Many brides choose to preserve their wedding dress after the big day. Whether you have sentimental reasons, or you want to offer it to your daughter in the far future, it’s important to be proactive. You can only keep your dress white, bright and beautiful if you take certain steps.
Fortunately, preservation kits and professional cleaners have made the process easier than ever. With the help of a service, and a few of the tips below, you’ll ensure your dress stays as stunning as the moment you first saw it. With that in mind, here are seven simple strategies for preservation.
1. Act Quickly
When it comes to preserving your gown, time is of the essence. Stains that sit too long on satin or silk are especially difficult and even impossible to remove. As soon as the reception ends, take off your dress, hang it up and zip it into a bag.
Designate someone to take it to a specialized dry cleaner within the week. Even if you didn’t spill anything on your gown, it’s always best to have a professional clean it since some marks from fingers or sweat may appear over time.
2. Ditch the Plastic Cover
Once your dress is clean, avoid storing it in a plastic bag or cover. This material can disintegrate over time, leaving harmful particles, like butylated hydroxytoluene, on your dress.
Plastic also has the potential to create and trap excess moisture within the bag, increasing the chance of mildew, mold and staining. Opt for a cotton duvet or garment bag instead. This ensures a safe, dry environment for your dress until you’re able to fully preserve it.
3. Choose an Airtight Box
When you’re ready to preserve your gown — right after returning from your honeymoon — be sure to choose an airtight preservation box. These boxes are typically filled with nitrogen to prevent oxidation and sealed tightly to keep changes in temperature and moisture from affecting the dress. Although many boxes are made of plastic, these are typically acid-free and safe for preservation.
If you’re sad about boxing up your dress for good, some of them feature a viewing window so you can still admire your gown without opening the box.
4. Avoid Attic or Basement Storage
As previously mentioned, you must keep your dress in a cool, dry place. Although your attic may be both these things at the moment, temperature and humidity levels can change drastically with the seasons.
This is especially true if you happen to have poor insulation or ventilation. You might have pests making a home for themselves up there as well. Mice, rats, raccoons, bats and even snakes can find their way into your attic space and your preservation box if you aren’t careful.
5. Use Acid-Free Tissue Paper
Just like plastic, tissue paper can contain harmful elements that can discolor your dress. Using acid-free tissue ensures your dress stays as white as ever, and many wedding storage boxes already come with it and instruction on how to use it.
Place the tissue between the layers of your dress as you fold it away to prevent permanent creasing and maintain the shape of the gown. If your dress has sleeves, you might also consider stuffing them with tissue paper.
6. Guard Against the Elements
Once your gown is all sealed up, you’ll want to keep it somewhere safe to protect it from direct light, heat and damp conditions. The darkest, driest areas in your house will prove the best place to store your dress.
If you have a spare room or a big closet, it might be safest to keep the box there. Just be sure to keep it away from external walls as fluctuating temperatures may cause problems like deterioration.
Contact a Professional if Necessary
When it comes to preserving your wedding dress, you want to be confident your gown will stand the test of time. Since you likely haven’t preserved a dress before, now might not be the best time to learn.
Luckily, there are companies that will do this for you. All you have to do is ship it to their facility. If you want to ensure your dress remains just as beautiful as the day you wore it, trusting a professional may be the best option.
Whatever you choose to do, it’s a smart idea to store your wedding dress! When done right, you’ll have it for decades to come.