So, you’ve already picked your flowers, your photographer, and booked your wedding and reception venue. Perhaps you are on the eve of your wedding or getting very close to the ‘big day’. Maybe you are like many already happily married women with your beautiful wedding dress still hanging in your guest room closet waiting for you to decide what to do with it. If you are a soon-to-be bride, a newly married woman, or celebrating your 10 year anniversary and wondering about wedding dress preservation, don’t worry you aren’t alone. If you haven’t gotten the details of what to do with your gown after the wedding ironed out, you still aren’t alone. It’s a very common concern and one that many brides procrastinate about long after their wedding day. We often have brides asking exactly how long they can wait to preserve their dress as they think too much time has passed to even consider cleaning and preserving their wedding dress. Well, fear not because we have all the answers you’ll ever need.
When is it too Late to Preserve a Wedding Gown?
If you have an older gown, or a gown that you haven’t gotten into the cleaners even weeks or months after your wedding, don’t fret. While ideally, sooner is always better than later, the actual truth is that it really is never too late to have a wedding dress cleaned and preserved. In some cases, your dress might be in the market for restoration prior to preservation, but a skilled company that specializes in wedding dresses has restoration specialists that can do wonders.
Wedding dress preservation typically begins with cleaning the dress to treat and remove both visible and invisible stains. Yes, invisible stains. Some stains are often not visible to the naked eye, such as perspiration, perfume, white wine or white cake frosting. Professional wedding dress cleaners will carefully examine your gown with an ultraviolet light to identify these culprits that will eventually surface as visible stains if they are not treated upfront. This is main reason why it’s important to stop procrastinating and get that lovely wedding dress out of the closet and sent off to a reputable wedding dress preservation company as soon as possible. Once your gown is professionally cleaned, and treated for preventing the fabric from yellowing, it will then be steamed or hand pressed, placed on an acid free bust form, and carefully placed in a preservation chest to ensure the fabric stays as good as new for years to come. In the case of dresses that are already heavily yellowed (a common issue with older gowns that have not been properly preserved) or have issues with moths or mold, a restoration specialist will need to work on the gown. While it may not be possible to remove all stains, a restoration specialist can usually bring your beloved dress back to life more than you’d think possible.
If your wedding dress has simply been hanging in the closet for the duration of your honeymoon, you won’t need to worry about much about timing as any stains you might have on your dress haven’t had much time to set into the fabric at that point.
If your gown has been hanging around for several months or even a few years, there’s an excellent chance it can be perfectly cleaned and restored back to looking practically brand new. Ideally, a good wedding dress preservation company will be able to remove all or most of the stains and pack up your dress without anyone ever knowing that you almost dropped the ball on this post-wedding chore.
What is the Ideal Time Frame?
Ideally, cleaners and preservation specialists like to see a gown as soon after the wedding as possible. In fact, it can be super helpful to have someone drop off the gown the following day. The reason for this is fairly simple; the quicker you get the gown into a preservationist the less time you’ll allow for stains to really set in. When a stain sets it makes it more difficult to remove it, although not impossible.
If a gown hangs in your closet for several weeks or months, you might also be allowing light exposure to degrade the fabric. While you may not notice degrading fabric after just a few weeks, the breakdown is happening, and that can alter how well the dress preserves over the long term. In fact, that lovely long white (or clear) garment bag is not doing your dress any favors other than keeping it away from more dirt. The plastic those garment bags are made of emits chemicals that will accelerate the yellowing of white or off white fabrics of most dresses. They are only intended for short term storage and transportation of your dress.
So is it too late or not?
Whether you are a soon-to-be bride hoping to restore a family gown to its former glory, or a freshly-married woman looking to finally deal with dress preservation now that you’ve settled into married life, or a woman whose had her wedding dress hanging in the closet for years, don’t worry. It’s never too late for wedding dress preservation and you’ll surely be impressed by what a skilled preservation specialist can do to keep your gown looking beautiful for years to come.