Wedding Dress Care For the Long Haul

brideYour big day has come and gone, and your beautiful dress is hanging in your closet (or at your mom’s!).  You spent a whole day in it– from getting ready, to photos, to walking down the aisle; through toasts, dinner and dancing.  The hem is dirty, a few beads have come off, and wait… is that a little red wine on the bodice?

What to do?

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to care for your wedding dress. While you likely don’t have the resources to dry clean it yourself, you can certainly make sure your dress is preserved for your daughter, niece, or another future bride without breaking the bank.  It will take a little time, but your dress (and wallet) will thank you.

First, you’ll need to have your dress cleaned.  Ask the store where you bought your gown where to have this done– you don’t want a dry cleaner that specializes in pressing shirts to possibly melt the sequins on your dress!  You also want a dry cleaner that will not send out your dress, but instead do the work themselves.They might ask if you want it preserved– tell them no, that you’d just like it cleaned. Be sure, before taking it to the dry cleaner, that you’ve noted any stains and what they are, whether it’s dirt, grass, wine or frosting.  That will help the dry cleaner to treat the stains (and not miss any of them!).

Once the dress is cleaned, dig out that little bag of sequins and buttons and go over your dress, noting anything that is loose or missing.  With a needle and thread, sew on sequins, beads and buttons– every dress comes with some spares– to make sure the dress is in tip-top shape.  You may have leftover beads, buttons or sequins– put them in a small bag and pin them (with a rust-proof safety pin) to the label, so that down the road, they’ll be easy to find.

Next, grab some acid-free tissue paper and an acid-free storage box.  Please don’t store your dress on a hanger, which will stretch the dress over time.  Likewise, never, ever store your dress in a plastic garment bag. Plastic won’t allow the fabric to breathe and it will let in light which will damage the fabric. Instead, get a box that is used to wedding dresses and has a solid lid. Lay out your dress on your bed, and take a look at it:  what could get crushed or lose its shape?  Use acid-free archival tissue paper to fill sleeves and bust, as well as to line anywhere that is folded, even pleats in the dress.  You can’t use too little tissue paper: you want to be sure that everything is well padded.  Ideally, you should inspect the dress yearly and pack it in new, acid-free tissue paper, but at the very least, you should replace the box and tissue every 15 years.   You can also use the acid-free tissue paper to wrap and preserve your veil, in a similar box.

Wedding Box by Manhattan Wardrobe Supplyacid_free_tissue_paper

Where should you store the dress? Avoid the attic and the basement– these areas are generally not temperature controlled, and the heat, cold and moisture can damage the dress.  The back of your closet is actually a good place, as it is dark and temperature controlled.

A little bit of time, care and a lot of tissue paper makes wedding dress care easy!  Done properly, you’ll have an heirloom for years to come.  Do you need a wedding storage box or acid free tissue paper? We have it at Manhattan Wardrobe Supply.