These gowns are regarded as heirlooms, regardless of the financial investment; and if you're considering passing it down one day for a future generation to wear as-is or utilize elements of, it should be preserved as a keepsake.
White wedding dresses with their heavy fabric layers and intricate embellishments are susceptible to different types of damage. From stains to embroidered details coming loose and even yellowing of fabric—there are many things that can ruin its brand new look.
Although enjoying your wedding day in your beautiful gown will be your top priority, you cannot risk damaging it beyond repair during, or after the wedding. Consider your daughter, a future daughter, daughter-in-law, or family member who may want to wear your wedding dress one day, sew a piece of it into their own, or design a christening gown made of your vintage lace or silk... Or you may have plans to sell it.
This is only possible if your dress is 'as good as new' even though you wore it. This makes it all the more important to retain the original look of your wedding dress.
Fortunately, we have the perfect guide to help you keep your wedding dress in great shape before, during and after your wedding day. 🎉
IN THIS ARTICLE:
KEEPING YOUR WEDDING DRESS SAFE BEFORE YOUR WEDDING DAY
CARING FOR YOUR BRIDAL GOWN ON YOUR WEDDING DAY
AFTER YOUR WEDDING DAY
Your wedding dress is made, alterations are complete, and she's ready to head to home! From this step onwards, please exercise caution about how you go about handling your gown at every stage. Here is all that you should know about taking care of your wedding dress at this point...
Transporting the gown: Make sure that your gown is either properly boxed, in a dress bag, or wrapped in plastic—in other words—protect it—before you expose it to any outside elements. We suggest you lay the gown down in the back seat of your vehicle, instead of shoving it into the boot of the car. The more space you can afford to spread it out on, the less it will wrinkle. If creases are formed during transport, you may end up having to press or steam the dress again to restore its original look.
Keeping it intact till your big day: Allocate a low-traffic area, which is out the way, for the storage of your wedding dress. Don’t remove it from the bag, unless absolutely necessary. However, if it comes wrapped in plastic, we suggest you move it into a fabric bag if your dress arrives long before your wedding day. Plastic causes stains over (long periods of) time and it doesn’t allow the fabric to breathe.
How to store it: Most wedding dresses have heavy fabric layers and plenty of embellishments. It isn’t wise to hang such dresses. However, if your dress has minimum embellishments and is light-weight, consider hanging it in a closet or a similar safe place. For a heavy gown, you should ideally store the dress flat. Ideal locations would be the top shelf of your closet or a storage area under the bed, that you rarely use for anything else. Or if you have a spare room, consider storing it there, if it is out of direct sunlight.
Hang it with care: If your dress isn’t too heavy, you can hang it up in your storage space. However, be careful how you do this. Always use a padded hanger for the purpose, and not one made from wiry material that can damage the fabric. Wedding dresses will have fabric loops on the inside. Use these to hang it. Never hang a dress by its straps or sleeves. This can cause the delicate material to sag or rip.
Keep it away from heat and dampness: Exposure to heat can damage your wedding dress. Also, placing it in a humid environment makes the fabric prone to stains and mould. So, make sure that your storage area experiences no fluctuations in temperature. Additionally, it shouldn’t be damp. Use a dehumidifier in the room, if you aren’t certain the space is prone to dampness.
Do not handle it too often: Resist the temptation to constantly check on your dress or show it off to guests. Let it rest in its spot, so it continues to look clean and crisp. Remember that you risk damaging or staining your dress every time you touch it or take it out. So, avoid touching it while it is in storage. Occasionally give it a quick visual check to make sure everything is fine, and it will be sufficient.
Travelling with the gown: If you have a destination wedding, it is imperative to travel with your gown. In this case, make sure you carry it in your hand luggage and not check it in. Arrange with your airline to hang it in a safe area for the course of your journey. Otherwise, transport it in a box to ensure minimum handling. We suggest you choose fabric that doesn’t wrinkle easily and a dress with few embellishments, to reduce the risk of damage during travel.
Steaming and pressing: Simply hanging your dress up high can help most of the wrinkles in it drop. You can also hang it in the bathroom with a hot shower running. This is sure to get any remaining wrinkles out. However, be careful that you do not get the dress wet in the process. If you still notice wrinkles, entrust the job of getting them out to a professional dry cleaner. It isn’t the best idea to do this yourself (although you can!) So, find the right people who can do this without causing any damage to your wedding gown.
You will finally get to wear your beautiful bridal gown and look absolutely radiant on your wedding day. How exciting!!! However, remember that this is also the day when your dress will be subjected to most wear and tear. If you are a little careful, you can make sure that the damage to your dress is minimum. Here is what you should take care of on your wedding day...
