How To Store A Wedding Dress
Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. It’s also one of the most expensive days of your life. In fact, the average cost of a wedding is $25,764 and that doesn’t even include your honeymoon! One of the most important purchases during your wedding will be your wedding dress. This will be the dress you remember for a lifetime. You’ll show pictures of it to your children and grandchildren, and you’ll stun everyone when you walk down the aisle on your big day. With such an important dress comes a high price tag. On average, it will cost you around $1,220 for you wedding dress. It will likely be the most expensive dress you will ever own, so it’s important to take care of it to make sure it lasts a lifetime. Here are the best tips on how to store a wedding dress before and after your wedding.
How To Store A Wedding Dress Before The Wedding
Now that you’ve purchased your wedding dress, your first task is to keep it in perfect condition until your wedding day. This begins in the bridal shop the moment you buy your dress. Begin by asking them their policy on keeping the dress in the store. Most places will offer to keep it until closer to your wedding day, and if that is an option, you should always take them up on it. They know how to store wedding dresses, and will be your best bet of keeping it clean and pristine until you walk down the aisle.
Storing at home:
If keeping your wedding dress at the bridal shop is not an option, your next most important step is keeping it safe from anything that could stain, wrinkle, stretch, or discolor it. The first and the most important thing you can do is keep it in the garment bag provided to you by the bridal shop. Do not remove the dress for the bag or replace it with a different bag. Wrapping it in a cheap plastic garment cover will trap any moisture and creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. It may also emit fumes that will yellow your gown over time. To avoid this, keep your dress in its high-quality garment bag, away from direct sunlight.
The next step is to lay your dress (in its bag) completely flat. This is more optimal than hanging it, as it prevents any stretching to the fabric or seams. It will also help avoid creasing or wrinkles. If you do not have space to lay the dress flat, you should only hang it by the loops, not the sleeves or straps. If you are uncertain, ask the bridal shop for suggestions on how to store your wedding dress.
You should never store your dress in your garage or attic. The constant changing of temperatures and inconsistent humidity can ruin the fabric and cause discoloration. Instead, make sure to store it in a dry, dark, and cool environment where humidity is at or under 50%.
Wait until your wedding day:
Avoid trying on your dress or showing it off before your wedding. You should wait until the very last second to put it on. Constantly trying it on or showing it off predisposes it to the oil and bacteria on your hands. If you are trying it on, you may accidentally get makeup, water, or even your perfume on the dress. This can all lead to discoloration and a less-than-perfect dress on your wedding day. It’s easy to get tempted, but it’s best to keep it in the garment bag.
How To Store A Wedding Dress After The Wedding
Now that your wedding is over, you have a very short window of time before the stains in your dress set in and it is beyond repair. Most brides wait a few weeks before they take their dress in to be cleaned and preserved, but that leaves it vulnerable to stains you may not even know are there. The best way to ensure your wedding dress stays in perfect quality is to take it off immediately after the reception and take it in to get cleaned the day after your wedding. If you are leaving for your honeymoon immediately, arrange for your mom or maid of honor to take it in for you.
Be aware of the invisible stains. Even if you don’t see stains on your dress, many clear stains like white wine will appear over time. Anything with sugars will begin to caramelize in heat. In just 6 months, those stains will begin to yellow, and as time goes on, they will begin to brown. Unfortunately, dry cleaning will not be able to reverse the damage of these stains. Other things like perspiration and perfumes can be invisible at first but reveal themselves over time.
Many brides opt to not get their wedding dresses professionally cleaned or preserved. Some try to clean their dresses themselves, which may permanently damage the dress if not done right. Most dresses have specific cleaning instructions on them, and professionals will be better equipped to clean them according to the specific needs of the fabric. If you don’t preserve your dress, you risk yellowing of fabric, oxidation, mold, mildew, and permanent fabric creasing. To avoid these, you’ll need to do your research before your wedding to find the right company to clean and preserve your wedding dress.
Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation
It is ultimately up to you if you want to only have your dress cleaned, or if you want it cleaned and preserved. If you want it to stay in perfect condition, you’ll want to go with preservation. If you just want to avoid some discoloration but will likely only take it out of the bag a few times to reminisce, you may just choose to have it cleaned. Having your wedding dress professionally preserved will likely cost you upwards of $150, but that’s a small price to pay for an already expensive investment. Places like David’s Bridal offer more inexpensive services for dress preservation where you can ship your dress to them and they will clean, preserve, package and ship it back.
Wedding Dress Cleaning
If you choose to go with a cleaner, be sure to ask lots of questions. They may be great for day-to-day dry cleaning, but may not specialize in the delicate fabric that your dress is made out of. Be sure that they are comfortable and confident in cleaning your dress. Make sure to pay attention to the label of your dress. Look for any specific instructions about dry cleaning. Check to make sure the company you are choosing has the materials specified on your label to clean the dress properly. Most importantly, ask them about their insurance policy. Ensure that if anything happens, they replace the cost of the dress, not just the cost of the cleaning.
Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation
Professional wedding dress preservation will protect your dress for more long-term storage. The process begins with an experienced specialist assessing your gown. They will create a plan for the treatment of your dress depending on its fabric, embellishments, stitching, and damage. From there, they will gently remove any stains and even make small repairs. They will then press or steam your dress, wrap it, and store it. Since wedding dress preservation companies specialize in wedding dresses, you are less likely to encounter any damage to your dress throughout the process. That said, you should follow the same precautions as with a cleaner by checking their insurance policies. You should also check how long they guarantee that the dress will be preserved.
When storing your wedding dress, you will likely have these 3 options to choose from:
Bagging- In this option, you will leave your dress hanging and unfolded. This prevents permanent creasing in the fabric. The gown will likely get reinforced to prevent damage from long-term hanging.
Boxing- When you store your wedding dress in a box, always fold acid-free tissue paper between the dress. You should store it in an acid-free preservation box to avoid damage to the dress and allow it to breathe. This is a good option if you plan to access it often.
Vacuum Sealing- Some preservation companies will vacuum seal your dress before placing it in a box. If you choose this method, you should make sure they replace the oxygen with nitrogen to prevent oxidation from occurring. While this method saves space, it can create permanent creases and wrinkles in the dress and may lead to mold and mildew.
At home care
Once you take your wedding dress home, you should store it somewhere dark, cool, and dry. You will want to avoid any humid areas, or anywhere that has inconsistent temperatures. Many people choose to store their wedding dresses in climate controlled storage units. These units have consistent humidity and temperature and are protected from pests and dust.
You should revisit your dress every 2-3 years to inspect and refold it. This will help prevent any permanent creasing or wrinkles and will allow you to catch any stains or damage that may have developed. You should always wash your hands before handling your dress to remove any oils or bacteria. Do not wear any lotions or perfumes. If you are nervous about stains, invest in a pair of white cotton gloves to wear while handling.
For more tips on how to store wedding items, check out Burgh Brides’ blog on 6 Reasons to Use a Storage Unit for your Wedding.