fraction of the cost of purchasing.
"Men have been renting tuxes for decades, but women never get to," Doorey lamented before explaining that the last straw for her was attending an out of state wedding where her then-boyfriend just walked into a tux shop and rented a tux, and she was forced to run all over the city getting her bridesmaid dress, having it tailored and getting saddled with a massive bill at the end for a dress she'd never wear again.
The company carries gowns from popular designers like Jenny Yoo, Monique Lhuillier, Nicole Miller and Theia and has tons of different color palettes to choose from. Plus, their stylists are skilled in the art of dressing gals, so if you've got concerns about color selection or how to properly get the "mixed look," they have you covered.
We sat down with Doorey to get the scoop on why she wanted to found the company and why renting is better for your bridesmaids' bank accounts and sanity!
1) Take the guesswork out of whether your friends even want to be your bridesmaids: "When you get asked to be a bridesmaid, you are so excited to be a part of their big day, but on the other hand it's really expensive. You're in your 20s and 30s and you don't have a lot of money to spend. It's this huge dichotomy between I really want to do it and it's such an honor to do it, but I can't afford to do it in the way that she'd like."
2) The myth of shorten the dress, dye the dress and wear it again is -- yes, a myth: "86 percent of bridesmaid dresses are worn once and never again. The new trend is that that you just leave the dress in the hotel room.2.6 billion is spent on bridesmaid dresses and 2.2 billion of those are either thrown in the trash or never worn again. It's a horrible waste of money."
(Photo: Inside Vow To Be Chic's gorgeous Santa Monica showroom (Credit: Laurel & Wolf.)
3) You can get top brands for way less: "We work with the top designers and we carry their top-performing sellers. We focus on the dresses that we love and we'd wear ourselves. Our team wears the dresses even when we go to the weddings." Buying the dresses can be as expensive as $300-$400 plus alterations, whereas a rental is approximately $95.
4) Forget trying to get everyone to agree on the same dress in a bridal shop: "Millennials often live all across the country from their friends and they don't often all have time to get together, go to the same bridesmaid dress shop and try them on. It's not an enjoyable experience, you'd rather just do it online. You can rent a dress during your lunch break at work just by going to the site. We send you two sizes, you get to try them both on, you save a ton of money and you still get a designer dress."
5) You eliminate the possibility of downgrading the quality of dresses to fit budget: Doorey points out that sometimes one bridesmaid will often ask for a cheaper option when people are buying because they have a salary that doesn't allow them to spend so much on a dress. What happens is the entire bridal party is then forced to take a step down in quality to get to the better budget. That doesn't happen with a rental when it is all the same price-wise.