Everything you need to know about
Your wedding gown probably fitted you as well as your new spouse does. When you tried it on, it was a dream. Now that the wedding is over, you might not want to part with the perfect dress you wore on your special day. If you want to keep your dress – and keep it in good condition – you’ll have to get it cleaned and preserved, which is the process for cleaning and properly packaging your dress for storage which is vitally important.
If you don’t care for you’re dress, it’s almost as if you’re throwing it away, after all, over time, stains such as tan, make-up, alcohol, grass or dirt, will set, and the fabric could be damaged or turn yellow due to condensation, mildew, oxidisation or dust.
Wedding gown cleaning and preservation costs depend on the level of service you require and the type of dress you purchased. Usually, you bring your dress to a wedding gown preservation specialist, then, an expert analyses the fabric, beading, and other details to determine the best course of action in order to clean it.
The cleaning process often begins with the hem because it is usually the most soiled. Most professionals scrub the hem by hand and spot treat any stains. The biggest culprits are grass, dirt, perspiration, tan, make-up, and sugar (from wedding cake or wine).
After the dress is cleaned and either steamed or pressed, the cleaners properly fold it and place it in an acid-free archival preservation box. Sometimes, accessories, such as veils, garters, shoes, gloves etc are cleaned and preserved as well. Then, the package is returned to the owner.
Brides who consider wedding gown preservation either want to keep their dress as an heirloom to be passed down to future generations, or they want to resell it. Some want it as a keepsake for themselves or will eventually make it into Christening Gown or baby bedding for their children, which is becoming increasingly popular.
A word from the professionals
A big mistake many brides make is leaving their dress in their wardrobe, under their bed, or even worse, the attic, for many weeks, months, or even years after the wedding. Stains, even invisible ones that will become darker and more visible with age – begin to set over time, which makes them harder to remove down the road. Age and exposure to sunlight can cause the fabric to weaken and yellow. You should bring your wedding dress to a professional cleaner within six weeks after the wedding.
All is not lost, however, even if you have waited longer than six weeks to clean your gown. Professional cleaners and preservation experts, often handle wedding dresses a year and sometimes people send them in after 20 years for restoration. Often, if the fibers of the fabric are still strong enough, professional cleaners can restore the gown. But it will likely be more affordable and safer to have it cleaned and preserved right after the wedding.