The problem with Jennifer Lopez’s five wedding dresses

I can relate to Jennifer Lopez’s exhaustive search for the one man to spend the rest of her life with, but I wish that she had applied the same determination to finding one dress. Instead, the star of The Wedding Planner and Marry Me wore five dresses for her fourth marriage, this time to actor Ben Affleck.

There were two dresses at a Las Vegas ceremony in July and three this month at a lavish celebration at the couple’s home near Savannah, Georgia. Walking down the aisle Lopez wore a white turtleneck dress, with a ruffled train made from 1,000 handkerchiefs. A chandelier pearl gown was chosen for the reception, while a halterneck dress with keyhole detail completed the costume changes.

Jennifer Lopez in three dresses designed by Ralph Lauren for her second wedding ceremony to actor Ben Affleck.Credit: From

Unlike many brides Lopez doesn’t have to worry about the cost, with the three white dresses designed by Ralph Lauren. It is also clear that along with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (two dresses), Kate, Duchess of Cambridge (two dresses), Chrissy Teigen (three dresses) and Serena Williams (two dresses), she is not worried about sustainability.

The Australian wedding dress market is reportedly worth $352.7 million, with global wedding dress sales estimated at US$61.1 Billion this year. Most wedding dresses are made using resource-intensive tulle and chiffon, involving strong chemicals and bleaches. Transport costs add to the environmental impact of meringue-style dresses or silky slips.

After the big day 67 per cent of wedding dresses are stored in a cupboard, pillowcase or chilled storage unit, significantly reducing the opportunity to increase cost-per-wear beyond the original sale price.

“Wearing three dresses for the one event is not very sustainable,” says ethical wedding dress designer Lenka Harvey. “That red carpet approach is something we should be moving away from.”

“If Jennifer Lopez had wanted to have different looks she could have multiple pieces that could be styled differently. I have designed a number of wedding outfits that change from the service to the reception.”

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck attend a photo call for a special screening of “Marry Me” in February.Credit:Jordan Strauss

Harvey launched Lenka Couture in Melbourne seven years ago, having witnessed waste and pollution in other areas of the fashion industry. With a strong eco-conscious focus Lenka Couture became the first Ethical Clothing Australia accredited bridal label.

“The couture bridal industry is slightly better than other areas of fashion, as the focus is on one-off pieces and there is less wastage and little excess stock, but there is still work to be done. Apart from making gowns from scratch with longevity in mind, I have re-worked vintage gowns that are family heirlooms or have been found in op shops.”

The next step for Harvey is creating a wedding dress that can be buried in the backyard, rather than take up wardrobe space.

“Not all wedding dresses are treasured and passed down because not all marriages end in a happy ever after situation,” she says. “When things don’t go well they can end up on a bonfire. I want to design one that is truly circular and can decompose if needed.”

Renting wedding dresses is becoming increasingly popular, reducing environmental impact as well as bridal budgets, with the bridal gown in Australia costing $2,637.

“Let’s be honest, rarely does a bride wear her wedding dress again, so renting is financially smart and much better for the environment because those dresses are not going to sit in the back of the wardrobe, unworn for decades to come,” says Kellie Hush, creative director of The Volte, an Australian dress rental business. “In fact, that dress will go back into the circular economy and will star at another wedding.”

With Google searches for rented wedding dresses having increased by 89 per cent in 2022, according to, the stigma of something borrowed being the bride’s outfit is subsiding.

“The trend for a bride to wear several dresses on her big day is going nowhere, but we are seeing more and more brides-to-be renting not only their wedding dress but also their reception dress, or in some cases dresses.”

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