Preserving wedding dress

While there has been a recent trend toward women buying wedding dresses that can be altered or dyed and used again for formal occasions after their wedding, many women still choose to preserve and store their wedding dresses for sentimental reasons. Additionally, if you purchased a very expensive and classic styled wedding dress, you may want to keep the dress for your children and grandchildren to wear at their weddings to start a family tradition.

In order to do this, you need to take special care in storing and preserving your wedding dress once the wedding is over. There are specialty services designed specifically for preserving and packaging your dress and some will even store the dress for you for a storage fee.

Let”s address these services first and then we can discuss ways to preserve your wedding dress yourself for less expense.

Many dry cleaners offer wedding dress storage services as well as some specialty shops who offer storage services for wedding dresses. If you choose a wedding dress storage service, you need to ask them the following questions:

** Do they clean the wedding dress prior to storage?

** Is the cleaning wet or dry?

** Can you see the wedding dress after cleaning but prior to storage?

** Will you have easy access to the wedding dress should you require it?

** How will the wedding dress be packaged: plastic, box, hermetically sealed, etc.? (Note: Wedding dresses should not be stored in plastic bags.)

** Will the wedding dress be stored hung, folded, vertical, or horizontal?

** Are the fees monthly, annual, or one fee for lifetime storage?

Once you have these questions answered, you can make the choice whether commercial packaging and storage for preserving your wedding dress is a good choice for you. You can use the guidelines below for home storage and wedding dress preservation to determine how the commercial storage facility for your wedding dress should answer the above questions.

Now, let”s look at ways to store and preserve your wedding dress at home in a box.

First, it is important to note that plastic bags are never a good choice for long-term storage of any garment. Short term is fine, but over time, plastic bags contain chemicals that break down and can stain or scent your garment. Even if you do not detect an odor or stain, the chemicals can still seep into the wedding dress and when you do take it to be dry cleaned, the chemicals for cleaning will combine with the plastic”s chemicals and can ruin the dress.

If you are wanting to package your wedding dress, using a specially prepared garment box is your best choice. You can purchase these special garment boxes at many cleaners or specialty wedding gown suppliers.

Before packaging your dress for preservation, you do want to have the dress professionally cleaned. It is best to clean the wedding dress within a week or two of the wedding, since any stains or odors will become more resistant over time.

Once the dress has been professionally cleaned, you are ready to choose the storage procedure for your wedding dress. As we discussed earlier, you can choose a special wedding garment box to store your dress. If you choose this storage procedure, your best bet is to buy some unbleached muslin cloth and wrap your dress in this cloth prior to packaging in the box.

Your next step is to carefully gold the gown, without creasing it. Wrap the sleeves under the bodice of the gown, and then fold that back over the skirt, then wrap the skirt up and over the top of the bodice. After this, you can continue to fold the gown until it will neatly fit into the box snugly, but not too tightly. However, remember not to fold creases. The gown should be folded loosly.

You can use acid free tissue paper to place between each of the folds of the dress to help prevent creasing or the fabric touching other parts of the dress. Since many gowns use special stitching or beads, sequins and pearls, you do not want these items to scratch or snag satin or silk fabrics when folded, and the tissue paper between folds will help prevent this.

Once folded, you can then wrap the gown one more time completely with the unbleached muslin prior to inserting in the box for storage. This is a time consuming process, so you don”t want to package your dress until you are sure you will not need to remove it from the package again for some time. Wrapping and packaging your dress over and over can damage the dress, so wait until you are truly ready to store and preserve your dress before you box it.

Once boxed, you can slide your wedding dress packaged box under your bed or in a drawer or on the shelf of a closet. The less light that can reach the dress while it is stored the better.

While some people choose to store wedding dresses in specialty garment bags and store them hanging or laying flat, boxing your wedding gown is the best choice for long-term storage and preservation. The gown will probably need to be taken to a cleaners and pressed and refresh after storing it this way, but you will be able to avoid the musty, “stored” feel and scent of a dress stored in garment bags or hanging but not used regularly.

When you are ready to reuse the gown or remove it from the box packaging, simply reverse the process and be careful not to snag or catch the dress or pull too roughly when taking it out of the box. When you do remove it from the box, beside slight wrinkling of some material, your gown should look every bit as good as it did the day you stored it, no matter how long you have stored it.

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