Choose Hire

thchoose hire not buy

In Slovakia (and right across East Europe) hiring your wedding dress is common. In fact more brides hire their wedding dress in Slovakia than buy. I think this custom should come to the UK. There are a few bridal shops that either specialise in or offer a hire service, but they are few and far between.

The cost of wedding dresses can be quite a shock to a newly engaged lady, I know it was a shock to me! The cost of high-end designer wedding dresses, can mean that a bride-to-be will lower her expectations and look at cheaper designers, look on the high street or buy a second hand dress. I am an advocate for all of these options as great ways to save money. But what do you do if you want a wedding dress from this season made by a top designer but you don’t want to spend thousands for it? Hire is the answer.

Think how many weddings you’ve been too where the groom and grooms-men are wearing hired suits. If you’re planning your own wedding or have recently got married it is most likely that your groom will be wearing/did wear a hired suit. If a hired suit is good enough for the groom why not a hired gown for the bride?

One of the massive benefits of hiring your dress is that you can wear a designer you may not have been able to afford to have if you were buying the dress. Many bridal shops have to make difficult decisions about what stock to carry; often choosing not to carry high-end designer dresses due to fear they will sit on the shelves for a long time before being bought. A bridal dress hire shop is more likely to carry a high-end designer gown because they can hire it out a number of times at £500 much more easily than a conventional bridal shop could sell at £3,000.

By renting a dress you will not only gain budget savings and have the dress of your dreams but you will also save on the stress of caring for the dress and the worry of storing it.

Bridal shops with a Hire service across the UK
Cardiff: To Have & To Hire Ltd
London (Tottenham): Vonlee Bridal Hire
Surrey: From Me To You Hire
UK wide: Chic-By-Choice

If you know of any other bridal shops that offer a hire service please do let me know, either by commenting or my emailing me at so I can add them on to this list.

Monika hired her wedding dress in this Real Budget Wedding Feature published on 19th September 2017

Choose Hire

9 days until I attend a Wedding!


In 9 days time I am attending a wedding! The wedding is the H2Bs Aunts second wedding. The venue is a hotel near by which is very popular for weddings within the local area. My aunt got married at the hotel 12 year ago, although I don’t remember much about the venue except my parents complaining about how expensive the drinks at the bar were.

I’m very excited about attending as I am a sucker for a good wedding. As most girls do I’ve bought myself a new dress from Phase Eight. It can be hard to choose the right outfit, and everyone has a different style, but I follow a few simple rules to make choosing an outfit a lot easier:

  • Do not wear a white dress
  • Do not wear a black dress (unless the colour theme has black in it or unless you are attending the evening only)
  • If you know the colour the bridesmaids are wearing, do not wear the same colour (as block colour)
  • Ensure your outfit is not too revealing

Following my rules I found my Phase Eight dress. I do not know the colour theme of the wedding as the invites gave no indication, but as the dress is patterned I don’t have to worry. I will be teaming the dress with grey sandals and a grey/sparkly clutch.

 In 2010 I attended my first wedding as an adult where I wore a knee length red dress then last year I attended three weddings – what a great year that was! 😀 The first wedding was a church ceremony in May, the H2B and I strangely enough attended the ceremony only. The other two weddings were both in August, but as one was the H2Bs family and the other a school friend of mine I decided to wear the same dress to both of the weddings in August. For the May wedding I wore a knee length pattered cream, black and orange dress and for the two in August I wore a plain navy blue knee length dress. I teamed the navy dress with a cream shrug, pink shoes and a pink clutch.
wedding guest dressI got a lot of compliments on the above dress – even from the Vicar of all people! I may go safe when it comes to the dresses I choose for attending as a guest, but the dresses are always well received from other people and I’ve never had to worry about an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction being caught by the photographer.

After the wedding – in 9 days!!!! – I will post all about it. Watch this space for the wedding review.

Chanticleer Brides

My dream is to find a way to save up enough for a Chanticleer gown. If I couldn’t I pray I will be able to get one in a sample sale/end of line sale I would be one of the happiest Brides-2-B around!

If you are a Bride-2-B and use twitter you should check out #BrideHour which is every Thursday or #WeddingHour every Wednesday as I have met some wonderful suppliers while participating in these Twitter event. Chanticleer Brides is one of my favourite finds. My heart now belongs to one dress in-particular – ‘Sweet Briar’, however there are others I love nearly as much.

Sweet Briar

I think I’ll be popping to my local stockist later on this year to try this dream gown on.

Say Yes To The Dress

TV shows such as ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ have made wonder: What is the best number of people to take with you when trying on dresses?

Many Brides-2-B on the show take huge entourages with them when they try on wedding dresses. Although I can see the sentimental reason for having, both your mother and the mother in-law-2-be, sisters, grand mothers, bridesmaids etc with you, it is also worth baring in mind that everyone has their own idea about what the perfect wedding dress may be, and their ideas could well differ greatly from your own.

I always feel sorry for brides when they come out in the type of dress they have their heart set on only to have their entourage dismiss the dress or say that they don’t like it. I feel even more for the Bride when she then dismisses a dress, that had she be on her own she would have chosen as ‘The Dress’ because her family and friends don’t like it.

