You’ve spent hours planning your wedding, and you’ve found the perfect wedding dress. It’s only natural that you’ll want to keep it.
And, since a lot of money is likely going into your wedding. We suggest putting some of that aside, between $300 and $800, to properly have your dress cleaned and packaged for preservation. There are other ways to store a wedding dress, but we’re going to cover the best method.
A Couple of Other Options
If it’s not important for you to save your dress, there are a couple of options for what to do with it. First, you can sell or donate it. There are plenty of brides who can’t afford a nice dress, and yours might be just right for them. You can also do a wedding “trash the dress” photo-shoot, where non-toxic paints are thrown at the dress while the bride is wearing it, creating a fun, colorful look. Of course, the dress is ruined afterward, but you can get some amazing photographic memories this way.
If you’re one of the many brides who want to preserve her dress, perhaps to pass down years later, or perhaps just as a memory, here’s the best way to do that.
Clean the Dress Early
It’s important to get that dress cleaned early, and we mean the day after your wedding. If you wait any longer, stains can set in. Those include wine and food stains that you can see, but also stains you can’t. Those invisible stains can be even worse than the obvious ones and can get worse over time.
We recommend contacting the right sort of cleaning service before the wedding so you, or someone you trust, can bring your dress in the next day.
Specialized Bridal Gown Cleaners
Do not bring your dress to just any dry cleaner. Wedding dresses are delicate and each one needs specialized attention. They’ll look over the dress, check the fabric, the seams, and so on. They’ll also read the label, which is very important, as the manufacturer will have specific instructions for them.
For example, dry cleaners are great for a lot of garments, but the solvent they use contains impurities that can leave deposits on your gown. Wedding dress cleaners use virgin solvent, or should.
In any case, look up “bridal gown cleaners” or “wedding dress cleaners” on Google and you should find places in your area. You may find businesses that do wedding dresses only or dry cleaners who are also equipped to handle them. Make sure they use virgin solvent!
Preserving the Dress
After the service has done the important step of cleaning the dress, they’ll store it in a way meant to preserve it for years, in an airtight container. They put the dress in the box then suck out all the air. However, they don’t leave it that way, as this would compress the dress overtime and damage it. Instead, they replace the air with nitrogen. With no oxygen in the container, the dress does not suffer oxidation damage.
If your goal is only to keep the dress preserved, then never break the seal. If it does break, contact a dress cleaning service immediately and have them redo the packaging. If you plan to pass the dress down to a friend or a relative later, plan carefully so you can break the seal at the appropriate time.
Storing the Dress
Even protected in its new box, the dress will need to be stored in a safe place. That means somewhere cool and dark. At home, a closet is probably the best place. Do not store it in the attic, basement, or garage.
If you want to make sure no one messes with it, then put it in a climate-controlled self storage unit. Climate control keeps the temperature in a good range for belongings, between 50 and 80 degrees. With the dress in its air-tight container, you won’t need to worry too much about humidity, but it’s good to know that climate control also keeps humidity in a good range, between 30% and 50%.
That’s it, the safest way to protect and preserve your dress. It will cost a little money for the service, between $300 and $800, which is why we recommended putting that much aside. But you won’t have to worry about the condition your dress will be in when you retrieve it.