Thirty years ago, local businesswoman Pam Weight auditioned for a stake musical and in the closing scene her character needed to wear a white dress.
“I wanted to have something that I thought that people would wear in heaven,” Weight said. “I wanted something that was really feminine and really beautiful. That is how my business started.”
Weight put her sewing skills to work and created a costume for herself. After the play was over, Weight continued to receive compliments on the dress. After four months, she decided to start a business.
“From the beginning, I knew that the dresses needed to be rentals,” Weight said. “They needed to be up-to-date with the styles and trends and they needed to be affordable. I was so excited about the idea, I knew I’d figure it out.”
Beginning in early April and going through about mid-September, Weight estimated she sees about 30 brides each weekend.
A few years ago, a BYU co-ed did a survey to find some of the fears brides have with renting a dress. In her survey, she found girls want to make sure their dresses are in style, clean, fit well and they can have it for as long as they need.
Weight made sure to address all of these issues. Her team makes sure they’re on top of all the latest trends by going to shows and events.
“These are the most popular styles with my twist,” Weight said. “We limit how many we make because we don’t want everybody to have the same dress.”
Every dress is cleaned and preserved immediately after each rental. Brides have individual consultations and fittings to be sure everything is perfect for their special day. A dress may be rented for five consecutive days.
“I can’t tell you how much you’ll want your money after the wedding,” Weight said. “There are about 12,000 listings every day on eBay, KSL and craigslist for wedding dresses. If you rent, you’re saving about $800 and that’s money you can spend on food, decorating your apartment and school.”
Weight understands a wedding day is one of the most special days in a girl’s life.
“The gown is a costume that shows how special of a day [the wedding day] is,” Weight said. “We want it to be out of this world.”
Lindsey Buck, a sophomore at UVU studying web design, recently decided to go to Gowns by Pamela for her upcoming August wedding.
“I loved the idea that you can get the dress for half the price because you’re really only going to wear it for one day,” Buck said.
Dani Degen Love, a BYU student from Orem, wore a Gowns by Pamela dress in her September wedding.