Preserving Your Gownwedding dresses & bridal gowns bookmark

Do you need help choosing your wedding gown? Have you given any thought to what you want to do with your wedding dress when your day is over?

Wedding Gown Preservation
Chances are your your wedding gown will be the most personal choice of all the wedding decisions you make. Are you a romantic or do you see yourself as undiscovered movie star or have you always been a princess? The gown you choose reflects your personality, but keep an open mind as you look. You may be surprised to find a style you thought was not for you is your best choice.

Beware of the Unserviceable Wedding Gown!

For the most part, custom designers use materials of the highest quality, but many manufacturers -- even some with famous names -- can be very casual about the serviceability of beads, sequins, crystals, or other decorative trims. Glued decorations never hold up as well as those that are sewn although sewing can also be done so carelessly that beads start falling on your way down the aisle. If you are planning to have your dress cleaned after the wedding, and most brides do, check what the drycleaning recommendation is. Many embelishments melt away during the cleaning process, making the dress unwearable!

What Will You Do with Your Wedding Dress Now?

What should you do with your bridal gown after the wedding? If you are planning to have your dress cleaned and preserved as a family heirloom you should do your research before your wedding day. While on your honeymoon have a friend or family member drop it off for cleaning as soon after the wedding as possible.

Choosing a gown cleaner is not a fun thing and very few wedding planners discuss this problem. Note: Even if you think that you did not spill anythingon your dress and are planning to just hang your wedding dress in the closet you will almost certainly find it covered with stains the next time you look at it. And if you decide to sell your wedding gown, the consignment shop will not accept a dress that has not been cleaned.

Questions about Wedding Gown Preservation....

  • Is the work done locally so you can personally inspect your gown after it is cleaned?
  • What special precautions are taken to protect delicate trims and decorations?
  • How does the service guard against stains caused by alcohol and other sugar-based stains that do not dissolve during ordinary dry cleaning and if left untreated will eventually caramelize into dark brown spots?
  • Does the service provide an environmentally-safe, acid-free container that will not discolor or damage the fabric?
  • As the gown is folded, are the folds buffered with tissue?
  • Is the tissue and/or the bust form used to stuff the gown acid-free? (Colored tissue is never acid-free and can also stain the gown, especially if the box is soaked and the paper gets wet.)
  • Does the service seal the box itself or leave it open? Ask why or why not and whether the preservation or the guarantee -- there is a difference -- depends upon an unbroken seal.
  • Does the service guarantee the dress will not be stained or discolored when the next bride in your family is ready to wear the gown? Today or twenty-five years from today, who will honor the guarantee?

Be sure you are comfortable with the answers to all of your questions. After all, your wedding gown is the perfect gown for you. You want to give your beautiful gown the care that will keep it perfect for the next bride in your family!

What to look for in gown preservation....

If you want to keep your gown in the family, choose your wedding gown preservation service carefully. As a general rule, avoid a service that promotes “vacuum-packaging” because the plastic in which the gown is sealed can trap moisture and emit fumes that yellow the gown. Desiccants have a very limited capacity to absorb such moisture and must then be replaced. Desiccants added to an unsealed box have little or no value.

Both sealed and unsealed plastic containers can trap moisture, and both -- even chemically inert plastics such as the one trademarked Coroplast -- also set up an electrostatic charge that can permanently set wrinkles in the gown.

Look for acid-free boxes of paper board that "breathe" and allow for expansion and contraction of gown fibers subjected to environmental changes in heat and humidity.

One cleaner uses pretty much the same chemicals and solvent as another, but very few cleaners actually do their own work and clean wedding gowns on site. Some do not know that shoulder pads, bust pads, and underarm shields should be removed because they are made of materials that can bond to the fabric of your gown and destroy fibers. Others have no idea bridal gowns require special cleaning cycles and special packaging. Some offer no guarantee. You should ask lots of questions before you make a final decision.

More wedding planning tips.