Here are some questions I received from Katie, a Bride-to-Be from the Birmingham, Alabama area, about getting her floor sample wedding gown cleaned before her wedding.
“I recently purchased a silk wedding gown from the White Room in Helena, AL. The gown was discounted, and I purchased the floor sample. Obviously, it needs to be tailored but it also requires a little cleaning. The gown itself is in great shape for having been a floor sample. There are no extremely noticeable blemishes on the fabric. The gown does have a rather wide Grace Kelly beaded cummerbund that goes all the way around.
My wedding is (in about nine months), and I was hoping to get your advice on how to go about storing the wedding gown and having it cleaned. I know silk is delicate requires special care.
- Should I have it cleaned and then tailored or tailored and then cleaned?
- Do you yourself actually clean silk wedding gowns? If not, do you have someone you would recommend?
The White Room gave me a plastic bag like you would get at the mall to put the gown in. They did not give me a garment bag because I purchased a floor sample.
I currently have the gown covered in the plastic bag and hanging in my basement. I am ordering a 100% acid free preservation box and breathable garment bag to store it in.
I would love to hear from you at your convenience to discuss what you recommend as far as cleaning the dress goes as well as storing it until my wedding day!”Katie
My answers to Katie:
Yes, we certainly do clean silk wedding dresses and would love to be able to help you. Buying a bridal shop floor sample wedding gown is a great way to save money on a top line wedding gown but they usually require cleaning and pressing before your wedding.
Clean Before or After Alterations?
Regarding whether you should clean a floor sample (or even a consignment shop) wedding dress before or after tailoring and how soon before your wedding, depends on the condition of the dress.
Clean the dress before the tailoring if you have any concern about getting the dress clean in time for your wedding. For example, if the dress has stains that may be difficult to remove like perspiration, food or beverage stains, it is better to get it cleaned sooner rather than later. And remember that some spills containing sugar may not be immediately visible…like white wine and Sprite. Over a few months these spills will turn to an ugly yellow brownish stain and are difficult to see before they turn colors. We use a black light to find these "invisible" stains.
If it just has minor problems from handling the gown while in the store, then I would get the tailoring completed about a month before you first need the dress (like for photos if you plan a photo session before your wedding). Then you still have plenty of time before you need the dress to get it cleaned. This way, you will have a clean dress, all pressed and ready to dazzle.
Protecting Your Gown Before Your Wedding
Don't store your gown in a plastic bag before your wedding. The plastic can cause discoloration of the dress over the nine months before your wedding.
Storing your dress in the basement is fine unless your basement is not in a climate controlled area of your home. Excess heat or humidity can cause problems to a wedding gown store for nine months.
If you want to buy an acid-free wedding gown preservation box before your wedding, this is also a good way to protect the gown. You can get this from a Certified Wedding Gown Specialist in your area. Be sure it is 100% acid free. There are some boxes that are not.
After the wedding you can use this box to preserve your wedding gown. Use 100% acid-free tissue to cushion the folds so you will lessing the creases when steaming your gown before the wedding. I will be glad to provide the box when prepaying for a wedding gown preservation.
As I already said, we can clean and press your gown before your wedding. We can also clean and preserve your gown after your wedding...and we have a special deal when we clean it before and after your wedding. We need to see your gown in order to give you a firm price but it is a good deal.
We can clean and preserve your wedding gown after your wedding and that includes an acid-free wedding gown preservation box…and we will box it after you have a chance to see your clean wedding gown to make sure the cleaning meets your expectation.
We also provide our International Guarantee for sugar stain yellowing with our wedding gown preservation service. And if you move to another city across the country, we have other members of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists who will clean and press your gown.
Wedding Gown Tailoring
We also provide the tailoring you need for your gown. We can do most any wedding gown alterations you need, including:
- letting in or taking out the bodice,
- removing or adding straps,
- changing your gown from a zippered back to a corset back wedding dress,
- adding a bustle
- complete restyling of the gown
Storing Your Gown Before Your Wedding
Regarding the storage of your gown before your wedding, a breathable garment bag is a good way to protect your wedding gown but be sure to keep it away from anything that could cause harm...including kids and pets.
Be careful when storing your gown on a hanger. If it is a simple gown without excess layers or a heavy train, this should work fine for a few months.
But if the dress is heavy (like from a long train or heavy beading), the seams can begin to stretch when stored for 9 months. You can help prevent this by supporting the gown with a second hanger supporting the train. And when hanging the gown, be sure to use the loops in the side seams of the gown and never from fragile shoulder seams.
Here are links to a couple of articles I wrote on related subjects:
Preserve Your Gown A Year Before Your Wedding?
Protect Your Gown Before Your Wedding
Gown Protection Plan
We also have a Gown Protection Plan that provides you additional assistance with your gown before your wedding. Here is a link to more information about this service: Gown Protection
But whatever you decide, please don't hesitate to contact me with any other questions about wedding gown care.