The big day has come to pass and now you’re left to deal with the post wedding details such as thank you notes and of course, what to do with your wedding dress! What once made you the star of your wedding day, is now a beautiful memory hanging in your closet. So what do you need to do in order to keep the memory (and the quality) of your wedding dress alive? You may plan on keeping your dress in order to hand it down to your future daughter, or pass it along for a price and recoup some of the cost. In order for any of these possibilities to become reality, you’ll want to make sure to avoid some of the top common mistakes brides make after their wedding.
Mistake #1: Procrastinating on the cleaning process
With the chaos finally settling down, and your honeymoon still on the horizon, the last thing you’ll feel excited about doing is cleaning your wedding dress. BUT if you plan on keeping your dress in high quality condition for any reason, the sooner it gets cleaned the better! Stains, known and unknown, from the wedding day will sooner rather than later start to settle, becoming harder (and possibly more expensive) to remove. Anything from perspiration, wine, makeup and dirt on the train will cause the dress to eventually deteriorate. The optimal time frame for getting your dress cleaned and preserved is within 30 days after your wedding day. However, the sooner the better so stains don’t set in.
Mistake #2: Thinking you can clean it yourself
The 2nd biggest mistake you can make when caring for your wedding dress after the wedding, is thinking you’re better off saving money by spot cleaning your dress yourself. Unless you are skilled and experienced in proper cleaning techniques for intricate and unique fabrics, you are best to leave it to the professionals. You’ll more than likely end up causing more damage than you originally started with. Common mistakes like using club soda to lift and remove stains won’t get out grease stains from lipstick and will leave rings on silk. Another common mistake is forgetting to consider how delicate certain fabrics are like rayon, silk or lace. Rubbing the fabric too vigorously or with damaging solvents will likely cause damage.
Read More: How to Clean Your Wedding Dress
Mistake #3: Taking your dress to your local dry cleaners
The 3rd biggest mistake brides often make is taking their wedding dress to their local dry cleaners. Most dry cleaning companies are cleaning shirts, blouses, slacks and work dresses all day long and not delicate and expensive wedding gowns. They are often sending your dress off to a specialist behind the scenes which ends up costing you more. If they are cleaning dresses in house, they are often using toxic solvents such as PERC. The best investment you can make is to have your wedding dress professionally cleaned and preserved by a reputable wedding dress preservation specialist. Preservation experts are trained and experienced in the best practices and techniques for ensuring wedding dresses of all types of fabrics stay in pristine condition for long-term storage. Most professional wedding gown preservation companies will have their technicians certified by The International Fabricare Institute, which holds the industry’s highest quality standards of expertise.
Mistake #4: Keeping it in a plastic garment bag
A common misconception amongst brides is that a wedding dress is perfectly safe inside of the original plastic garment bag it came with from the bridal shop. Unfortunately these bags are only intended for short term storage and protecting your dress from dirt when it is being transported before your wedding. Storing a wedding dress in a plastic garment bag long term exposes the dress material to plastic chemicals which will cause yellowing of the dress over time. Although it’s best to have your dress professionally cleaned and preserved, if you decide to store it yourself, be sure to use acid free materials. Keep in mind that invisible stains you couldn’t see initially (perspiration, white wine or frosting) will show up and create brown spots and damage the fabric over time.
Mistake #5: Hanging it up like any other dress
As you are well aware, your wedding dress is not just ANY other dress – which means hanging and storing it should also be unique to it’s importance. After your wedding, it’s best not to continue to keep your dress hanging on a hanger, as gravity can stretch the fabric over time. Before your wedding, make sure to hang it by the ribbons attached to the side seams as those little pieces of fabric will help alleviate any excess weight from the shoulders. After your wedding, it’s best to have it cleaned and preserved in an acid-free preservation chest.
Mistake #6: Storing in the attic or basement
How many times have you crept up to the attic or down to basement and realized there are things sitting there that you all together, forgot you had? These two places are amongst the last places you should store your cherished memory of a wedding dress. Temperatures and humidity levels are extremely hard to control in the attic or the basement as well as mold, dust and light. Ideally, you’ll want to store your cleaned and preserved dress in a closet or under the bed and away from pets.
Mistake #7: Thinking professional cleaning and preservation is too expensive
Although there are companies that will charge you upwards of $800+ to preserve your wedding dress, there are also very reputable wedding dress preservation specialists that only charge between $200 – $300. Often you can include your veil and other accessories for free. Be sure to check a company’s reputation and reviews by real customers that have used their services on a 3rd party website, not just the ones on their own website.
In summary, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to protect one of the most precious investments from your wedding day. One that you can continue to cherish for a lifetime or pass it on.