Rent the Runway

Your best friend's getting married. Great! You now have to fork over hundreds of dollars on a hideous bridesmaid dress. Boo.

Don't fret, Rent the Runway has come to the rescue. Granted, we all can't look like Pippa Middleton and wear a knock-out Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen gown for the occasion. But we can still rock a designer frock thanks to the bridal collection offered by the borrowers-friendly site, which supplies dresses and accessories for all occasions.

Launched in January of this year, Rent the Runway's newest service allows cash-strapped, fashion-conscious maids to rent color-coordinated dresses from top-notch designers, including Robert Rodriguez, Nicole Miller, Shoshanna, Calypso and Badgley Mischka for fees ranging from $300 to $1000. "Because bridesmaid dresses are the quintessential dress women only wear once there is very high demand," says Jenny Fleiss, the company's president and co-founder.

Here's how it works: Search the available dresses by color, length or designer. Then, select a delivery date. Dresses can be reserved for four- or eight-day periods. You also have the option of a one-day fitting, in addition to the rental term.

You'll get the dress in two different sizes, so you won't have to play a guessing game! Plus, as extra peace of mind, you can add a back-up style for $25. Once you're done wowing the crowd with your I-can't-believe-it's-a-bridesmaid dress, send it back. Rent the Runway even handles the dry cleaning!


The only drawback? If you love the dress, you can't keep it. Jennifer Hyman, CEO and co-founder, explains that the company currently doesn't offer the option to buy because the dress may have already been promised to another bridesmaid for an upcoming wedding.

In addition to the attendants' looks, brides can also browse options for their own wedding-related events, such as engagement and bachelorette parties, receptions and even the honeymoon.