A properly preserved wedding gown can last years and years, emerging as fresh and pristine as on your wedding day!
While nothing can replace the work of a certified, professional gown preservation process, here are basic guidelines for storing your gown.
- If hanging your gown, do so by loops inside the dress that are connected to the sturdier side seams. Shoulder seams are much more fragile and can stretch, snag, or break.
- Never store your dress in a vacuum sealed bag or plastic container! While this may seem like a great way to preserve your gown, plastic containers or bags emit fumes that can yellow or discolor the fabric. Additionally, moisture trapped within the container can cause a buildup of mildew or mold.
- Choose a temperature-consistent location in which to store your gown. Attics or basements go through extreme changes in humidity and temperature, which can negatively affect fabrics and coloration.
- Consider contacting a gown preservation specialist if your dress has delicate trims, decorations, or additional accessories (such as veils, petticoats, gloves, etc). Remember that shoes should never be stored in the same container as your dress, as fumes from the leather and glue can cause damage.
- Of course, the first step in ensuring that your gown becomes a beautiful, lasting family heirloom is minimizing any potential hazards while the gown is actually in use! Be prepared on your wedding day just in case.
- Bring plenty of safety pins for torn straps, broken zippers or bustle loops – using staples or sticky tape isn’t recommended, as they may damage the fabric of your gown.
- In the unfortunate case of a stain, make sure you know your fabric! Synthetic fibers like polyster are usually easier to spot-clean, but unless the stain is large and very noticeable, we recommend that you leave it to the professionals.
- In a pinch, water soluble stains (IE, tea, coffee, mud) on synthetic gowns respond well to dabbing cool water on the spot and letting it air dry. Do not rub the stain! Use caution however – any water on silk and rayon fabrics may leave permanent spots.
- Often, spots can be camouflaged with baking soda, baby powder, or cornstarch.
- Make-up, lipstick and grease can only be removed with a solvent like lighter fluid. However, these solvents can also affect dyes within the fabric, so test an unseen area of your dress first. Again, we recommend that any serious stains be left alone until a professional can deal with them.
For help preserving your gown, keeping it looking looking fresh and nearly wrinkle-free, Shores offers you these DIY tips for the budget-minded.
- If possible, use an acid-free storage bag – most professional providers of wedding dress preservation services will provide this bag after any cleaning, which is another great reason to have your gown cleaned and pressed before storing it!
- If you don’t have a gown storage bag handy, use 2 large sheets – one to cover the front of the dress, another for the back and pin them together. Fitted sheets work best for this.
- The box you choose should be about one-third the length of the front of your gown. Line this box with tissue and lay the gown over it, centered and face down. Make sure that the front of the gown is flat to avoid any creases or folds.
- Fold the skirt lengthwise over bunched tissue, beginning at the side seams, until the skirt is no wider than the box.
- Adding more bunched tissue as needed, fold the bottom of the skirt into the box.
- Now fold the top of the gown over into the box – the top should now be facing up.
- Stuff the bodice with additional tissue for cushioning, as well as any sleeves or bows that should be protected. Remember, the goal here is that the dress should not move at all, even when the box is shaken.