How to Preserve your Wedding Dress

>> May 28, 2010

Wedding gown preservation takes a bit of planning. After the wedding is over, the task will be to clean and preserve your wedding dress. Although the cost of preserving wedding dresses may vary, once you understand the intricate process of repairing, cleaning and storing, you will be able to make the right decision for your wedding gown preservation. Getting the wedding dress cleaned is the most important of all whether you intend to keep the wedding dress or sell it on Ebay.

Why wedding gown cleaning? - We all perspire. Wedding dresses, from the first fitting through the wedding reception, are subjected to deodorant, perfumes and sweat. And on the day of the wedding there is extra dirt from the train dragging along the floor during the ceremony, sitting at the table during the reception and using the ladies room. Wedding dress cleaning is crucial to the preservation of the gown. This should be done immediately to keep stains from setting into the satin or silk.


Step 1
Before cleaning - Before the gown is actually cleaned it must be carefully looked at by a seamstress. Missing beads must be replaced and any damage to the hemline has to be repaired before the gown is cleaned. A good cleaner will not clean the dress until the repairs are made.

Step 2
Choosing a wedding dress cleaner - There are various options to have the wedding gown cleaned. If you choose a local dry cleaner, ask them who actually cleans the gown. YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR GOWN CLEANED WITH OTHER CLOTHING. Most dry cleaners send the dresses out to a local company that specializes in wedding gown cleaning. This is the best option, as the local dry cleaners don't have the necessary equipment and space for the proper care of the gowns.

Step 3
Bag or box? - Where are you going to store the wedding gown after the wedding? The best situation for the gown is in a box because the gown will be relaxed lying in a box. After the gown is repaired and cleaned, it will be gently wrapped in acid free tissue paper and folded neatly to fit in a special acid-free box. This way there is no stress on the dress from the weight of the dress hanging on a hanger. Some gowns can weigh as much as 18# and even though the hanger is padded, over the years the stress of the weight on the fabric will take it's toll.

If hanging the gown for storage is the option that you choose, look for a cotton acid free breathable garment bag. Although wedding dresses are sold with plastic garment bags, a breathable garment bag is the best choice for long term storage. The natural humidity in the air changes with the seasons and the gown has to be able it breathe.

Step 4
Do-it-yourself kits - Breathable acid free garment bags, acid-free boxes and acid-free tissue paper can be purchased online. You can have the gown cleaned yourself and then bag it or box it to suit the place of permanent storage. Keep the gown from excessive heat in an attic and basement storage may encounter some dampness. Give some thought to where you are going to keep the dress. If you choose to store the gown permanently in a plastic garment bag, at least once a years take the gown out of the bag and let it air for 24 hours. Laying it across a bed will also allow the fabric to rest before returning the gown to the garment bag.

Step 5
The cost of Wedding Gown Preservation - The cost of preserving some gowns may be as high as $300.00. A designer gown that is covered with intricate bead work, embroidery and lace details will require special care in the cleaning process. I have seen Web sites that offer a special price of $119.00. Please, do not equate the higher prices to being a rip-off. If you have an expensive designer wedding dress, going cheap may not be the best option. Shop around. Ask questions about the cleaning process. Good knowledge will help you make the best choice for preserving your heirloom gown that may someday be worn by your daughter or granddaughter.

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