Nestled on College Avenue just a few blocks from campus lies Mariah’s Bridal, Rexburg’s only rental-exclusive wedding dress shop.
Mariah Eddy, a senior studying psychology, got the idea for her bridal shop after renting her own wedding dress in 2018. After seeing her own dress succeed as a rental for a few months, Eddy decided to get together some of her friends’ gowns and start a small side hustle of renting dresses where she would collect a portion of the rental price – splitting the profits with the original dress owner.
“I started with about eight gowns in my basement apartment and then that quickly turned into almost 100 gowns here on College Avenue,” Eddy said.
Mariah’s Bridal carries a variety of designer gowns in various styles, colors and sizes to accommodate diverse body types and preferences. Prices range anywhere from $300 to $550 depending on the appraised value of the dress, and a $100 dry cleaning fee. This is a stark comparison to what the average bride in 2021 spends on a wedding dress (between $1,089-$1,429 according to weddingstats.org.)
Before coming to Mariah’s Bridal, Eddy recommends the brides visit other shops to make sure they know exactly what kind of style or look they have in mind. Once they know what they’re looking for, prospective brides can book a fitting online by filling out a form indicating measurements, dream dress specifics, budget and the wedding date.
When coming to the fitting, dress-seeking brides can bring as many people as they’d like. If they find their dress that day, brides receive a small discount, which covers the dry cleaning fee. The rental period lasts a month, and the drop-off date is agreed upon before leaving the store.
To encourage consignment and to make sure the latest trends and styles are available in the shop, Eddy accepts consignments from those looking to earn a little extra money on the side. The original owner of the dress receives a portion of the rental fee each time a dress is rented.
According to their website, “Mariah’s Bridal will protect the condition and value of the dress and all you have to do is sit back and receive the money the dress makes! Mariah’s Bridal offers consignment for any bride’s gown considering it meets the following standards; good condition, in-style and is in demand at this time.”
If a dress goes a few months without being rented, the dress is returned to its original owner.
Eddy also hires interns or university seniors who are in need of a project to help with the business as social media, marketing or seamstress interns.
“They get the experience, and I get the help,” Eddy said.
When the pandemic first hit, many brides canceled their rentals, and Mariah’s Bridal felt a hit. However, as the pandemic continues on, Eddy has found more prospective brides lean toward renting their dress rather than purchasing to accommodate smaller ceremonies, modified receptions and to save money.
Renting a wedding dress is a great option for those who want a designer dress without a price tag. With the variety of sizes and styles, Mariah’s Bridal is the perfect place to find a dress for that special day.