Vietnamese Wedding Áo Dài: To Rent, Buy or Tailor?
Vietnamese brides who live locally in sunny southern California are fortunate to have the option of either renting, buying or tailoring an áo dài for her upcoming nuptials. Matron of Style breaks down the yay’s and nay’s of each option helping you make a decision that is right for your wedding planning.
TO RENT a wedding áo dài
- Cost efficiency allows Bride to pay a fee to borrow, then return
- Works for a Bride who is not sentimental about preserving her wedding wardrobe
- Fit is not exact. Adjustments are temporary. Make sure to try-on upon pick up.
- Size range is narrow and may not cover all body types
- Designs may be limited to traditional styles and colors stocked by merchant
- Inventory may not be updated often enough to reflect current trends
- Return date may be too soon after wedding celebration and could require extra coordinating
TO BUY a wedding áo dài
- Cost may align with a rental, but can also be greater
- Fit adjustments are permanent for optimal flattery
- Lots of colors and designs to choose from
- Assortment varies from store to store
- Instant gratification by buying and taking home same day
- Ready-made áo dài’s are often manufactured overseas on a smaller size scale. Fits may vary.
- Stock Inventory may be limited. Be ready to shop from what’s readily available. Once a style or size has sold out, it will be difficult for a merchant to restock
- There’s no such thing as item locator when shopping for a Vietnamese áo dài
TO CUSTOM TAILOR a wedding áo dài
- Precise fit down to the undergarments the bride will wear with her wedding áo dài
- Custom designed to reflect personal taste, even wedding theme
- Limitless design, style and color possibilities
- Raw materials are chosen by client or could be sourced specifically by designer for the client
- Precise fit allows very little room for body fluctuations
- Can get pricey depending on materials and how elaborate design wish list is
- Must commission a custom tailored or designed áo dài 2 to 8 months in advance of set wedding date
In essence, my lovely brides, you have to decide what is most important when it comes to your wedding day. Will wearing a traditional Vietnamese áo dài make you happy or is it to make your family (errr mother…) happy? How important is the cost factor? How do you want to feel wearing a traditional Vietnamese wedding áo dài?
Personally, I went the bought and tailored route for my own wedding. Being a Stylist, fit ranked high on my list, then design, then, lastly, style. When planning for my own Vietnamese wedding, I always knew I would have one áo dài for the lễ hỏi (or traditional engagement ceremony) and another áo dài to wear to chào bàn or greet guests at the wedding reception. I don’t regret my decision at all. In fact, I wish I did a post bridal session, like Bride Mai, to capture more details of my wedding áo dài. My mom was helpful too! She encouraged me to own my entire wedding wardrobe.
And so, I encourage you to Do.You.Boo…Do.You! But feel beautiful and radiant in whatever you choose.