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Keep That Dress: How to Preserve Your Wedding Dress


After spending hours and hours poring over magazines, bridal books, and catalogs, and after spending so much money on the wedding dress of your dreams, it’s imperative that you take measures to preserve and maintain the beauty of your bridal gown. It is one of the most important memorabilia of your wedding day. For whatever reason it may be, whether you want to preserve it as a family heirloom or just for a keepsake, every bride would do well to take care of the gown she was wed in.

Your wedding gown isn’t just any other piece of clothing you have. It’s a special, one of a kind dress made of special materials so it’s only fair that it be treated with special cleaning techniques as well. Most cleaners will recommend that you have your dress sent in shortly after your wedding, usually within two weeks’ time. This is because stains such as champagne, red wine, mud and grass can set permanently and can be very difficult to remove. Most drink stains contain sugar and will need a special pre-treatment before they can be fully removed.

Most cleaners will claim to be able to clean wedding gowns, although they are not necessarily specialists in gown preservation. Look for a gown preservation specialist who really knows what they’re doing and can address certain problems correctly. Make sure when you bring your dress in for cleaning, you ask all the questions and raise any concern you might have. It is better to be safe than sorry your gown is damaged because the right procedures were not implemented. Also, make arrangements to have any procedure repeated if you are unhappy with the results, especially with stains which were not completely removed.

Once you’ve got your gown cleaned, you must then store it properly. Preservationists recommend acid free materials – boxes, tissues, and even envelopes if you are including the invitations or other memorabilia with your dress. Ordinary tissue paper can stain or scorch your gown over time. Acid free boxes or ph-balanced ones are easy to find. An example of this is sturdy paperboard boxes which give your gown the opportunity to breathe and be able to adjust to the changing temperatures. Some boxes will have a viewing window where you can check on your dress without having to open the box. Just make sure that if your box has a window that you keep it out of direct sunlight as this can cause yellowing over time. When handling your dress, be wary of leaving invisible stains that can transfer onto you dress. Over time, these invisible stains can oxidize, turn yellow, and leave ugly, hard to remove stains on your gown. Remember also to keep your box away from dampness and moisture which can ruin the box and seep in to your dress.

Whether it’s for you, your daughter, or anyone else, preserving the wedding dress is an important after-wedding ritual. Just take the right steps and be ever-cautious and your dress can last you a lifetime.

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