Attire & Accessories

How to Preserve Your Wedding Dress

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Our wedding gown is probably the most expensive and special dress we will ever buy. Most brides want to preserve their wedding dress for posterity, as there are so many beautiful emotions and memories attached with them. if you desire to preserve your wedding dress and retain its glory and beauty for years to come, keep it clean, well-packed and stored properly. Here are a few practical tips to help you with this.

Image courtesy: Prior to the Wedding

If you are serious about preserving your dress and passing it down as an heirloom, you should research a good wedding gown preservation company before the big day.

Many brides opt for preservation companies and dry-cleaners recommended by the boutique or designer from whom they purchased their wedding gown. This makes a sensible option, but should not be followed blindly. Do your own research about the company, ask their former clients, and make an informed decision.

Image Courtesy:

Follow the same procedure for other cleaning companies and dry cleaners suggested. Beware of cleaners who quote their price over the phone without inspecting the dress personally. They will not give your dress the personalized attention it needs. Rough treatment of the fabric, beads and other ornamentations can leave your wedding dress bruised.

Another advantage of the pre-wedding research is that you can have a friend drop your dress at the cleaning company immediately after the wedding while you happily leave for your honeymoon.

Know the Process of Cleaning

Just dropping off the dress at the cleaners is not enough. Ask them about the exact process they are going to use for cleaning it.

  • Which cleaning technique will they use for your dress and why — the wet-cleaning method or the dry-cleaning method?
  • How are they going to deal with stubborn stains? Will they be using percholoroethylene or petroleum-based cleaners? The former is very good for difficult stains but can be very harsh on delicate fabrics like satin and tulle.

Ask relevant questions and give your dress for cleaning and preservation only after you are fully satisfied.

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times  	What Happens after the Cleaning?

The cleaning of the dress is followed by steam-pressing, followed by the most important part– wrapping it up. Ensure with your cleaner that only the best quality packaging is used to wrap up your dress.

The dress should be wrapped up in acid-free paper or muslin and placed in a box that is the best for it. It should also be one that is big enough to ensure minimum folds in the dress, is archival, and designed for costumes.

Sealing of the box should be optional. While some dry-cleaners may insist on sealing to keep out vermin and insects, let your professional preservationist know if you are not comfortable with it.

Most times sealing is not required when the gown is packaged properly and kept in an acid-free unbuffered, cardboard box.

However, if you don’t mind sealing, go ahead with it. Just make sure that when you open the box to retrieve your gown you do so carefully and with washed hands.

Another storage option is a well-padded hanger if your dress is not too bedecked with embellishments. Protect the garment with a dust cover made of silk, cotton or muslin.

What Not to Do For the Sake of Your Dress

  • Do not delay in giving your gown for preservation. The stains will only get deeper and more difficult to remove. Without immediate cleaning and preservation, the garment will become a breeding ground for germs and foul odors. Wait for years and you will most likely be opting for dress restoration rather than preservation.
  • Basements and attics are not meant for wedding dress storage. Store the gown in a place that is free from moisture, heat and excessive sunlight. Constant exposure to sunlight can cause the dress to turn yellow.
  • Never wrap the gown in plastic.
  • Avoid giving your gown to a company that does not do the preservation in-house. They might send your dress to a wholesale place where no extra care or personal attention would be taken. It is not worth it.
  • Do not give your wedding dress to a cleaning company that does not offer a guarantee and prevents you from removing seals, even if they are offering a really attractive price. If they do not do the preservation and cleaning properly or damage your dress in the process, your precious treasure will be ruined and you will have no option but to accept the spoiled dress and their shoddy work.


Be practical and informed about your wedding dress preservation. Figure out what you want to do with the dress later on and plan accordingly. Don’t overspend on preservation either. Money matters and finances are tough during the beginning of a marriage.

If you opt to do the cleaning and preservation yourself, consult a professional preservationist before doing so. If you are looking long term, invest in a wedding chest to keep your gown safe from light, heat, moisture, insects and sharp objects. Wrap the dress up in unbleached muslin or acid-free paper to prevent your gown from getting damaged.


Guest Blogger: Millie Rainer is the content strategist and writer specializing in Wedding, Fashion and much more. She’s associated with Only Hangers, a clothing hanger company in Miami, dealing in wooden, metal and other hangers since 2005. You can look her up on Twitter @MillieRainer.

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