Of course women decide to have these people with them because they’re the brides nearest and dearest and their opinion is important. From watching more episodes than I care to admit, my advice to any Bride-2-B, would be to advise your entourage what you are looking for, or what type of style you wish to achieve from your dress, so that they may be more considerate of YOUR opinion of the dress you have on before voicing their own opinion.

Lastly I would say that if your guests do voice opinions on the dress/es you are trying on that differ vastly from yours, remember this is your dress, your wedding day and ultimately you should choose a dress YOU love, because all that matters is you love it! When you look back at your wedding photos over the years to come you should be able to smile knowing that the dress you wore on your wedding day was the dress of your dreams.

What do you think?
How many people did you take with you or how many people are you thinking of taking?
Do you regret the number of people you took with you when trying on dresses?

The Budget Dress

For the budget bride, the dress can be a real worry. We still want the perfect dress but don’t want to have to pay through the roof or break our wedding budget for it.

One great way to pick up your perfect dress at a discount rate, is to go 2nd hand. Charity shops like Oxfam have shops designated for wedding dresses and other wedding day items such as veils and shoes that have been donated by brides who decide not to keep them.

Brides also sell their wedding dresses on wedding forums such as, and the dresses are regularly this seasons as they often sell only a couple of months after the wedding day.

There are a ton of dress makers on eBay, who also do very good wedding dresses that can be made to be very similar to that designer dress you’ve been lusting after but can’t afford. When looking at dress makers on eBay, be very careful and choose wisely. Make sure to check out their reviews fully before choosing which one to go for, as the reviews will tell you a lot about the quality of fabric used, the overall turnout of the dress and the speed of turn around from ordering to being delivered. Also, check out this Facebook page that warns you which eBay wedding dress sellers to steer clear of.

Bridal shops also have sales, selling off last seasons stock and end of lines. This isn’t the place to be looking for the best deals as such, but at least you’ll know the dress is yours and not been worn by any other bride on her wedding day. Many of the dresses may be ex-demo dresses, so will have been tried on by other bride-to-be’s so make sure you check the stitching on the dress to make sure it is till good. Any pulled stitching or hanging detailing and make sure the bridal shop fix it for you FOC.

Don’t forget the highstreet! There are loads of highstreet shops that sell wedding dresses too. Lovely styles at really good prices. Check out my previous posts for where to shop.

However you obtain your dress for your big day I also advise any bride to try on a range of styles before settling on which one to go for. The reason for this is because often you’ll think you know what you are looking for and what style of dress you’d like, but you never really know until you try them on, and you might be quite surprised at what looks amazing on you when you get in the shops and start having a play.

Cable Wedding Dress

So this year Hubby 2 B and I went to the Gadget Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham. He kept begging me for years to buy him tickets to go see it. So this Christmas I finally did just that; and it was as awsome as it promised to be.

If I have a tip for anyone else who is with a geeky guy and wants to go to TGSL book early! The Super Theatre books out early, and when I got to booking the tickets in November the only time that had space left for the Super Theatre was 4.30. We got to the NEC at 9.30 in the morning. The time from then until 13.30 flew by. But at 13.30 we’d been around all the stalls twice and our legs were killing us but we had to wait until 4.30 for the Super Theatre. Which was a pain on our enthusiasm and on our feet.

The Super Theatre was worth the wait though! It was awsome, and I would do it all again!

However, while at the GSL I saw something that I think geeky brides2B would have loved as much as I did when I saw it.

Drum roll please…

It was the first wedding related thing in ages that had actually put a smile on the Hubby 2Bs face.

It isn’t actually a wedding dress obviously but made to look like one from a distance, then you get closer and it is all wires and cables.

What do you think? Pretty Geeky huh?

An Evening Dress Perhaps?

Even a budget bride can have an evening dress (AKA Going Away Dress). That’s right I said you can have an evening dress! All you have to do is find a dress within your budget.

An evening dress can be a lovely thing to have. Some wedding dresses aren’t exactly easy to dance in. Even if your dress can be bustled, you may not like the look of it bustled, or you may love dancing and even when bustled still feel too restricted in your big wedding dress. What ever your reason for wanting an evening dress, I’d like to see if I can help you realise your dream.

Out of the obvious choices (Debenhams, Littlewoods, Moonsoon, BHS) BHS is the website that I have found to have the best range of short dresses at the best prices. The other sites did have small collections of short dresses but they were £100+.

All the ones I have found on the BHS website are under £100 even when not at sale price. The prices I have shown next to the name of the dress are the full price.

Eleanor Ivory Satin Bridal Dress £90

Cecily Ivory Bridal Dress £90

If you have a slightly higher budget for your wedding dress and can look up to the £300 region then I have always loved phase eight!

You don’t have to go for a knee length dress for the evening, but it can be nice to do so, if you have worn a full length bridal gown during the day. In fact you don’t even have to go for a cream/white dress if you don’t want to. Many brides opt for a coloured dress, either the same colour as their wedding theme or blue is a popular choice as the brides something blue.
Will you be having an evening dress?