Updated: Oct 17, 2018
Your wedding day is a special event that will forever be preserved in your memories; but what about your dress? Often, brides will donate, sell, trash, or re-purpose their gowns after their big day. However, many brides choose to have their wedding gowns dry cleaned and preserved in order to have a memorable keepsake to hold on to or to pass down.
This is where proper gown preservation comes into play. Wedding gowns are often made with special fabrics and may also have intricate designs, layers of chiffon, beading, or lace. In order to preserve the gown without any permanent mistakes, follow our tips below on how to make sure your cleaners handles your gown preservation with care.
Dry Cleaning and Preservation are Different
While the dry cleaners you pick may be specialists in what they do, it's important to make sure that they can properly preserve your wedding gown instead of giving it the standard dry cleaning. The difference is not only in how they clean the dress, but how they treat it so that it will stay clean and fresh for as long as possible.
The first thing you'll want to do is discuss your dry cleaner's gown preservation techniques and policies. You're going to want experienced professionals who won't clean your gown with strong chemicals or ruin the intricate beading, lace, or other patterns on your dress. You'll also want to make sure that they pay attention to every part of the dress, including the hem which will almost always be the first part of the dress to get dirty.
Your Gown Might Be Hiding Invisible Stains
It's impossible to keep your beautiful gown spotless by the end of your big day. From wine spills, to makeup spots, to sweat marks, some stains are harder to notice than others. That being said, look over your gown before bringing it in to your preservation specialist and try to point out those trouble spots that you want addressed. Professional cleaners will have no problem finding and taking care of these stains for you, both visible and invisible, but it's a good idea to give your dress a once over before bringing it in. This way, you'll feel confident that the cleaning and preservation of your dress will go smoothly.
Take A Look At The Label On Your Dress
Seeing as every wedding gown is unique and, therefore, made differently, the first thing you should do before bringing your dress in anywhere is to read the tag on your dress. Your gown might be made of a certain type of fabric that could react harshly to certain chemicals. Or the tag might give specific care instructions that need to be followed closely in order to protect the fabric from damage.
When Should You Bring Your Dress In?
ASAP! One of the things that should go into your wedding planning, before your honeymoon starts, is to drop your dress off at the professional cleaners of your choice to begin your wedding gown preservation. The longer you wait, the more time stains have to set into your dress and the more difficult it will be to remove those stains without harming the integrity of the rest of the dress. You don't want to be sitting on the beach worrying about that white wine stain. These stains will often start to yellow or brown as it oxidizes with the air. Your best bet is plan to drop your dress off at your preservation specialists as soon as the day after your wedding.
Make Sure Your Box Is Airtight
Most gowns are preserved in an airtight box where the oxygen is replaced with nitrogen. Taking the oxygen out of the box is what helps preserve the color of your dress and the quality of the fabric. Before you even leave the cleaners, check to make sure that there are no leaks or holes in your box. If you happen to break the seal on the box, it's recommended that you take it in soon after to get it resealed. The less the dress is tampered with once it's in the box, the longer it will stay fresh and clean.
Storing Your Wedding Dress
Once preservation is done on your dress, proper storage is essential. Find a cool, dark place away from sunlight so that your dress doesn't yellow or fade. Also, make sure to keep your dress off of a hanger; storing it in an airtight box is the best way to go. This will ensure that your dress won't sag or misshapen on the hanger. There are also wedding chests that dresses can be stored in. Although these may not seem as prevalent as they once were, it's a great place to keep your dress away from sunlight and other factors that could lead to permanent damage. They're also usually sold at a decent rate, so it's worth it to ask your gown preservation specialists what they have to offer.
Whatever you decide to do, stay away from zip-up plastic bags as a storage option. Those bags are only used for short-term storage and can actually cause more harm to your dress if used as a long-term storage option.
Thinking Of Opting Out On Wedding Gown Preservation?
You may be thinking, "This is a waste of time and money, my dress will be fine...". While wedding gown preservation is optional, you risk permanent damage to your wedding gown through; yellowing of the fabric, brown oxidation spots, mold and mildew spots, or permanent fabric creasing.
If you're planning on keeping your wedding gown for any length of time after your wedding day, gown preservation is the way to go. This will ensure that your dress will look its best for when you decide to pass it down, reuse it, or sell it. Find quality gown preservation specialists and follow the above tips so your wedding dress can remain timeless.