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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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What to do with your wedding dress after the wedding

Your wedding dress is one of the most important dresses you will ever wear in your life. This dress has more meaning than just a piece of fabric. It is also a symbol of happiness and unity. Your bridal dress is also a reflection of your personal taste, who you are as a person and perhaps even your love story. Apart from all these factors, your wedding dress is very expensive.

So, isn’t it quite sad that you will wear it just once in your life?

You may not find it easy to decide what to do with your dress after your wedding day. With so much money and emotion invested in making this choice, you may not think it apt to just leave it as such. So, we have rounded up all possible ideas on what you can do with your wedding dress once the big day has come and gone.

But before we proceed further, I must touch upon the importance of having your dress professionally cleaned and preserved. You should do this soon after the wedding day. The only exception for this is if you plan to trash your wedding dress.

Unless you have it cleaned immediately to remove dirt and stains, you risk the following:

  • The damage from stains that occur on the wedding day in it can become permanent. It will not be easy to restore the dress to its original condition once this happens.
  • Your dress will have picked up dirt, grime and sweat over the day. This can sink into the fabric and spoil its pristine look. It can also result in mildew and mold, if left untouched for long.
  • Creases and wrinkles affect your gown when you wear it or store it. You should have these removed promptly if it isn’t to set in permanently
  • The longer you leave your dress outside, the more susceptible it is to environmental conditions. The white color will yellow. Also, the dress is prone to new stains unless it is isolated and boxed.

For more information on the importance of professional cleaning and preservation of the wedding dress, visit this section on our website

Now that we have covered this aspect, let us take a look at the various options available to you after your wedding day is over.

Save it as an heirloom

Vintage wedding dress trends keep returning to the wedding scene. So, it is highly likely that your daughter, grand daughter or even great grand daughter will someday seek a dress like yours. Save your wedding dress in pristine condition, and it will come in handy in such a situation. Even if the dress isn’t used as such, it is possible that your future generations may re-purpose parts of the gown to make their own wedding dress. Whether it is worn in its original form or customized into something modern and chic at the time, it will once again find use.

The downside of saving your wedding dress for this purpose is that there is no guarantee your dress will be used. It depends on whether your children will even consider the option. If your daughter chooses to buy a new wedding dress, just like you did, saving it carefully would simply be a big waste.

Save it for your future vow renewal

Many couples decide to celebrate their marriage years after they are married, with a vow renewal. You may like to reuse your wedding dress on such a day. This is an apt occasion to relive your wedding day and deck yourself up as you did when you were a bride the first time. However, it isn’t necessary that your dress will fit you in the future. If you don’t change size significantly, you could wear your wedding dress once again with some alterations.

Nevertheless, you can even use parts of your wedding gown in a new dress for the day. All you need for this is a talented seamstress who can convert your dress into something else. Are you having trouble thinking up interesting ideas on how to achieve this transformation? Here are some stunning ideas on the Good Housekeeping website . There are more ideas here as well, on the Cosmopolitan to inspire you.

Sell your dress

Wedding dresses are expensive. If you never intend to use it again, it is sensible to sell the dress after your wedding. This will help you recoup a part of the money spent on it. There are many websites that allow you to list your dress online and sell it through them. Improve your chances of making the sale by having it professionally cleaned and restored to mint condition. Also, make sure you capture amazing photographs of the dress and add all relevant details to the listing.

Put up your dress for sale promptly after the wedding and improve your chances of making a sale. The longer you wait, the more likely its price will go down. For more advice on how to sell your dress online, visit this article on the Daily Life blog. 

You can also discuss this option of selling your dress with the boutique that you buy your dress from. If the shop has a dress rental service, it is likely that they will be ready to buy back the dress after your wedding at a reduced price. With this option, you needn’t search for another buyer, since the sale is guaranteed.

Trash the gown

If the money you spent on it doesn’t matter, trash your gown. This trend is supported by a relatively new style of wedding photography called the Fearless bride or rock the frock. Here the photographer will use a location that is entirely different from the typical wedding day scene. This could be a marsh, beach, field or outdoor location. The photographer aims to shoot photos that fit into the fashion photography genre. The pictures will look amazing, unique and one-of-a-kind. Your dress will become wet or dirty during the course of the session. So, it may be impossible to restore it to the original condition after the session. Because of this, it isn’t a good option if you wish to keep your dress for later use.

The photos are however worth the effort. In the hands of a talented photographer, these photos will be at a whole other level and much better than regular, wedding photos in every way. Take a look at this article to see what you can achieve with this idea. 

Donate your dress to a worthy cause

You can make sure that your dress lives on and is used by another bride when you donate it. There are many organizations that are ready to accept used wedding dresses. They may donate it to a bride who needs one for her wedding day. Or they may sell or auction it and use the proceeds for a worthy cause. Either way, you will contribute to a good cause. You may feel this is the right thing to do.

If you are unsure of whom to contact for this, take a look at this article on the Babble website.  Their suggestions include organizations that not only cater to needy brides, but also those that turns donated wedding dresses into beautiful burial grounds for infants who passed away. Take a look and we are sure you will find the choice that appeals to your ethics.

