Wedding Dress 101: Preserving Your Bridal Gown

Now that you’ve found and purchased the dress of your dreams, it’s time to ensure that it stays in top condition 10, 20, or 30 years from now. Though this may sound easy, there’s more to wedding dress preservation than mere washing and storing. Bear in mind that not taking care of your wedding dress is like throwing thousands of dollars away, and you probably don’t want to do such a thing. So, if you’re in the market for bridal dress preservation, let us be your guide as you go on with the process.

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1. Act Right Away

The biggest and most common mistake that brides often do is storing their wedding dresses for weeks or months after the wedding before they bring them to professional cleaners. Stains, whether visible or invisible, get darker over time, which makes them even more difficult to remove. Moreover, exposure to sunlight and moisture can cause the fabric to weaken and turn yellow.

Make sure to bring your wedding dress to a professional cleaner in no more than five weeks after the wedding. According to many professional bridal dress cleaners in Singapore, many people send their dresses over after 20 years for restoration. Though most couture dresses have strong fabrics, professionals said that it’s likely safer and more affordable to have the dress washed and stored right away instead of restoring its brand-new-like condition after years of being home-stored.

2. Research About Cleaning Methods

Although it’s not necessary for you to be an expert on how to professionally preserve wedding dresses, you should know the most basic practices at the very least. This will help you find out whether or not to live your wedding dress to a particular cleaner. Ask them if they use Perchloroethylene, or also known as “Perc,” to clean dresses. Some cleaners use this chemical, but can be too abrasive for bridal gowns.

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It can possibly cause discoloration to the fabric and melt the beadings of your dress. Also, find out whether the cleaner is using virgin or freshly distilled solvent in washing your gown. This is one of the things to be certain of as old solvents have the tendency to absorb oil from previous garments and can cause an odd smell. Your wedding dress should be odorless after dry cleaning it.

3. Study Company’s Reputation

Like hiring any wedding vendor, the reputation of your professional cleaner should be among the first things to consider when searching for one. While it is good to consider bridal shop recommendations for bridal cleaners, doing a little research about their suggested cleaning company won’t hurt. Send your bridal dress only to a bridal cleaner who has been doing the job for years and handles the job in-house, rather than shipping them elsewhere. Also, ask how many bridal gowns they preserve in each year. Have them explain the process of their preservation and express anything you’re concerned about.

4. Get a Service Guarantee

Before sealing the deal with a prospective bridal press preservationist, ask if they offer bridal inspections and guarantees. It’s your only way to protect your expenditure if it turns out that your garment wasn’t cleaned and stored properly. It is also ideal to find out if the company has a customer service department to give answers to your questions throughout the preservation process.

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5. Go With the Flow

Bear in mind that sometimes, though very rare, there are stains that are very difficult to remove without putting the materials at risk of damage. If you happen to be in this situation, the best way to deal with it is to just shake it off and remember that the stain was caused by a once-in-a-lifetime event that you will forever cherish and remember. Do not worry too much and just allow the professionals to restore your dress to its optimum condition.

6. Store It Somewhere Safe

Once your dress has been professionally cleaned and returned, it’s imperative to look for a safe place in your house where it will be stored for years. Your preservationist will most likely return your dress in an appropriate storage container, like the ones mentioned below. If the dress is enclosed in a cardboard box, make sure that the box used has been chemically treated, as it is important that the dress is kept in acid-free and conservation-grade containers. Store the box in a dark and dry place, and be sure to open it twice or thrice a year to examine and air the gown.

Photo by Kent Wong Photography

Common storage containers for wedding dress preservation:

• Acid-Free Box – If your preservationist can’t provide you with an acid-free box for your dress, you can do this on your own. Purchase an acid-free box and acid-free tissue paper from a professional dry cleaning company. Fold your gown to fit into the box and place acid-free tissue papers in between folds.

• Cedar Wood Chest – A cedar chest or closet is also a good place to store your gown away from light, while allowing enough space for it to breathe. Cedar wood is said to repel bugs, which makes it a popular method of preserving wedding dresses. However, keep in mind that your dress may smell like cedar wood after being stored for years.

• Garment bag – Most professional cleaners use garment bags in returning garments to clients, but this isn’t the type of bag you should be using. Garment bags for wedding dresses should be breathable and acid-free, which is ideal for long-term storage. This is also the best method to avoid permanent creases and growth of mildew.

Whether you’re planning to make your dress an heirloom piece or not, it pays to have your bridal gown professionally preserved. Also, it is important to look for the best storage container and spot to store your dress. If you take care of your dress well, there’s no reason why your daughter can’t wear it on her most special day.

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