Wedding planning can be a big undertaking. Finding the location, the caterer, the DJ…it can be a lot to handle. But the one thing brides seem to work the hardest at is finding a wedding dress—the perfect wedding dress. So after all that hard work and the countless memories made on a wedding day, preserving wedding dresses has become a high priority of brides everywhere. Gown preservation is a special process of cleaning and packaging a wedding or couture gown. However, navigating the preservation process, including who to trust, where to go, and how to go the DIY route, can be tricky. So here are a few tips and guidelines for preserving the beauty of your wedding dress:
Finding a Cleaner/Preservationist: Just like any other wedding vendor, finding someone to preserve your dress is an important task. You want to find someone you trust, can communication easily with, and most of all, someone who will get the job done in a professional manner. Lots of companies and cleaners claim to clean and preserve wedding gowns, yet not all are created equal. Look for someone who is licensed by the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, as these vendors specialize in gown preservation and restoration. To find a licensed specialist, visit the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists.
For brides in the Chicagoland area, Davis Imperial Cleaners is an incredibly popular and well respected vendor, specializing in wedding and couture gown preservation. They are also the only vendor in the Chicagoland area licensed by the Association of Wedding gown specialists.
Time is of the Essence: Though many brides set their dress aside for a few weeks after their wedding, enjoying honeymoon trips and new wedding gifts, it is incredibly important to get your dress to the cleaner as soon as possible following the big day. Obvious and visible stains such as red wine and dirt can clearly damage a gown, but so can invisible stains such as champagne and cake frosting. Therefore, for best results, get your dress to the cleaner as soon as possible. If you plan to be out of town or busy with after-wedding festivities, ask a family member or bridesmaid to drop it off at the cleaners for you. If you have any special requests or concerns about the dress, make sure to discuss these with your family member or bridesmaid, so they can relay them to the cleaner.
Do It Yourself Dress Cleaning: While most brides would love to have their dress last forever, many are not in favor of the hefty cost associated with licensed cleaners, which can be anywhere from $200-$800. So if you’re not crazy about the price tag or not certain that gown preservation is for you, going the DIY route may be a good option. Though it won’t be perfect or completely stain free, there are a few main steps in home preservation to help your dress look its best. First, wrap the dress in a white sheet or prewashed muslin before placing the dress in a sturdy box. Avoid using plastic bags or vacuum sealed plastic containers, as plastic emits fumes that can cause your dress to yellow or mildew. Also, make sure to avoid storing your dress in places of extreme heat. This typically rules out basements and attics, as both can reach extreme highs and lows when it comes to temperature. Under the bed or in a large closet are two of the safest options for storing your dress at home.