Keeping your wedding gown in the best possible condition should be your primary concern. Let’s face it. Weddings can be hard on a gown. You may be dancing and moving around. The people attending your wedding want to talk with you all the while everyone is eating, drinking, dancing and just plain having a good time.
Your wedding gown is exposed to all sorts of abuse. The hem may drag the ground causing dirt and grass stains. You might step on the hem and tear the seams or bustle. You might close the limo door on the gown and get grease on it.
After the wedding, many bridal gowns are returned to the plastic garment bag that came with the gown. And there it sits for months or even years. So what can happen to this gown?
Gowns placed in plastic bags are exposed to chemical fumes that are quite harmful to the long-term maintenance of your wedding gown. These bags are intended to protect your gown during transport and for short periods of a week or two. If not cared for properly, the gown could be permanently damaged from untreated stains, stretched seams, or permanent creasing.
The most common problems requiring wedding dress cleaning are:
Whether you want to preserve the memories that blossomed with your wedding day or you decide to sell your gown and recover some of the cost, every gown needs to be cleaned after the wedding. And if you plan on keeping your gown, wedding gown preservation by certified wedding gown specialists is essential.
All gowns have their own unique composition requiring knowledge of fabrics, weaves, construction and components such as lace, embroidery, beading, and other endowments. And of course, stains, seen or unseen are always an important consideration. We evaluate all of this information in designing a treatment plan for your gown.
Our process begins with a careful inspection, preferably with you present. Your knowledge of the gown including any “accidents” that may have happened is always helpful at this stage. We will look for signs of sugar, salt and acid stains and use special black lights to identify invisible stains that may yellow over time. We will inspect the hem to look for soil and wear as well as loose hems and seams. We will carefully inspect the gown and determine the fabric content since the fabric determines the exact cleaning treatment required. We will also check the gown for tears, which are not uncommon, especially with full-length gowns. We have an expert seamstress, also a dressmaker, available to consult about repairs to your gown. It is your decision whether or not to repair the gown at this time.
It is important to understand that every wedding gown is cleaned individually with a treatment plan designed for that gown alone. We are not in the mass production business! We will gladly provide a FREE EVALUATION of your gown or family heirloom and provide an estimate of our charge to clean and preserve your special memory.
If you would like us to continue, we will first spot clean specific problem areas, then clean the entire gown. Spills containing sugar, salt and acid will usually dry clear and invisible to the naked eye and will turn yellow or brown over time. Our unique anti-sugar stain treatment, featured in Modern Bride and Brides, ensures that all sugar, salt and acid, seen or unseen, are removed.
These processes are repeated if necessary until we are convinced that the dress is as clean as possible. At this point you can come in for an inspection to see the dress for yourself. If you find additional issues needing treatment, we will take care of them.
Only when you are satisfied will we carefully cushion the folds of your gown with layers of acid-free tissue and place it into an acid-free, archival-quality wedding gown chest. This is what we refer to as wedding gown preservation. Your wedding dress will not yellow and there will be no latent stains that might eventually develop into dark brown or yellow spots because we have taken the extra steps to ensure that all stains, both seen and unseen, are removed from your bridal gown.
We can also seal the box with tape. This doesn’t mean that you cannot remove the gown. But we believe a sealed box provides more protection and less likelihood of someone breaking the seal and handling the gown "by mistake" or household pests crawling in and ruining the dress.
This is our promise and it’s backed up by an International Guarantee. The museum quality chest we use is actually rated to last many lifetimes when stored properly. As the only Certified Wedding Gown Specialist in Birmingham, Alabama, we commit our expertise to Brides throughout Alabama and beyond.
If you’re interested in finding out more about cleaning and preserving your gown, please feel free to download and read our Process Sheet.
Fill in the form to the right for an appointment to evaluate your dress and give you a quote for cleaning and preserving your gown. We will do this absolutely free of charge.
It will take about two weeks of cleaning to ensure everything is as perfect as possible. If you need it done in less time, just let us know and we will do our best to meet your schedule.
And if you live outside the Birmingham area, we can send a prepaid shipping carton to you. This carton is designed for wedding gowns and is labeled for easy shipment to us. This service and any desired insurance is available for an additional fee.