So, you’ve got your dream dress! Now to keep it clean. There’s a bit to know about how to store a wedding dress. Proper preservation will ensure your perfect dress remains pristine.
Whether you want a long-term storage solution for future generations to enjoy, or you found your perfect wedding dress months (or even years!) before the big day. This post shares the best tips to ensure the proper preservation of your dress.
Why dress storage is important
Is it really that important? Well, if you choose not to preserve your dress correctly, a lot could go wrong. You will risk yellowing of the fabric, brown oxide stains, permanent creasing, and mold and/or mildew growth. Even the cleanest-looking dresses can harbor invisible stains from spills.
The biggest culprits are white wine and clear-drying liquids that will caramelize and create a yellow stain that darkens over time.
As your wedding dress is likely the most expensive dress you will own, it’s a good idea to treat it well. So, follow the easy steps of proper wedding dress preservation to ensure your dress can be admired for years.
We explain both the DIY wedding dress preservation process and the professional dress preservation process. This way, you can include these costs in your wedding budget.
Before your wedding
You are in possession of your beautiful wedding dress and need to keep it in immaculate condition until your wedding day.
Firstly, your best course of action is to follow the designer’s or wedding boutique’s instructions. They will know the best way to care for your wedding dress. They can advise you on how to protect the delicate fabric and the best way to hang or store your dress so you can call the bridal shop and follow their instructions.
If this is not an option, here’s what to do.
- Wear gloves. – Wear a pair of white cotton gloves when handling your wedding gown to protect it from any hand or body oils that may be present.
- Don’t store it in a plastic covering. – Remove the plastic bag or plastic covering from your dress. Plastic doesn’t allow the gown to breathe and can trap moisture, which may lead to mold and odors growing. Instead, purchase a cloth garment bag.
How to store a wedding dress
- Best places to store your dress. – Store your dress in a dark place with a dry environment, preferably in a wardrobe if you are going to hang it. Don’t store your dress anywhere near a source of direct sunlight or in a high traffic area.
- Hanging your dress – Be sure to use a sturdy padded hanger with ribbon hanger loops to avoid stretching the dress’s bodice. As wedding dresses are generally made of heavy fabrics, the weight of your dress can stretch the bodice if not stored correctly. Avoid hanging the dress by its straps or shoulders; this could cause damage to the delicate fabric or lace. Ensure that the gown’s weight is evenly spread across the hanger when hanging the dress using the hanging ribbon. Using the hanging ribbons is especially important when hanging a strapless gown.
- Or, lay it flat – If your wedding is a while away, consider storing your dress lying flat rather than hanging it. A heavier dress is more likely to lose its shape hanging for long periods. An out-of-the-way area where it is unlikely to be disturbed or have animals sit on it is vital.
- Cover your dress.- Cover your dress with a breathable fabric garment bag or white cotton sheets to keep it clean. Adding in some silica gel packs can help to absorb any moisture that may be present.
- Unpacking your dress for the wedding- Avoid unpacking your dress until a few days before your wedding date to minimize the chance of dirt and marks getting on it. A few days before your wedding, get your dress out and hang it in a dry space so any stubborn wrinkles can drop out.
After your wedding
A wedding dress preservation company will clean, steam, and box your gown in a tissue-lined, acid-free box and return it to you. However, if that’s outside your budget, you can go down the do-it-yourself route. Either way, time is of the essence.
Waiting weeks to clean your dress, get it dry-cleaned, or to a preservationist can allow stains to set in and make them more challenging to remove. If you are planning on heading off on your honeymoon soon after your wedding day, arrange for a family member or your maid of honor to organize the cleaning of your gown.
When cleaning your dress or collecting it from the dry cleaner, you will need to organize a dress box. A lignin-free box with acid-free tissue paper is the best way to protect your bridal gown and keep it in perfect condition. This will reduce any yellow staining on your dress as it ages and is an excellent option for long-term storage.
Packaging your dress into its box
- Place scrunched acid-free tissue paper inside the bust of your dress
- Lay your gown on a bed of tissue paper inside the wedding dress storage box
- Where folds of fabric are present, use plenty of tissue paper to reduce creasing
- Cover with more tissue paper and close the lid securely
- Store your dress in a cool and dark area, away from direct sunlight and high temperatures.
If your dress has beading or sequins, seek professional advice as, over time, these can tarnish your gown. Also, avoid adding accessories such as shoes or your veil with your dress. It’s a good idea to package these separately instead.
Whether you want to sell or keep your wedding dress, following your designer’s recommendations and taking the dress to a professional wedding dress cleaner after use is advised.
Marks such as sweat and clear fluids may not be seen now, but as your dress ages, they will appear. A professional cleaning will ensure your perfect dress remains pristine.