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Rent-O-Rent offers bridal gowns that are both economical and elegant

Rent-O-Rent offers bridal gowns that are both economical and elegant

Remember the good luck charm for brides that recommends ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’? There is one more line added to that especially for brides on a budget — ‘something hired’.

“A well-tailored wedding gown is rarely available for less than ₹30,000. Earlier, young women would have an opportunity to reuse these dresses after their wedding, so the investment would be somewhat justified. But, nowadays, with photographs of the newly weds flooding social media platforms, no bride wants to be seen again in that gown. So after that one day, it just sits in the wardrobe. This is why we brought in rented gowns,” says Uma Ravi, proprietor, Rent-O-Rent, The Bride Shop.

Uma Ravi, proprietor of Rent-O-Rent

Uma Ravi, proprietor of Rent-O-Rent  
| Photo Credit:
M Moorthy

Uma is collaborating with her son, Rathish, in Rent-O-Rent, which as its name suggests, offers wedding gowns for hire. The shop that stands in Karur Bypass Road in Tiruchi, recently opened a branch at RS Puram in Coimbatore, and is heading to Madurai in a few months.

Queen Victoria is thought to have popularised the white wedding gown when she got married to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840; the cream-coloured satin dress was considered an unusual choice in days when brides simply used to pick out their best available outfits (often something dark so that the party food stains wouldn’t show) and head to the altar.

But the trend to feel like a royal, if only for a day, has weathered many a storm including world wars and financial downturns, and now Christian wedding couture in India has adapted itself to a new concept: hired gowns.

Here comes the bride…

  • White dominates the colour palette, though there are options like pink, gold mesh and blue, that are more suited to Indian complexions.
  • All the gowns have lace-up backs and fishbone corsetry that flatters the silhouette, so no structural alterations are required says Uma.
  • They cater to curvy brides and stock gowns up to XXL size.
  • The gowns are available in a wide range of styles — from tapered and big-bust to apple, pear and petite — to suit all kinds of body shapes.
  • Rentals begin at ₹3,000 (for three days of usage) and can go up to ₹12,000, depending on the quality of the gown. One can also buy wedding dresses off the rack from a separate collection.
  • Accessories like veils, satin gloves, lace parasols, and detachable ring skirts (for brides who want the poufy Barbie gown look, informs Rathish), are also available in the showroom.

As a beautician who has done more than 6,000 bridal makeovers in her 23-year-old career, Uma realised that customers preferred to hire jewellery for both budgetary and security reasons in traditional Indian weddings. So she decided to cater to Christian and Anglo-Indian families who were looking for affordable wedding gowns. “It is difficult to find properly tailored Western gowns in small cities, so most brides usually look up stores in Chennai or Bengaluru. But we are trying to change this by offering gowns imported from China and France through a partner in Mumbai,” says Rathish, who also works as a wedding planner.

The Tiruchi shop has an exclusive tie-up with a local laundry to ensure that all rental gowns are drycleaned and steam-washed before they are put back on display. “This took us two years to sort out, as the laundry installed special equipment for us. It’s the best way to make customers feel comfortable about hiring our gowns,” says Rathish. For now, the gowns from Coimbatore will also be laundered in Tiruchi.

Young women these days are more aware of global bridal fashion because of their exposure to TV shows like Say Yes to the Dress, says Uma, and start preparing to fit into their gowns well before the wedding. “When we launched this shop, we thought we’d be helping out the middle-class bride. But now we notice that rich families also prefer to hire their gowns and spend their savings on more meaningful gifts for the newly weds,” she says.

So far, the store’s website attracts around 35 queries per month, of which around 20 people get in touch for a personal trial at the Tiruchi showroom. “We assign two assistants to help the bride select and wear the dress; they can also fix the veil and rehearse their walk. Usually brides come with their fiancés or mothers and sisters to pick out a gown. Sometimes they are so happy with what they have found that they don’t want to get out of it,” smiles Rathish.

Info you can use

  • Rent O Rent is opposite Ideal Store, RS Puram Coimbatore
  • At Tiruchi, the store is opposite Metro Shoes, Karur Bypass Road
  • Contact 9677254677 for more details

Male customers have started requesting for dress jackets and wedding blazers, while non-resident Indians would like the shop to stock heavy silk saris as well. “We are just waiting for the gown venture to stabilise before we diversify our stock,” says Uma.


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