Congratulations, beautiful bride! Your magical wedding day has come and gone, leaving you with memories to cherish forever, and of course, your stunning wedding dress. What to do with your wedding gown after the big day is a question for each bride. There are organizations that accept wedding gown donations. There are tailors who adapt wedding gowns into beautiful wear-again cocktail dresses. Then, of course, there’s preservation.
If you’re interested in preserving this precious garment, whether you're planning to pass it down through generations or simply want to relive those wonderful moments by gazing at it, proper preservation is key. In this guide, we'll walk you through the dos and don'ts of wedding dress preservation, ensuring that your gown remains as breathtaking as the day you wore it.
We’ll cover everything to keep the color, odor, and fabric all as good as new.
First, the Dos
Clean Before Storing
Before you tuck your wedding dress away, ensure it's cleaned by a professional wedding dress cleaner. Any stains, dirt, or even invisible residue from food, drinks, or makeup can degrade the fabric over time. Make sure to pay attention to the care tag on your dress, as different fabrics require different cleaning chemicals and techniques. Communicate any stains or spots to the cleaner, so they can give special attention to those areas.
Choose the Right Storage Environment
Opt for a cool, dry, and dark storage location. Sunlight and humidity can fade colors and cause fabrics to yellow. A closet or wardrobe with proper ventilation can be an ideal choice. Consider using a padded hanger to support the dress and prevent stress on delicate fabrics.
Acid-Free Tissue Paper
Gently stuff the bodice, sleeves, and folds of your dress with acid-free tissue paper. This will help maintain its shape and prevent creases. Avoid using regular tissue paper, as it might transfer acids to the fabric over time.
Invest in a Preservation Box
Acid-free, archival-quality preservation boxes are designed to protect your dress from light, dust, and insects. These boxes provide an extra layer of defense against the elements, ensuring your dress stays in pristine condition for years to come. Quality preservation boxes should be airtight. Best-in-class preservation boxes allow you to remove all the oxygen from the box and replace it with nitrogen, which prevents oxidation from taking place.
Regularly Check and Refold
Every six to twelve months, take a moment to unfold your dress and refold it along different lines. This prevents permanent creases from forming in the same places over time. Handle the dress with clean hands — or better yet, white cotton gloves — and be gentle to avoid unnecessary stress on the fabric.
Now, the Don'ts
Never store your wedding dress in plastic bags, especially those made of polyethylene. These bags trap moisture and emit harmful gasses that can lead to discoloration, mold growth, and an unpleasant odor.
Wedding dresses can be very heavy, and wire hangers can stretch and distort the fabric over time. Instead, opt for a padded hanger made of sturdy material to support the weight of the dress evenly.
Attic and Basement Storage
Attics and basements are susceptible to extreme temperature changes and humidity, which can accelerate the deterioration of your dress. These areas are also prone to pests that could damage the fabric.
Fragrances and Mothballs
While it might be tempting to add a pleasant scent to your preservation box, avoid using scented sachets or mothballs. Fragrances can transfer to the fabric and cause discoloration, while mothballs contain harmful chemicals that can damage delicate textiles.
After your wedding, aim to begin the preservation process within weeks rather than months. If you’re leaving for your honeymoon right away, arrange for a trusted friend or family member to drop your dress off at the cleaners. The longer you wait, the harder it might be to remove stains and restore the dress's original beauty.
Your wedding dress holds the memories of one of the happiest days of your life. By following these dos and don'ts of wedding dress preservation, you'll ensure that your dress remains a cherished memento for generations to come. With proper care, attention to detail, and a commitment to preserving its beauty, your wedding dress will continue to shine as a symbol of love, joy, and eternal memories. So, go ahead, take those steps to safeguard your dress, and allow your dress to continue to tell your love story for years to come.