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BARGAINS / GERI COOK

Rent a Gown : Designer bridal wear, wedding accessories can be worn on the Big Day for a fraction of their retail prices.

February 05, 1993|GERI COOK

Although there never seem to be enough ways to bring a wedding in under budget, a good amount of money can be saved on the gowns. At the factory outlets, bridal attire can be purchased at deep discounts. Now there's another way to go: Consider renting.

It makes a lot more sense somehow for the bride to rent her gown, which she will never wear again (and chances are her daughter won't want to wear it either), and for the groom to buy a tux, which he can wear for several years. Yet it's always been the other way around.

One Night Affair Gown Rentals joined forces recently with another gown rental operation, Dressed to Kill, and now has more than 400 styles of bridal gowns ranging from size 2 to 30.

Those designers featured in the collection are some of the biggest names in the business, including Bob Mackie, Demetrios, Eve of Milady, Galina and Scaasi, and they all are current styles. Were you to purchase them, the retail prices range from $800 to $6,000, but they can be rented starting at $100 and topping out at $395. So if a starry-eyed bride-to-be has her heart set on a $6,000 Scaasi she saw in a bridal magazine, for $395, she can wear it down the aisle. For only $100, she can wear a Jessica McClintock that would sell for $800. Figure $25 to $65 for the rental of a veil or headpiece and $3 to $10 for other accessories.

The top cost for alterations on bridal gowns at One Night Affair is $55 and includes the bustling of the train, hemming, and altering shoulders, sleeves and sides.

There's a bargain available too, for the attendants. Bridesmaid dresses, rarely worn after the big day, rent from $45 to $75, and even if there are as many as 10 bridesmaids in the wedding, know that the inventory is deep, with 30 dresses in each color in sizes 2 through 30.

For the mother of the bride, the size range is the same, and the rental fees $75 to $95. Alterations for bridesmaids and for mom never pass the $12 mark.

One Night Affair also rents evening gowns and cocktail dresses from the house of Dior, Givenchy, Ungaro, Vicky Tiel, Gianni Versace and other top designers for $45 to $150.

Owner Sharon Gilchrist suggests reserving your wedding gown six months in advance. Bridal gowns are held for 30 days before the wedding to allow plenty of time for fittings and alterations.

The rental period starts with a Thursday pickup and a return the following Tuesday. If for some reason you need the merchandise for a longer period of time, figure 10% of the rental cost for each additional week.

With the bucks you save on the bridal attire, think of all the other ways you can enhance the wedding day!

Where to Shop What: One Night Affair Gown Rental, 2370 Westwood Blvd., West Los Angeles. Hours: By appointment only. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays. Cards: MasterCard, Visa. Call: (310) 474-7808.

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