Months of preparations have come to an end and that special day you thought would never come has come and gone. So what can you do to preserve not only the memory of your wedding day but also the wedding dresses that you treasure and that holds so much sentimental value? There are several ways of preserving your wedding dress that will make it last as long as your memories. All you need to do is follow a few important steps:
Steps 1. Clean the dress. Most bridal gowns are a polyester blend material and can simply be wiped down with a damp cloth. Dry-cleaning a bridal gown is expensive and can be dangerous. Many a bride is reduced to tears by having her wedding dress ruined at the dry cleaners. Do not risk it. If you do decide to take your dress to be dry cleaned, ask about the cleaning methods used, previous wedding dresses cleaned and guarantees offered.
Steps 2. Allow the dress to dry completely before attempting to package it. Do not package a damp garment of any kind.
Steps 3. Purchase a pH neutral storage container in which to store your dress. The acids in regular cardboard storage containers can eat away at fabrics over time and cause discoloration. Even the acid-free containers advertised by bridal shops for preservation are not safe unless they are not just acid-free but pH neutral as well. Most acid-free boxes actually have a reverse alkalinity, which is just as damaging to fabrics.
Steps 4. Choose a box that is completely opaque. Most bridal storage boxes have a viewing window on top and should not be purchased for this very reason. Light causes discoloration to fabrics over time.
Steps 5. Avoid the tissue paper. If you have the right type of storage box for your wedding gown, tissue paper is not necessary and could actually be detrimental. If you feel that you must have tissue paper, purchase the acid-free kind.
Steps 6. Store your dress in an indoor closet. Do not leave it in a storage unit, attic, basement or garage. For the best bridal gown preservation possible the dress must be kept in a dry environment and at a steady temperature.
Steps 7. Inspect your dress on each anniversary to check for any discolored areas or missed stains and to allow your dress to "breathe."
Note: No other garment will ever mean more to you than your wedding gown. Whether you choose to pass it on to your daughter or simply keep it as a permanent record of your wedding day, your gown deserves special attention especially on wedding anniversary. By cleaning and storing it properly, you will have a lasting and well-preserved memento that you can treasure forever.
△ Find a dependable dry cleaner by calling an haute couture shop in your area and asking which cleaner the shop uses. Or contact the International Fabricare Institute (see Related Sites).
△ Check inside the dress when you search for stains – makeup can rub off on the inside when you pull the dress on and off.
△ Avoid boxes with cellophane windows, as they can cause damage to your dress by allowing light to discolor it.
△ Some stains don't show up until months or even years later. Take the dress back to the cleaner if you find any new ones.
△ Hanging your dress may cause the neck and shoulders to stretch.
△ Never store your dress in plastic for long periods of time. It will not allow the fabric to breathe and eventually the fibers will begin to break down.