Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Dress Preservation

You spent years dreaming about your wedding day, months planning it and it seemed like it was all over in a flash. You have your wedding photos, bridal shower gifts and a husband to remember it by, but most importantly, you have your wedding dress. Taking care of your wedding dress preservation as quickly as possible will allow you to preserve your memories forever. You can even pass the dress down to your own daughter one day.

But whether you want to save it for posterity or just to look at it later on, bridal dress storage after the wedding will allow you to recreate the day your dreams came true whenever you want. You can relive picking the dress out with its bold neckline, its plum bustle and its perfect shade that compliments your skin tone so well. So, pick that dress up off the honeymoon floor and get ready to learn about wedding dress preservation.

What Is Wedding Dress Preservation?

wedding dress on a hanger
Should I just store my wedding dress like this after my Big Day?

Putting your dress into wedding gown storage is the most common technique of wedding dress preservation. Professional cleaners who specialize in bridal dress storage after the wedding utilize special cleansing and packing techniques. This ensures that your wedding gown remains as beautiful as the day you wore it down the aisle.

The process begins with a gown preservation specialist surveying the dress. He takes note of the materials it is made from and any unique ornamentation. They also notate any flaws or stains that need to be corrected. Then, the wedding gown preserver customizes a cleansing procedure that will bring your dress back to pre-wedding (and pre-honeymoon!) condition.

After he’s done with this, the gown is wrapped up and placed in a special box where it will reside until you decide to take it out again. This process should take place as soon as possible after the wedding in order not to let any wine, mud or other stains permanently set in. This is especially vital on materials such as silk.

Choosing a Wedding Gown Storage Professional

While it may be tempting to just take your wedding gown to your regular dry cleaner, you shouldn’t. Unless they are preserving hundreds of gowns a year, they just won’t do the proper job. For this reason, try to plan ahead so that you can be fast with your wedding dress preservation.

A few weeks before the wedding (or as soon as you get your dress), Google search some local wedding gown storage places. If you have friends or family that were recently married, reach out to them and ask where they had their wedding dress preservation taken care of.

Referrals are always the best way to go since you can trust a person you know more than some random business on the Internet. Be sure to find a specialist, not just any dry cleaner off the street.

Ask Some Questions and Some More Questions

ask proper questions
Make sure you ask the proper questions when choosing the professional cleaner.

When you finally find a company, do some diligent detective work to ensure you’ll be happy with the results. Ask if they do the work on the premises or if they ship the gowns out. It is extremely preferable for a company to do the work in-house so there are less chances of the dress getting lost or damaged during shipping. If the company outsources and has great referrals, you don’t have to rule them out.

Make sure you don’t get a quote over the phone since that’s a sign of shoddy work. Personal, individual inspection of each dress is a sign of professionalism.

Next, ask if you have to sign any releases or disclaimers. If so, run! These companies won’t guarantee or cover any damage done to your gown during the preservation process. There are many wedding gown storage companies that take full responsibility for every sequin, bead and stitch on your dress. That is exactly what you want; settle for nothing less.

When you find that perfect company, ask if they provide a warranty. If so, ask what their reimbursement process is and how long it is in place for. Be wary of companies that try to void the warranty if you open the box. Finally, watch out for the fine print. Make sure they will refund the cost of the dress, not just the preservation cost, if something goes wrong.

Sending Your Dress Off

When you bring your dress to the wedding gown storage facility, don’t wrap it in plastic or put it on wire or wooden hangers. This can cause wrinkles that are hard to get out. It can also cause stretching and warping of the fabric. If you must put it on a hanger, try to put it on a padded or plastic one, preferably the one the dress came with.

Further, do not try to clean any stains yourself. Leave that to the professionals. As you’ll see in the next section, they know what they’re doing!

Wedding Dress Preservation Cleansing Techniques

Once you’ve gotten your gown into good hands, there are a couple of different cleaning methods they might use. This will make sure your dress retains its radiance for years to come. Some wedding gown storage professionals prefer the wet-clean method. This is where the dress is gently washed by hand with gentle cleansing solutions until all stains, seen and unseen, are removed. It’s important that all stains be removed, even invisible ones such as sugar. This is because over time, stains oxidize and turn yellow.

Other wedding dress preservation specialists utilize a more straightforward technique used by most dry cleaners. In this technique, the stains are pre-treated and then the entire garment is placed in a dry-cleaning machine. Stains are removed with petroleum-based cleansers or perchloroethylene.

Petroleum-based cleansers aren’t as aggressive as perchloroethylene, meaning they’re not as powerful when it comes to stain removal. Still, their high oil content produces an amazing sheen on most fabrics. In other words, if the dress isn’t heavily stained, opt for petroleum-based cleansers.

Wrapping Up the Process

After the wedding gown preservation process is completed, the dress is wrapped in a white, acid-free tissue paper. Sometimes unbleached muslin can also be used. Don’t use plastic packaging or colored paper. Plastic packaging will create permanent wrinkles and trap in moisture that grows mildew. Tissue paper with colors could stain your gown.

Then, the gown is placed in an acid free box. A pH-neutral one will also be good. Such a box will allow the gown to adjust to temperature changes. It can also let the dress breathe. These boxes can have a viewing window made of acetate (don’t go for plastic) so you can see inside. If it does, the box must be kept out of direct light to prevent yellowing of the fabric.

Some companies choose to seal the box to keep pests out while some choose to leave it open. If your box is unsealed and you want to take the dress out, just make sure your hands are very clean first. When you are done, repackage it just as you found it.

Cost of Wedding Gown Storage

The costs of wedding dress preservation vary from dress to dress due to the ornamentation, material, size and overall condition. Generally, you can generally expect to pay between $200 and $400. For ornate dresses which are heavily damaged, prices can even go as high as $800. Be sure to shop around for the best prices.

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