Your wedding dress serves as a reminder for that special day, the day of your dreams. Brides spend a lot of time and money finding their perfect wedding dress for the perfect wedding, so seeing the wedding dress will cause those happy memories to come flooding back. Many wedding gowns get left in a plastic cover at the back of the cupboard or in the loft after the special day with every intention of one day getting it cleaned and preserved. Leaving your wedding dress in its plastic cover will not only cause oxidation of any stains, it could also cause plastic fuming which can discolour the material even more than the yellowish colour that came with age.
Wedding dresses reflect the bride’s personality and in many cases, you won’t find one like it. Custom tailoring is applied to most dresses and many will personalise it by adding flowers and other patterns to make it their own. Many brides will want to keep their wedding dress either as a token of remembrance to their special day, or to give to their children or grandchildren as a family heirloom so that they can wear it on their own special day. In any case the dress should be properly preserved to ensure that the money spent on the dress doesn’t go to waste, after all many brides will only wear their dress on one day, leaving the dress to get old and discoloured over the many years of their marriage.
The biggest mistake that many brides make is leaving their dress in the cupboard or loft for weeks, months and even years after the wedding. They usually have every intention to get it cleaned at some point, but that thought is usually put to the back of their mind and forgotten about, unaware of the problems this can cause. Perspiration, body oils, sugar stains and many more can cause bad stains when left on the dress for a long period of time as the stains start to oxidise and discolour the dress. Even invisible stains can cause massive problems if left for too long, darkening the material with age to a brown colour. It is recommended that you get the dress cleaned and preserved within six weeks of the wedding to ensure that the risk of permanent stains is lowered. Treatment can be applied to the dress to remove stains and many wedding dress preservation services will often try their hardest to remove the toughest stains, although they cannot always succeed if the stains have been left for too long. Sunlight is also a huge problem for wedding dresses, as the UV rays can turn yellow over time, but this is not too much of a problem because it can take years for this to happen.
Once you have had your dress properly cleaned and preserved you should consider properly storing it at home. Your dress should be wrapped in acid free paper and stored in a box to ensure that further yellowing and acid breakdown does not occur. It should never be kept in the plastic garment bag that it came with as this can allow sunlight to penetrate the fabrics and it can also expose the dress to plastic fumes, causing further discolouration. You should store the box under your bed, or in a closet free from sunlight and moisture to ensure that the dress keeps and you can show it to your future generations and possibly even hand it down.
This post was written by Brad Warmbold, on behalf of Carlton Cleaners – providing wedding dress preservation services to Greater Manchester.