Transform it into a christening gown

If there is a baby on the way, or even if you intend to have children someday, you can save your gown and convert it into a christening dress. Just like your wedding, your child’s christening is a momentous occasion in your life. This is an amazing way to give your wedding dress a new purpose. With the help of a good seamstress, you can have your wedding dress transformed into a grand christening gown for your little bundle of joy.

There is another good aspect to this idea. Unlike when you hold on to your dress hoping your future daughter or daughter-in-law will choose the dress, you can take the uncertainty out of the equation in this case. After all, you have the freedom to make decisions for your baby. So, you can most definitely dress your child up in a converted wedding dress and make it part of a happy life occasion.

Use the fabric in customized lingerie

There are better chances of you using your wedding dress again this way. Companies like Impish Lee specialize in this type of work. Book a consultation with them to discuss your options for the garment so close to your heart. They will help you decide on a style that works best for you and suggest how to transform your beloved dress into the chosen design in the most efficient manner.

You can also use the extra fabric and embellishments like trim, lace or ribbons in something entirely unique and new. Once the blueprint is ready, their experts will complete the task of bringing the design to life.

Use the fabric in stunning throw cushions

Here is a great idea to keep your wedding dress within sight all the time. Throw pillows are a popular décor accessory. You can use them anywhere in the home, from the bedroom to the living room and even the patio. Your wedding dress has beautiful fabric that can be designed into throw pillows. The netting and inner layers can also be used as the filling.

The best part about this idea is that you can do this project yourself. It is relatively simple and you can easily complete it within a few days. Take a look at the amazing pictures on this website, and you will have no doubts about what you have to make with your wedding dress.

With the embellishments and ample fabric that goes into most wedding dresses, you will have plenty of material to get creative. Moreover, do it right and you could even make them family heirlooms to pass on to your children. Or gift them to your loved ones as a special gesture of thanks. You can also use the same idea to make beautiful pillows instead of cushions. If you do not have the time or aren’t confident in taking up the job yourself, get it done by a professional. We are certain you will love the results.

Make a pretty patchwork quilt

If you loved the feel and look of your wedding gown, keep it close to you forever by having it made into a patchwork quilt. This is a project where you will have to invest more time and effort. You should also have a good idea of what you are doing, if you have to succeed at it. Fortunately there are professionals like Mary Manson who specialize in projects like these.

You can use your wedding dress immediately after the wedding, or keep it till later to have this done. You can even add your wedding photo, initials, invitation or other details into the quilt by having it printed onto the fabric. If your wedding dress was a ball gown or heavily layered style, you could get up to two quilts from it. With this you gain a valuable décor piece that has a sentimental value attached to it. Don’t you think the idea is wonderful?

If a quilt doesn’t catch your fancy, you can do something on a smaller scale. A tote bag or clutch are such options. You just have to give it some thought and the ideas will keep coming.

So, which of these options will you choose for your wedding dress?

For more interesting ideas and valuable wedding advice and fashion updates for the modern bride, keep visiting us here on the Best for Bride blog.

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Things to remember when buying your wedding dress second-hand

Nothing beats a brand new wedding dress, but we all know how expensive it can be! It may not be possible to find that perfect wedding dress you always wanted, if you are on a limited budget. So, let us think of what is the next best option. You can either buy a second-hand gown, or rent your wedding dress from a reliable wedding store.

wedding dress

Buying your wedding dress second-hand is not a bad idea, as it will have been used just once before. If you are lucky, you may even find a gown that still has the tags on, if the bride who originally bought it later changed her mind after buying it. Either way, one thing is certain; the price will be a lot lesser. Nevertheless, there are a few questions you should ask when taking this route, and here they are.

Was the gown professionally preserved?

A once-worn wedding gown can quickly age, if it wasn’t preserved properly. So, it is wise to find out whether the gown has been preserved professionally following the wedding. Although a gown can be priced at less than 50% of the original cost, it isn’t always worth the price, if the gown hasn’t been properly cared for. A well-preserved wedding gown, on the other hand, will be as good as new, and you can be assured that you are getting the best deal for your money.

Are the alterations reversible?

Any bride who buys a wedding gown will have performed minimum alterations, so it fits her exactly. Since it isn’t likely that your measurements will match hers, you may have to further alter the gown to fit you. So, it makes sense to check on what alterations were carried out, and if they are reversible. This article on the Bridebox suggests that you ask for the actual measurements of the second-hand gown, and not the measurements that it originally came with, to understand whether it is the right choice.  Remember that it is always better to buy a bigger gown that you can take in.

Always deal with a trusted and reliable seller

The last thing you want is to buy a gown that is a knock-off, when you want to start off your marriage on a perfect note. Avoid this by asking your seller for proof of purchase. This will also allow you to check when the dress was purchased. If it was professionally preserved, ask for receipts of that as well. This will allow you to check whether the gown was preserved immediately after the wedding, and not when the seller decided to put it on the market. Since you will most likely be keeping the gown after your wedding, you must make sure that it received good care from the time it was out of the box.

Exercise caution and pay attention to the details, when you buy a pre-owned wedding dress. This way you can not only realize your dream of wearing the perfect wedding dress, but can do it with satisfaction.

If you would like to rent your wedding dress instead, get in touch with us at Best for Bride, and we can help you out.