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How to care for your wedding dress before,during and after your wedding day

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.

Traveling 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 who 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 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. 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 dry cleaning and wedding gown preservation service. Take a look at this page on our website to find out more about these options. 

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10 things to do before you put on your wedding gown

dress

Once you wear your wedding gown on your wedding day, your transformation into a bride is almost complete. There are few things left to do now, before you walk down the aisle. But before you step into your dream wedding dress, there are a couple of things you should first complete. This is what we will look at today. Here is a list of must-do’s before you finally wear your bridal dress, and are ready walk down the aisle.

1.Eat and drink something

While you should have something light to snack on, even after you change into your dress to keep the hunger pangs at bay, you should fill yourself up prior to wearing your dress. Once you are in it, you should be very careful not to soil your dress. So, make sure that you snack on something nutritious and filling before you change into your wedding dress. Don’t skip this step as you need your nutrients to keep going through the hectic evening. All the excitement can also make you feel light-headed, and an empty stomach will only make it worse. So, even if you have a hearty meal early in the day, carry a few non-colored snacks to chomp on, should you feel hungry later. Check out this post on the Bridal Guide blog for some great food suggestions. Also don’t forget to have enough fluids, so you are fresh and your skin retains its freshness. Save the juices and other colored drinks for before you wear your wedding dress. Sip on clear liquids and water, once you change into your dress, so you minimize the chances of staining your wedding dress.

2.Take one-last trip to the bathroom

Your wedding dress is made from yards of fabric, and it isn’t easy to visit the bathroom once you are wearing it. Although you will have to do it at least once during the reception, you can try to delay it for as long as possible by making a visit prior to wearing your dress. In all the rush during the day, don’t forget to schedule in this last visit, just before you wear your dress. You can even ask your maid of honor to remind you, just in case you forget. While we are on this topic, it is also worth a reminder that you ask your maid of honor to learn how to bustle your dress, so you can comfortably maneuver it during your visit to the bathroom.

3.Finish your hair and makeup and allow it time to set

hair

Not only should you finish your hair and makeup prior to wearing your dress, you should also allow it enough time to sit. Even a small hint of makeup on the dress can form an unsightly mark, that will easily damage the beauty of your gown. To avoid this, make sure your makeup has enough time to set. After applying your makeup, dust it with translucent powder or use a setting spray, and wait till it sets, before wearing your dress. This will protect both your makeup and your dress.

Tip: While applying makeup, don’t forget to cover all the areas on your body that will be exposed. Blend each layer in very well, so that the makeup looks continuous and doesn’t end abruptly to expose patches of raw skin.

4.Get all the things you need for your dressing ready and in one-place

Once you are in your stark white wedding gown, you want to avoid any accidents that may cause a stain. Think of all the likely situations that can cause an accident, and then prevent it at all costs. You can do this when you plan your wedding schedule to the last detail, including what all you have to do after you wear your gown. Try to collect everything in one place, so you needn’t wander around in your gown and risk any accidents. Set up all the things you need, the day before itself, so you needn’t worry about it in the morning. Place everything, including your shoes and bouquets in low-traffic areas, so the chances of staining your dress are low. Don’t forget the ground either, as your dress will be trailing on the floor. Spread clean towels or sheets over the floor before you get into the dress. Similarly, have all the items you need to get dressed handy. We think this idea on the Knot is simply brilliant. The suggestion is to have a crochet hook on hand if your dress has a number of fabric buttons, and you can avoid handling them too much. Also keep a towel handy to cover up the front of your dress when you eat, drink or touch up your make-up.

5.Take a proper look in the mirror and make sure you are all set to wear your dress

Once your hair and makeup is done, the only thing left to do is to get into your wedding dress. Don’t rush it. Spend a few minutes to get a proper look of yourself in the mirror, and make sure you are entirely happy with what you see. If you think your makeup is missing any detail, or your nails could do with one top coat of polish, this is the time to do it. Also check your hair and make sure that it is in place, like it ought to be. Mentally run through all that you should complete as part of your hair and makeup, and before stepping into your wedding dress. These few minutes could be valuable in reminding you of something you may have overlooked. Once you have completed everything that is to be done, there is nothing left to do but change into your dress.

