South Africa

Upcycling the dress is a new trend for modern brides, SA survey finds

Princess Beatrice updated her grandmother's vintage gown by giving it a sleeker hemline and adding puffy sleeves for her Windsor wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in July 2020.

Princess Beatrice updated her grandmother's vintage gown by giving it a sleeker hemline and adding puffy sleeves for her Windsor wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in July 2020.
Image: Benjamin Wheeler via Getty Images

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.  

The traditional rhyme about what a bride should wear for good luck may as well be a practical guide for modern brides wanting to save some money for after the wedding.

Especially if that “something borrowed” refers to the dress.

A survey conducted in November by online classifieds platform Gumtree asked South Africans where they keep their wedding dresses, only to find that half of the 1,800 respondents had rented theirs.

According to a press release by Tribeca on behalf of Gumtree, while half of brides said they preferred “brand new or nothing” for their wedding dress, the rest planned to rent or buy one second hand.

Queen Elizabeth II in the Norman Hartnell gown at the premiere of 'Lawrence of Arabia' in 1962. Princess Beatrice, above, turned this dress into her wedding gown when she married property developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in July 2020.

Queen Elizabeth II in the Norman Hartnell gown at the premiere of 'Lawrence of Arabia' in 1962. Princess Beatrice, above, turned this dress into her wedding gown when she married property developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in July 2020.
Image: PA Images via Getty Images

Estelle Nagel, brand marketing manager at Gumtree SA, said that while not everyone has access to a previously loved dress like the UK's Princess Beatrice, who recently rocked one of her granny’s vintage gowns for her own wedding, it makes so much sense (and a lot of cents) to choose a second-hand or rental dress.

“While many women want to play a role in designing a dream dress that they feel reflects their personality, there’s great merit in keeping wedding day costs under control, and rather setting the saved money aside for big ticket items that will be needed during the course of the marriage.

“Buying or renting a second-hand wedding dress for as little as R4,000 rather than spending upwards of R15,000 on a new one, means that you can either spend more on entertaining or catering for your guests, or you can set the savings aside as part of a deposit on the first home you buy together.”

A third of those surveyed said their one-of-a-kind dresses are gathering dust at the back of a cupboard. One in five sold their dress online.

“Selling your wedding dress online gives you some return on your investment on the garment — other than the magical memories made on your wedding day — and it will help make someone else’s wedding dreams come true too,” Nagel said.

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