Tips for Preserving Your Wedding Dress

Today, brides have a lot of options for what to do with their wedding dress after the actual ceremony. You can donate your dress, resell it, repurpose it as a cocktail dress, or even sew it into a memory quilt! But overwhelmingly, brides still tend to want to hang on to their wedding gowns as precious mementos of the big day.

If you choose to keep your gown, it’s important that you preserve it correctly to avoid yellowing and other age-related deterioration. Wedding dresses are usually constructed from delicate materials like satin, silk, and lace and they cannot be cleaned using typical methods. Many dry cleaners offer wedding dress preservation services. These are our best wedding dress preservation tips based on years of experience in the dry cleaning industry.


1. Wedding Dress Preservation is NOT the Same as Regular Dry Cleaning

Unlike regular dry cleaning services, a wedding dress preservation should begin with a customized consultation. An experienced specialist should review the cut, stitching, and fabric of your gown before creating a unique preservation plan. They should also closely inspect any stains along the hem of your gown, or anywhere else on the dress. If you know of any small or hidden stains on your gown, point them out to your preservation specialist to ensure that nothing is overlooked.

If you choose to have your wedding dress preserved through a dry cleaner, make sure that they use specialized processes intended for wedding dresses. Make sure they use a virgin solvent – never recycled solvent. Recycled solvents can contain impurities from previous cleanings and leave your wedding dress with a distinct odor or discolorations. And always ask about how long they guarantee the condition of your wedding dress after the preservation is completed.


2. There May Be Stains On Your Dress That You Cannot See

Often, with wedding dresses, the stains that pose the most danger to your gown are the invisible ones. White wine and other liquids that dry clear tend to contain sugars that yellow or “caramelize” over time into dark, rusty stains that cannot be removed. These stains usually start to appear around six months after the dress is worn and are pale yellow, to begin with. If you store your gown in a hot or warm area, such as an un-airconditioned attic in summer, the process can accelerate drastically because the caramelization responds to heat.

Your preserver should look over every stain and create a treatment plan for each one. They are trained to see the signs of invisible stains and stains that will cause problems if they are left as the dress ages.


3. Preserve Your Wedding Dress as Soon as Possible

Time is of the essence when it comes to wedding dress preservation. The first step in every preservation should be a professional cleaning, and the sooner a cleaner can treat any stains, the less likely they are to be permanent. It’s not unusual for a bride to wait six weeks or longer to have their gown cleaned and begin the preservation process. But often, by that time, the stains have well and truly set.

For best results, create a plan to have your gown preserved and cleaned before your wedding. If you’re leaving for your honeymoon directly after your service, simply change before you head to the hotel or airport and hand over your wedding gown to your mother, maid of honor, or other trusted individual with instructions to have it taken to the cleaners the next day.


4. The Preservation Box Seal Should Be Kept Airtight

Once your wedding is preserved, it will likely be stored in an airtight box. These boxes have been specially designed to allow all oxygen to be sucked out and replaced with nitrogen. Oxygen is an oxidation agent that causes yellowing, aging, and discoloration. The nitrogen prevents oxidation for years – sometimes decades. Most preservation specialists recommend that you never break the seal on your box.

If you do open the box, you will have to have your dress re-preserved and sealed up again to prevent yellowing and discoloration.

If you have questions about how to preserve your wedding dress or where you can have your wedding dress preserved in Little Rock, contact Hangers Dry Cleaners today! We offer wedding dress preservation services and we’re happy to walk you through the process step-by-step.