How to Get a Designer Wedding Dress Without Breaking the Bank

Get the scoop on Borrowing Magnolia, the Rent the Runway of wedding gowns.

Photograph via Shutterstock.

Can you imagine if you had to buy everything on your wedding day? Do you think you would ever use the linens, chairs, props, and drapes ever again? For most of you, the answer is no. Luckily, rental companies swooped in to solve our problems by giving us one less thing to stress about: the hefty price tags of purchasing new items. But one load that hasn’t been lessened? The steep cost of buying a wedding dress that likely won’t see the light of day again after you say “I do.” Ashley Steele, Stephanie Olvey, and Cali Brutz teamed up to solve that very problem, and Borrowing Magnolia was born.

Launched in July 2014, the company allows you to either rent a previously owned wedding gown at up to 80 percent off retail or buy it at an extremely discounted rate. “So many aspects of the wedding industry have evolved to fit today’s modern bride—except when it comes to wedding dresses,” co-owner Ashley Steele told the Washingtonian. “We wanted to provide brides a way to wear their dream dress and showcase their style, all without breaking their budget or sacrificing the experience.”

The concept, which takes a similar approach to Rent the Runway, is simple: Browse Borrowing Magnolia’s inventory of more than 200 designer dresses, select three favorites, and pay $99 to have them shipped to your home (the money will go toward whatever dress you ultimately choose). Once you’ve picked a dress, you are responsible for returning it four days after your wedding, unless you decide to purchase it. You can expect various styles from top designers such as Claire Pettibone, Monique Lhuillier, Nicole Miller, Vera Wang, Rivini, and more. And if you’re worried about the quality of the dress, don’t be: Each gown is carefully inspected and handled with extreme care to make your experience feel just like new.

Find Valeria Boucas on Twitter at @valeriaboucas.