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Something borrowed? Wedding poaching is on the rise

Wedding poaching is a growing trend for the busy, rushed or uninspired. Call them copycats or call them resourceful, but for cut-and-paste couples, another wedding's details may be just the thing they've always wanted to make theirs special, too.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Wedding poaching is a growing trend for the busy, rushed or uninspired. Call them copycats or call them resourceful, but for cut-and-paste couples, another wedding’s details may be just the thing they’ve always wanted to make theirs special, too.

A decade ago, wedding poaching was much more difficult — and much more obvious. Brides bought their dresses at local boutiques, not online. Wedding albums resided on parents’ coffee tables, not on Facebook. Florists, photographers, performers and vendors relied on word of mouth rather than recommendations on wedding blogs. 

Take a look at gorgeous wedding dresses from mass market retailers, including Costco, J.Crew and more.

And as national retailers from to   and are streamlining options and making beautiful gowns (without a six-month delivery time), it’s only natural that women are making those choices over and over. 

Then there’s budgetary explanation, as some brides are opting to save money by renting or borrowing used gowns.

From Yoko Ono to Princess Diana, take a look back at the most iconic wedding dresses.

Take Amelia Nardinelli, the California bride who passed her dress on to two friends after her own 2004 nuptials. The New York Post reports that Nardinelli loaned out the dress partly because of her friends’ budget concerns, and partly because, well, she liked the idea of sharing something so special with other women in her life.

“It’s the most meaningful and memorable piece of clothing I’ll ever wear, and to share it with such close friends is an honor,” she told the paper.

And that’s the thing about wedding poaching: It’s so pervasive that today’s brides don’t actually mind their friends’ copycatting. Even when it comes to highly personal weddings, imitation remains the sincerest form of flattery.

“I think I’m a copycat!” admitted unapologetic poacher Aimee Bois, who confessed to copying “a lot of ideas from friends and co-workers” for her July wedding, including using the same vases and “pretty much the same flower arrangements as my friend.” 

The human resources consultant, 31, who lives in Beverly, Mass., explained that the volume of weddings she’s attended has turned her into a connoisseur, and so feels her expertise justifies her party pilfering. “I’ve been to 35-plus weddings,” she reasoned. “And I’ve witnessed a lot of ideas to steal.”

Janese Pfeiffer, 32, “stole” one particular idea from a friend of a friend for her summer wedding last year. She saw an acquaintance’s early summer wedding photos on Facebook wherein the groomsmen all donned the same striped purple socks. She adopted the idea just in time for her late summer wedding — but in green. When apprised of the poach, the original bride wasn’t angry — she was flattered. 

“Girls are more prone to share, and with sharing comes the risk of copying,” says Anja Winikka, senior editor at wedding site

Recently, when a woman posted on The Knot’s message board her frustration over a friend’s buying a similar wedding dress, reactive reader comments were mixed. While some said she should be flattered, “others told her to suck it up — that everyone was wearing fit and flare dresses because that’s the trend,” said Winikka.  

Her advice for brides feeling the copycat burn? Just chill.

“At the end of the day, everyone wants their wedding to be unique and reflect their individuality,” said Winikka. “Just because you used the same Mason jars as her or she wore the same dress doesn’t mean you’re the same. You’re marrying different guys; you’re different people.”