oday’s brides have plenty of options for what to do with their wedding gown post-“I do.” Some donate or sell their gown. Others re-purpose their wedding dress into lingerie or cocktail attire, while some “trash it” with a color bomb-filled photoshoot. Many brides, however, want to hang on to that dress that represents so much love, happiness, and celebration.
That’s why wedding dress preservation is so important. A wedding dress is usually intricately designed and extremely delicate, and can’t be cleaned like any old dress. Wedding dress cleaning and preservation are key to making sure your dress lasts a lifetime. If you choose not to preserve your wedding dress, you may risk the following:
- Yellowing of the fabric
- Brown oxidation spots
- Mold and mildew growth
- Permanent fabric creasing
Read on for everything you need to know about wedding dress preservation.
Wedding Dress Preservation Cost
It’s important to factor wedding dress preservation into your wedding budget. Considering many wedding preservation kits cost around $250 to $400, it’s a significant expense.
Wedding Dress Preservation vs. Standard Dry Cleaning
Unlike one-size-fits-all dry-cleaning, wedding gown preservation begins with an experienced specialist’s assessment. The specialist creates a unique treatment plan according to your dress fabric, stitching, and details, in addition to analyzing stains along the hem and entire dress.
There are, however, some dry cleaners who also offer specialized wedding dress cleaning. You can use them, but make sure to vet their process first. Specifically, you’ll want to find a dry cleaner who uses a solvent gentle and pure enough for a gown. Other solvents used for regular dry cleaning might contain impurities that can redeposit onto clothing and leave your wedding dress with a strange smell. Wedding dress cleaning and preservation should only be done with dry cleaners who specialize in cleaning gowns.
Before committing to any cleaner or preservationist, thoroughly research their policies. You want someone who guarantees they won’t do any damage during the preservation. And in the event that any damage is done, look for a guarantee that the cost of the dress (not just the preservation) will be refunded. Furthermore, find out how long they guarantee that the wedding dress will remain pristine after their preservation.
Wedding Dress Preservation Tips
Invisible Stains Might Be Lurking on Your Wedding Gown
“Oddly, the most dangerous spills are the ones you cannot see,” says expert Sally Conant. “White wine and other things dry clear, and these latent stains contain sugar that caramelizes over time into dark brown stains that ordinary dry cleaning cannot remove. You may think your gown is fine, but in six months or more, the latent stain becomes pale yellow and then darkens as it ages. Heat accelerates the process.”
Professional cleaners and preservationists are trained to spot the unseen. They’ll be able to deal with any stains on your wedding gown, from the invisible to the visible. Did the bottom of your dress get dirty from your picture-perfect shots in a garden? Did someone slosh red wine on it during the reception? Did an overzealous aunt smudge her foundation on it when she came in for a hug? They’ll create a treatment plan for each type of stain.
Pay Attention to the Label on Your Dress
This is one label you don’t want to ignore. Look for any specific dry cleaning directions it might have, such as “Dry Clean Only with Petroleum Solvent.” Whatever it says, listen to it, and make sure the preservationist or dry cleaner you choose has the appropriate cleaning solutions for your wedding dress.
Time Is of the Essence
Professional cleaning is the first step in wedding dress preservation, and the sooner you can get the wedding dress to the preservationist or the dry cleaners, the better. Brides may wait weeks to take their dresses to be cleaned, and that’s no good. By that time, stains may have had time to really set in.