It’s wedding season! But what do you do with your wedding dress after the big day!? Some brides sell their gown, donate it to charity or re-purpose it into lingerie. Others choose to “trash the dress” in a fun and unique photo shoot. However, many brides want to hang onto their special dress because it represents so much love, happiness and fond memories for them.
If you want to keep your dress looking as good as they day you got married in it then wedding dress preservation and storage is so important. Here are 8 top tips you need to know about how to preserve and store your wedding dress.
1. Don’t take it to the dry cleaners!
Unlike standard dry-cleaning, wedding gown preservation begins with a specialist’s assessment. You want someone who guarantees they won’t do any damage, and in the event of damage, look for a guarantee that the cost of the dress (not just the preservation) will be refunded. Furthermore, find out how long they guarantee the wedding dress will remain pristine after preservation. The specialist creates a unique treatment plan according to your dress’s fabric, stitching and details, and analyses the stains along the hem line (as most gowns have been dragged along the ground). Whatever diagnosis the specialist comes up with your dress will look as good as new without harming the delicate fabric.
2. Invisible stains
Some of the worst stains are the ones you cannot see. White wine dries clear and stains that contain sugar can caramelise over time into dark brown patches that ordinary dry cleaning cannot remove. Professional cleaners and preservationists are trained to spot the unseen, of course. They’ll be able to deal with any stains on your wedding gown, from the invisible to the visible.
3. Check the label
This is one label you don’t want to ignore. Look for any specific dry-cleaning directions on the label, such as “Dry Clean Only with Petroleum Solvent.” Whatever it says, listen to it, and make sure the preservationist or dry cleaner you choose has the appropriate cleaning solutions to help preserve and store your wedding dress.
4. Time is of the essence
Professional cleaning is the first step in wedding dress preservation, so the sooner you get the wedding dress to the cleaners, the better. Brides often wait up to six weeks to take their dresses to be cleaned, and that’s risky business! Stains will have had time to really set in. Take your dress off as soon as the reception is over and make sure it gets to the dry cleaner pronto! If you’re literally jetting off on a honeymoon the next day then arrange for a friend or mum to take it for you!
5. Airtight is the answer
A preserved dress is typically stored in an airtight box where the oxygen has been sucked out and replaced with nitrogen. This prevents oxidation (aging, discoloration, etc.), which can happen to clothes that have been stored for several years. If you take the dress out of the box to show it off be sure to handle the gown with white cotton gloves! Wedding gown specialists recommend that you never break the seal, and if you do, you should have it preserved and sealed back up again.
6. Budget for cleaning your dress
Include wedding dress preservation in your wedding budget. A basic wedding dress clean can start from £150 so it’s not cheap!
7. Storing the dress
Once the wedding dress has been properly cleaned, it’s time to store it somewhere safe and dry to preserve it. If you don’t opt for the preservation box then protect your dress from direct sunlight, which can quickly fade and turn the dress yellow. Take it off the hanger, which can cause the heaviest dresses to become misshapen. Don’t store your gown in an attic, a garage, a basement or a cellar, as temperatures and/or humidity in these areas can become extreme. Opt for a self storage room that is dry and temperate such as the rooms at MyStore Self Storage in Witney. Avoid storing your dress in a regular, zip up-plastic bag! Plastic holds moisture and can potentially discolour a wedding dress. The exception to this is acid-free plastic, which wedding dress preservation boxes are made from, or better yet, choose a wedding chest.
8. Don’t Forget Your Shoes and Bouquet
Like your dress, the shoes you walked down the aisle in and the bouquet you held also hold a lot of meaning. You can preserve both of these alongside your gown. To preserve your wedding shoes give them a good clean; for cloth shoes, use a gentle cloth and sponge and lightly scrub your shoes with a mild detergent, for leather shoes just give them a polish. After your shoes are clean, wrap them in white tissue and place them in their box inside your storage room. Depending on the type of material your shoes are, you may be able to include them with your dress in the preservation box. Talk to your dry cleaners about whether this is possible. For bridal bouquets, you can press, hang, coat the flowers in wax, or use epoxy resin to preserve the blooms.
Self Storage with MyStore
Self storage can be the perfect place if you’re looking for somewhere to store your wedding dress and any other items of value for that matter. At our secure self storage facility in Witney you can store whatever you like in our dry, temperate and clean storage rooms from as little as £9 a week. You will be able to access your individually alarmed storage room anytime you like as you have access 24 hours a day. Our well-lit rooms come in a range of sizes from 15 to 150 square feet. Not only do we cater for the town of Witney but also nearby local communities such as Carterton, Burford, Long Hanborough, Chipping Norton and Eynsham.
We also offer discount rates for longer term storage. Just get in touch for more details on 01993 224422.