Wear your dress only after your hair and makeup is complete: Hair spray, perfume and makeup will cause stains. With a little care, you can eliminate the chances of any of them coming in contact with your wedding gown. Complete your hair and makeup first, and only then wear your wedding dress. If you must touch up your hair and makeup, place a towel over your dress, so the products don’t come in contact with the fabric.
Have an emergency kit at hand: A bridal emergency kit is a lifesaver on most occasions! You can either buy a ready-made kit, or set it up yourself. This emergency kit will contain all the essential items to address any unexpected wedding dress mishaps. From crystals that fall off to makeup stains or rips and tears, it will have the emergency supplies to handle such situations. So, don’t go anywhere on your wedding day without your emergency kit to tackle things at a moment’s notice.
Never rub any stains that may happen: Should an accident occur, never use harsh products to clean up the mess. For makeup or oily food stains, apply baby powder to the area and dust away the excess powder. In case of wine stains, simply blot the area with a dry tissue. A professional dry cleaner will be able to tackle the stain that remains, as long as you get the dress to them soon after the wedding.
Be ready to spot clean or mask stains: Wearing your wedding dress is usually one of the last things you do when you're getting ready. You would normally have your hair and makeup done by this time. Although you will most probably step into your wedding gown after being dolled up, you cannot entirely eliminate the risk of a makeup stain. There are also chances of ending up with wine stains, food stains and dirt or mud stains. Be prepared to mask or spot clean your dress, should any of these occur. Baking powder, baby powder or chalk will mask most stains. In any situation, never use anything permanent like shoe polish or white out as you cannot get these out later.
Hold up your skirt and train when outdoors: Not only will your dress collect dust, dirt and moisture when you are outdoors, it can stain and the fabric may be damaged beyond repair. The fibres in wedding dresses are very delicate and susceptible to ripping and tearing. So, pick up the train and hold your skirt up when you step outdoors. Have your bridesmaids support your skirt and train if it is a long walk, so your dress isn’t damaged.
Hang it out to dry: Your wedding dress will pick up sweat, dirt and dust over the course of your wedding day. So, don’t stash it into a box or your closet right away. Hang it up, and allow it to air dry for a bit. Don’t wrap it in plastic, as this can cause stains to set and new ones to form.
Cleaning and storage can’t wait: If you plan to head off on your honeymoon soon after the wedding, entrust your wedding gown to a faithful friend. Ask her to drop it off for cleaning and preservation ASAP! Tasks like this one cannot wait until you are back. The sooner you attack the stains, the better your chances are of getting them out. So, have your dress sent to the dry cleaners with instructions on the damage done, so they can work on it accordingly.
Store it the right way after cleaning: For your dress to be re-usable, it should at least be dry cleaned after the wedding. Once you get it back from the dry cleaners, you can store it carefully at home by yourself. You will need a box that is at least one-third the length of the front of your gown to store it properly. Use plenty of acid-free tissue to line the box and stuff the dress to avoid creases from forming. We also advise removal of metallic buttons, zippers and hooks that can oxidize and stain the dress over time. Take the dress out of storage once in a while, inspect it for deterioration of any kind, refold and put it back to ensure it is in best condition.
Use professional preservation services for guaranteed results: To guarantee the storage of your dress in perfect condition, it is best to have it professionally preserved by the experts. Heirloom preservation methods remove existing damage and box it in such a way that it is completely shielded from environmental elements. You can choose to save it in a window box, so you can see (and inspect) it from outside. Make sure that you choose the best storage method for your gown to ensure the gown is stored right. Finally, place it in an area that isn’t prone to moisture, temperature changes or pests, so your gown retains its fresh condition.
Well-kept wedding gowns are a treasure to have. If you are lucky, the women in the future generations of your family will be thankful for this gift that you lovingly hand over to them. Or you could yourself wear this special dress again years later, for a vow renewal ceremony! And even if you were to sell it off, a properly preserved gown will fetch a good price and have more takers.
We have partnered with Regal Drycleaners to provide the best aftercare for your gown. Regal Drycleaners use sustainable cleaning methods and have been the experts in bridal cleaning for over 20 years in New Zealand, with experience cleaning over a thousand gowns per year! They have 5 stores in Auckland, and also a New Zealand-Wide service so that you can courier your gown to them to ensure it can receive the best treatment, and they will courier it back to your home afterwards. Exclusive offers available for Wedding She Wrote customers. Use #WEDDINGSHEWROTE or mention us for a gift-with-purchase!
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