If you don’t know about Rent the Runway, it is a dress rental service that allows you “rent” designer dresses for special occasions (weddings, parties, important meetings, etc.). If you’re a bit skeptical about how this is all works (like I was!) today I am sharing my experience with Rent the Runway and giving you a few tips for using this ingenious service.
Rent the Runway has become to go-to service for many on the wedding circuit. I don’t have a lot of friends getting married anymore, but I recently used Rent the Runway because I had a lot of wedding festivities to attend during my cousin’s wedding weekend and didn’t want to buy 3-4 dresses all at once. What made it so fun was that Rent the Runway allowed me to try out designer lines that I may not have otherwise worn.
This is how it works:
Step One: Type in the date of the event, dress size, and zip code. Their search engine will pull up all available dresses in that date range. You will be amazed at their selection! You can rent current Trina Turk and Kate Spade dresses starting at $30! Here is a taste of what you can wear with Rent the Runway:
Step Two: Read their “stylist notes” and browse their customer-submitted photos to find a dress that will fit your body type (and style) best.
The stylist’s notes are honest and will tell you if a dress is super fitted or runs big. But I thought the photos submitted by actual customers were even more helpful.
I knew I wanted to rent a Shoshanna dress (because I have always admired her dresses from afar!). But I know Shoshanna dresses tend to run short. So I browsed the customer photos to see if I thought a particular dress would fit me. (If a customer submits a photo, she will usually note her height which is so helpful to a tall person like me!).
Step Three: When you find the dress you want to rent, select 4 or 8 day rental. Bonus: If available, you can rent a second size in the same style for free! I was able to do that for one of the dresses I rented and it gave me a bit more confidence about ordering.
Then enter your payment and shipping information and you’re done! My dresses arrived just as promised (actually a few days before!).
Step 4: Mail the dresses back after the event! Inside each box is an addressed envelope (with postage!) to mail the dresses back after the event as well as a FREE garment bag for you to keep!. (You know I love a free gift with purchase!). Mail back by the required date and Rent the Runway takes care of the dry cleaning. So easy!
Like I said, I was nervous about whether my dress selections would fit, but they did! And, if they hadn’t fit, I would have contacted Rent the Runway and they would have shipped a new dress in time for my event (or have given me store credit.). Can’t beat that customer service, right?!
So how did my dresses turn out?
For the Rehearsal Dinner I chose a Hunter Bell dress. With it’s uneven hem and cut outs on the side, it’s probably not a dress I would normally purchase, but it was super fun to rent and wear for a night!
The dress I chose for the wedding was a Shoshanna sheath dress and I LOVED it!
If you’re interested in trying Rent the Runway for your next event, here are a few tips:
- Order early. I waited until about two weeks before my event and some of the dresses I really wanted were already rented for my dates. Also, you will have a better chance of securing that second “free” size if you order in advance. I’d say as soon as you get the invitation, go online and book!
- Don’t choose a Sunday return date. For my Saturday event, I chose my four-day rental to start on a Thursday and end on a Sunday. It was kind of stressful to wake up Sunday morning (after a late Saturday night!) and look for a UPS drop box (because UPS stores aren’t open on Sunday!) Looking back, I would choose a Friday – Monday rental!
- Great for out-of-town events = less packing to do! If you are going to an out of town event, you can have your dresses shipped to your hotel or a friend in that city (I did!).
Honestly, I was surprised at how many people who told me at the wedding that they, too, used Rent the Runway on a regular basis (even my aunt’s friends!). One person I met said she knew someone who rented their “Mother of the Bride” dress on Rent the Runway!
Rent the Runway offers first time renters $25 off their first order of $75 or more. (See website for code). Try it out and let me know if you like it!
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