6.Finish off any work that you have to do yourself

last minute

If there are any DIY details or personal stuff that you have to handle yourself, make sure it is completed before you change into your wedding gown. Whether it is overseeing the centerpieces, arranging the wedding favors, feeding your pet or doing your flower girl’s hair, you should tackle it before you change into your wedding dress. However trivial a task may be, it is better to get it out of the way before you change into your dress. After all, the wedding dress is a detailed garment, and it may not be wise walking around in it and risking an accident. Once you are dressed in your wedding gown, all that should ideally be left to do, is wait to get married.

7.Do a quick stain check

Like we suggested earlier, you should have your dress pressed and on the hanger, the day before your wedding itself. The dress should still be wrapped in a transparent bag to ensure that there are no chances of getting stained. Place it inside the closet or in a spot that not many people will access, to avoid any risk. On your wedding day, just before you step into your dress, spend a brief minute or two checking it for any possible stains. If there is an unexpected mark, it is always better to tackle it before you put the dress on. Have your emergency bridal kit on hand, and you will have the solution to your problem there. Find out more about what your emergency kit should contain, and how you can buy a ready made one, by checking out this previous post on the topic. Don’t be too worried if such a stain is indeed visible. Try to hide it, if not get rid of it. Just go for what looks like the most practical solution at that point of time. Once you are in your dress, be super careful about not adding any more stains to your white dress. While stepping into your dress, and moving about in it, ask for help from your bridesmaids so you can avoid brushing against anything that may cause it to catch color. Also, it is better to be safe than sorry. See to it that you put away makeup, food and anything that can cause an accident, and check any surfaces that you will be sitting on or leaning against so there are no chances of catching stains.

8.Have your wedding dress photographed and getting ready pictures clicked

Yes, you need to add a picture of your wedding dress on the hanger, into your wedding photo collection. Only then will the transformation after you wear it be evident. Make sure your wedding dress is on a pretty hanger, or placed neatly on a neat and pretty surface, so it looks good. It is also customary to have pictures of yourself and the bridal party getting ready for the big event. Work with your photographer to plan the timing of the shoot. Make sure you get this done with sufficient time to get fully dressed, so you won’t have to rush through everything. Also schedule this into bridesmaids time schedule, so they are all present on time. Discuss how much time this will take and other details with your photographer, so you won’t be late, nor should this clash with the rest of the wedding day activities.

9.Put your garter on and take that one loving glance at your dress

If you are a traditional bride who will be following the age old tradition of wearing a wedding garter, make sure that you wear it before you wear your gown. Well, you could always add this little accessory even after you are in your wedding dress, but it won’t be easy. Since you’ll be lifting up the skirt for this, you risk scrunching it up and spoiling the fresh look. So, save this task for before you are actually in your wedding dress. Once the garter is also in place, all that is left to do is dress yourself in the gown. Before this, we suggest you take a final look at your dress, as it awaits you. It’ll be a memory you’ll love to hold on to later.

10.Get your helpers in position

It is very unlikely that you will be able to get into your wedding dress and have it zipped or buttoned up, all by yourself. Getting yourself strapped into your wedding dress is usually at least a two member task. So, have your assistants at their posts, before you set about getting into the dress. It would be wise to use a scarf over your face, so you do not smudge your makeup or stain the dress. Also remember that the right way to wear a wedding gown is not to pull it over your head, but to step into it. The only exception is if the gown is a sheath style dress or a high-neck design without a zipper or long button train at the back. So, have all that you need to assemble everything into place handy, and the bridesmaids who will assist you, in their positions. One of them should hold the dress open and stiff, so it doesn’t get crumpled. It would be a good idea to hold on to one of the other girls for support as you step into the gown. Finally, they can zip or button you up, and the job is complete.

So, now you know all that you need to do prior to wearing your dream wedding dress. We hope this post has been useful for you. For more such wedding related advice, tips and tricks, keep visiting us at Best for Bride.

We are the one-stop bridal destination for not only brides in Canada, but all over the world. With a stunning array of wedding gowns from top-class wedding designers, we bring you both classic and modern wedding dresses of every type imaginable. Our collection also includes bridesmaids dresses, mother of the bride dresses, flower girl dresses and much more. Visit our online store to find out all about the various wedding services we offer. We ship orders worldwide, and so you are closer to realizing your dream wedding vision, than you were ever before.