You fell in love with the perfect, pristine white wedding dress and put down your deposit for the purchase. Very soon, you will have this beautiful gown altered to your measurements and take it home. It will stay there till your wedding day, when you finally get the chance to show it off and be a gorgeous bride. All this seems easier said than done!
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. This would be a huge tragedy, since it is the one dress that will aid your transformation into a stellar bride.
Furthermore, you cannot risk damaging it beyond repair during or after the wedding. You may have plans to sell your wedding dress afterwards, store it for yourself or preserve it as an heirloom for your future generations. This is possible only 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 our dress.
Fortunately, we have the perfect guide to help you keep your wedding dress in great shape before, during and after the wedding. So, get ready and make notes of what you ought to do at each stage.
Keeping Your Wedding Dress Safe Before Your Wedding Day
When you buy a brand new wedding dress, it will be created from scratch by the manufacturer and shipped to your bridal store. It is a good idea to have your alterations completed at the same boutique, since this will minimize handling of your gown.
After the fittings, your gown is ready to go home. Exercise caution about how you go about handling your gown at every stage, from this step onwards. Here is all that you should know at this point.
Transporting the gown:
Make sure that your gown is properly boxed or wrapped in plastic, before you take it outdoors. We suggest you lay the gown down in the back seat of your car, instead of shoving it in the storage. The more space you can afford to spread it out on, the less it will wrinkle. If creases are formed during transport, you will end up having to press the dress again to restore its original look.
Keeping it intact till the 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. Plastic causes stains over time and it doesn’t allow the fabric to breathe. So, it is best avoided, if your dress arrives home long before your wedding day.
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 mold. 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. Else, 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. Visit this article on the Bridal guide to find out more about how to pack your wedding dress for travel.
Steaming and pressing:
Simply hanging your dress 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 wise to try this yourself. So, find the right agency that can do this without causing any damage to your wedding gown.
Caring For Your Wedding Gown On Your Wedding Day
You will finally get to wear your brand new wedding gown on your wedding day. Isn’t it 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 minimal. 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. This sample timeline on the Brides website may be handy in planning your day.
Have an emergency kit at hand:
A wedding 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 dressing up things to do. So, you will already have your hair and makeup done by this time. Although you will most probably step into your wedding gown after the rest of the works, 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 fibers 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.
After The Wedding
The big day has come and gone. Yet, your job isn’t complete! It is time to get your wedding dress cleaned pronto! Here is what to do.
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! For tasks like this can’t wait till you are back. The sooner you attack the stains, the better your chances 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 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 it from outside. Make sure that you choose the best storage method for your gown—vertical vs horizontal—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 pleasure 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 years later, for a vow renewal ceremony. Even if you were to sell it off, a properly preserved gown will fetch a good price and have more takers.
At Best for Bride, we have a professional wedding dress cleaning and preservation service. Take a look at this page on our website to find out more about these options.
FAQ – Caring for Your Wedding Dress
How long should your wedding gown be kept?
It’s best if you can get your wedding gown cleaned and shipped to a preservationist as soon as possible. It’s important to have your gown maintained within six weeks after your wedding day for the finest results.
How can you avoid wrinkles in your wedding gown?
Close all the windows and fans, and hang your dress high off the floor. Close the bathroom door and take a long, hot shower. Take the dress out of the bag after approximately 10 minutes and hang it firmly in the bathroom, away from the walls and off the floor. Make certain it won’t fall to the ground.
Is it possible to clean a wedding gown after 5 years?
Don’t worry if you have an older gown or one that you haven’t had cleaned in weeks or months after your wedding. While it is best to have a wedding gown cleaned and maintained sooner rather than later, the reality is that it is never too late.
Is preserving a wedding gown worthwhile?
If you want your dress’s beauty to survive a long time and you don’t plan on bringing it out of its box anytime soon, preservation is a must. Dresses that aren’t kept in good condition can become yellow with time.
What is the best way to clean the bottom of my wedding gown?
In the bathtub, wash the soiled garment hem with warm water and mild soap. To accomplish this, place the top half of the dress on a clean towel on the floor to keep it out of the water. Allow the hem to soak for a few hours, then gently clean it with a cloth or toothbrush soaked in detergent before washing.