I was recently asked if a wedding dress should be preserved if it will sit for a year before the wedding. This is a good question and one with an easy answer: It Depends!
The obvious benefit to getting a wedding dress preservation just a year before your wedding is that the dress would be clean and protected before the wedding. When preserved, the dress can easily be placed out of reach of kids and pets. It can easily be placed where a catastrophe like broken water lines are not a threat. So there are many benefits to cleaning and preserving your wedding gown before your wedding.
But is it worth the cost?
If you can keep your wedding dress -
- out of the reach of kids and pets,
- away broken water lines or overflowing toilets, and
- away from high humidity and heat
If you aren't sure about the likelihood of it surviving in good shape for the year, then I'd say preserving is your best bet. And if the wedding is, say, two years away, I'd say it's a good idea to preserve it.
If you decide to not preserve your wedding dress when your wedding is a year away, make sure you it's clean as soon as possible. Don't let stains sit for a year. If the wedding dress has been worn, it may have been exposed to makeup, perspiration, grass stains, hem dirt and more. Just because it looks clean, don't be fooled.
If you aren't sure about the shape of the gown, bring it by to us in Birmingham, Alabama and we'll take a look at it under a black light. We'll go over your gown while you're with us to assess the condition. You can make the decision to have it cleaned or not. There is no charge for this evaluation process.
So how should you store your clean wedding dress if it will sit for a year before your wedding?
Here are my suggestions:
- Don't use a plastic garment bag of any type. If your gown is stored in a plastic bag for that long, there is a good chance that your gown will show signs of discoloration within a year...and guess what: You'll need to get it cleaned and restored before your wedding.
- Remove the breast pads and underarm pads, if any. They'll emit fumes just like a plastic garment bag. If they are sewn in, you must decide if the risk is worth the gamble of leaving them in place or removing and later restoring them to the gown.
- Hang the wedding dress on a wooden hanger. Be sure the hanger has no plastic.
- Use a padded hanger unless the wedding dress is sleeveless. Make sure the padding is not foam rubber. Make a padded hanger yourself by taking a wooden hanger and wrap it with cotton sheet, terry cloth towel or other cotton fabric
- If the dress has a long train that cannot easliy be removed, be sure to take the extra weight of the train off the seams by folding the train over the hanger. One concern about hanging a heavy wedding dress is the seam stretching that occurs over time. Create ways to minimize the hanging weight on the seams of the wedding gown. Make a sling and place it over the hanger to move the weight to the sling rather than on the seams. A long dress full of beads can be heavy. Be creative when dealing with a heavy dress.
- Protect the wedding dress by placing a large cotton sheet over the dress. Simply pin the ends of the sheet above the hanger like a taco. A safety pin or two along the sides is not a bad idea either. We also have muslin garment bags that can be used to effectively protect and store a hanging wedding dress.
- Finally, hang the gown where it has room to breathe. Don't place it in a crowded closet. And certainly don't even think about using the vacuum sealed plastic containers.
Do these things and your wedding dress should be ready for your wedding. You may need to get it steamed out before your wedding, but it should be in good shape.
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Learn about our Gown Protection Plan here.