Hey babe, why don’t we go to Las Vegas this weekend and get married?
— But I don’t have a dress!
“No problem,” says Henderson resident Dianne Schiller. owner and manager of Renta-Dress and Tux. “We have hundreds of traditional wedding dresses, less formal dresses, cocktail dresses, and mini-length dresses just ready to be rented for any occasion, but especially weddings. We can fit your husband with a tux, too.”
Dianne is a second generation owner of Renta-Dress and Tux. Her mother, Marion Kahn, founded the business in 1991 following the weddings, within a year of each other, of her daughters, Dianne and Glynda. The sisters’ wedding gowns were being stored at their mother’s home, and mother Kahn, the experienced retailer, wondered if someone else couldn’t get use out of the beautiful dresses. She put an ad in a local shopping paper. The inquiries came flying in, and a business was born.
Starting a business wasn’t the first challenge met by Marion Kahn. In 1976, in the midst of civil unrest in her native South Africa, she and her husband moved themselves and their three children to Las Vegas. Friends in Las Vegas said they would help them all get settled, but the family’s initial plan was later to move to some place more “normal”. However, the family loved Las Vegas, found work and schooling and stayed.
Though daughter Glynda ultimately worked with her mother at the new business, Dianne was a dancer and initially found work with “every casino that has since imploded: Sahara, Hacienda, Showboat, Marina, etc.”, Dianne left Las Vegas in 1984 for marriage, motherhood and a career as a dance teacher in California.
In 2008, when Dianne’s mother showed signs of early Alzheimers, Dianne, then divorced, moved back to Las Vegas and joined the business. She was taught the ropes by sister Glynda and, to a limited extent, by her mother. Marion Kahn died in 2014; Glynda stayed with the business, but did not want ownership, so Dianne is now the business’s owner and manager, and Glynda is the business’s senior employee.
Dianne admits she was unsure at first whether she would like being part of Renta-Dress and Tux. “I soon realized, however, that helping people find the right dress or the right tuxedo isn’t that different from fitting young dance students with costumes for a recital.”
Today, Dianne says she absolutely loves the business. “What’s not to like?” she asks. “Every day we’re dealing with people on the happiest day of their lives.”
Renta-Dress and Tux has had several homes since 1991. At first the business was in a busy shopping area. But currently the business is located at 618 S.6th Street in a quiet portion of downtown Las Vegas not far from the Clark County Marriage Bureau and a number of wedding chapels.
As times have changed, customers don’t learn about Dianne’s business by walking by. Instead, people typically learn about the business from the company’s web site.
“When my mother wanted to call the business ‘Renta-Dress and Tux’ I thought that name was kind of cheesy,” Dianne admits, “but then along came the Internet, and our mother must have been an angel with foresight. When people Google a company renting dresses or tuxes in Las Vegas, we are one of the first names to be listed.”
Diane and six-year employee Cinthya Jazquez maintain the company’s extensive web site.
“Our customers typically are tourists, all races, all sizes, all ages and all nationalities,” says Diane. Many customers make appointments, but I’m surprised how many others, armed with our address, just walk in. Incidentally, we are a much larger operation inside than our exterior would suggest.”
Dianne explains that wedding dresses available for rent at her store are one-of-a-kind. “We may have a number of different dresses of the same size, but we don’t have the same dress in different sizes. However, we can usually find a style, ball-gown/princess, mermaid/trumpet, a-line or short, that suits the customer once she tells us what she likes.
Diane still deals with many of the same vendors her mother used. Those vendors know the store buys just one of a particular style, and if a vendor has a sample dress they can sell, they call the store, or if they can sell just one of a style, Renta-Dress and Tux will be interested. Diane says, “Because we know one dress will hopefully have multiple wearings, we want to buy dresses of good quality that can handle the hand washing or cleaning that follows every rental. Our vendors know that, too.”
When a dress has been rented too many times or has a small flaw, the dress goes on a separate display tack of dresses for sale. A dress that will have rented for $450 may sell for $300, for example. The dresses are still wearable and are very popular with customers, says Dianne.
If a bride falls in love with a particular rented dress, she can purchase that dress for double the rental price, which does happen.
The rack of cocktail dresses at the store could also be called the red-carpet or the prom-dress rack. Dianne particularly likes renting dresses for proms and only charges half price for proms because the store knows that young ladies may have younger sisters who will also need prom dresses and many of those prom-dress wearers will eventually be brides.
The five person Renta Dress and Tux staff, in addition to sister Glynda, includes Betze Rico who also doubles as a seamstress for temporary alterations, Nicole Berma and Cynthya Jacquez. Two of the women speak Spanish and one speaks Thai. Any one of the women can work with customers. When a new dress comes into the store, one member of the staff puts on the dress so that others can see the new merchandise.
Dianne admits that she and her colleagues are quite good at knowing their merchandise. “I can usually find the right kind of dress for a customer within three dresses,” she says.
Wedding dress and tux customers have plenty of choices at Renta-Dress and Tux. Some dresses rent for as little as $150. Tuxedo rentals start at $100, but Dianne says the typical rental bill is nearly $700 and that may include a rented veil and jewelry and women’s shoes which are purchased, not rented. Yes, a number of pregnant brides are fitted with dresses as are large sizes up to size 30 in woman’s dresses and size 64 in jackets for men. Rental prices are for two-day rentals.
For wedding-bound bargain hunters, rental packages are available. The most popular package is the $600 package which includes:
Garter to keep
One jewelry piece to keep
Tuxedo (Michael Kors and Navy Tuxedos excluded)
Vest and tie or bowtie
Alterations on the spot
Garment pick-up at hotel bell desk after wedding.
More packages and services (photography, hair and make-up, etc.) are available and are detailed on the web site.
Hey babe, you look beautiful in that wedding dress.
You don’t look bad yourself; love the tux.
So….let’s get married!