Should you rent or buy the outfits for the wedding? There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Renting is easy, convenient and cheap. A wedding dress is a lovely reminder of your special day, but will never be worn again. The more ornate styles of bridesmaid dress would be difficult to alter to make them suitable even for a ball, and so they often suffer the same fate as the wedding dress. They take up space in the wardrobe until, with sentimental suffering and some guilt, they are sold or given to a charity shop. Much better perhaps, to hire all the outfits and let someone else worry about cleaning and storing them afterwards.
The downside of hiring the outfits is that dress hire shops are pretty generic. You are likely to end up wearing the same dress that hundreds of other girls have worn and one of hundreds of copies. Some may feel that it can take some of the romance away from the occasion.
Of course, there are hire companies who specialise in much more exclusive dresses, including vintage and designer dresses. This could be a way to enjoy the benefits of renting without compromising the romance – if this was an concern.
For the men, on the other hand, wedding suits are fairly generic anyway, on the whole. If the fathers, the groom and his best man are unlikely to need a suit again, it may be more sensible to simply hire one. The hire company will be able to provide shirts and ties as well, or you could compromise by having a hired suit and a tie bought specially for the occasion.
Buying the outfits is definitely the best way if you want a unique style. This applies to men as well as women, for example at the wedding of a Pakistani friend of mine and his boyfriend, the pair both wore traditional Indian silk suits with Nehru collars. They looked amazing and proved that men don’t always have to simply act as foils for the more decorative women.
Buying means you can have your outfit made to measure, so it will fit perfectly and you can discuss design details with your dressmaker or tailor. Although hired dresses and jackets can be adjusted to fit, it’s not the same as having the garments constructed exactly for your size and shape.
Buying the attendants’ outfits can be a lovely way to give them a gift to thank them for their contribution to your wedding and they then have a keepsake to remind them of their friendship with you. If the bridesmaids’ dresses are designed appropriately, they can be shortened to become a party dress. This works particularly well for little girls.
If the men regularly wear suits, the wedding suit can also be designed to be simplified for the office. It would be a real treat to have a tailored suit in a beautiful fabric to wear for work, and even though tailored garments are expensive, a good suit is an investment that can stay smart for years, especially if it is dry-cleaned and alternated with another suit.
The answer is probably to look carefully at both choices and to pick the best aspects from both.