Should You Preserve Your Wedding Dress?

One of the biggest days of your life is your wedding day! You spent time perfecting every little detail, down to the last button on your dress. Preserve and protect your wedding dress by keeping it in a preservation box. Our wedding dress storage boxes come in a variety of styles and shapes. Choose from subtle sophistication with our acid-free corrugated line or choose brightness and colour with our decorative handmade line. Protecting the moments in your life that mean so much to you is what creating a family story is all about.

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Tips & Reasons to Preserve Your Wedding Dress

If you’ve had preservation performed, it’ll come packaged in a sealed box that will keep it looking fresh. The only thing you really need to worry about is storing it correctly.

Wedding gowns that have been cleaned and preserved should be stored in a room that has to air-condition and out of direct sunlight. For example, in a closet or under the bed, no attics or damp basements. Select a location that is consistent in its environment and does not have temperature and humidity changes.

If you were to open the box, you’d need to have it repackaged professionally to keep it preserved, so resist the urge to try it on when you’re feeling nostalgic. 

Wedding Dress Tips

How To Store A Wedding Dress Before The Wedding

Now that you’ve purchased your wedding dress, your first task is to keep it in perfect condition until your wedding day. This begins in the bridal shop the moment you buy your dress. Begin by asking them their policy on keeping the dress in the store. Most places will offer to keep it until closer to your wedding day, and if that is an option, you should always take them up on it. They know how to store wedding dresses, and will be your best bet of keeping it clean and pristine until you walk down the aisle.

Storing at home:

If keeping your wedding dress at the bridal shop is not an option, your next most important step is keeping it safe from anything that could stain, wrinkle, stretch, or discolour it. The first and the most important thing you can do is keep it in the garment bag provided to you by the bridal shop. Do not remove the dress for the bag or replace it with a different bag. Wrapping it in a cheap plastic garment cover will trap any moisture and creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. It may also emit fumes that will yellow your gown over time. To avoid this, keep your dress in its high-quality garment bag, away from direct sunlight.

The next step is to lay your dress (in its bag) completely flat. This is more optimal than hanging it, as it prevents any stretching to the fabric or seams. It will also help avoid creasing or wrinkles. If you do not have space to lay the dress flat, you should only hang it by the loops, not the sleeves or straps. If you are uncertain, ask the bridal shop for suggestions on how to store your wedding dress.

You should never store your dress in your garage or attic. The constant changing of temperatures and inconsistent humidity can ruin the fabric and cause discolouration. Instead, make sure to store it in a dry, dark, and cool environment where humidity is at or under 50%.

Wait until your wedding day

Avoid trying on your dress or showing it off before your wedding. You should wait until the very last second to put it on. Constantly trying it on or showing it off predisposes it to the oil and bacteria on your hands. If you are trying it on, you may accidentally get makeup, water, or even your perfume on the dress. This can all lead to discolouration and a less-than-perfect dress on your wedding day. It’s easy to get tempted, but it’s best to keep it in the garment bag.

We have compiled a list of Melbourne Wedding Dress Shops to make the search as easy as possible for your perfect gown.

How To Store A Wedding Dress After The Wedding

Now that your wedding is over, you have a very short window of time before the stains in your dress set in, and it is beyond repair. Most brides wait a few weeks before they take their dress in to be cleaned and preserved, but that leaves it vulnerable to stains you may not even know are there. The best way to ensure your wedding dress stays in perfect quality is to take it off immediately after the reception and take it in to get cleaned the day after your wedding. If you are leaving for your honeymoon immediately, arrange for your mom or maid of honour to take it in for you.

Be aware of the invisible stains. Even if you don’t see stains on your dress, many clear stains like white wine will appear over time. Anything with sugars will begin to caramelize in heat. In just six months, those stains will begin to yellow, and as time goes on, they will begin to brown. Unfortunately, dry cleaning will not be able to reverse the damage of these stains. Other things like perspiration and perfumes can be invisible at first but reveal themselves over time.

Many brides opt not to get their wedding dresses professionally cleaned or preserved. Some try to clean their dresses themselves, which may permanently damage the dress if not done right. Most dresses have specific cleaning instructions on them, and professionals will be better equipped to clean them according to the specific needs of the fabric. If you don’t preserve your dress, you risk yellowing of fabric, oxidation, mould, mildew, and permanent fabric creasing. To avoid this, you’ll need to do your research before your wedding to find the right company to clean and preserve your wedding dress.

Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation

Professional wedding dress preservation will protect your dress for more long-term storage. The process begins with an experienced specialist assessing your gown. They will create a plan for the treatment of your dress, depending on their fabric, embellishments, stitching, and damage. From there, they will gently remove any stains and even make small repairs. They will then press or steam your dress, wrap it, and store it. Since wedding dress preservation companies specialize in wedding dresses, you are less likely to encounter any damage to your dress throughout the process. That said, you should follow the same precautions as with a cleaner by checking their insurance policies. You should also check how long they guarantee that the dress will be preserved.

When storing your wedding dress, you will likely have these options to choose from:

Bagging

In this option, you will leave your dress hanging and unfolded. This prevents permanent creasing in the fabric. The gown will likely get reinforced to prevent damage from long-term hanging.

Boxing

When you store your wedding dress in a box, always fold acid-free tissue paper between the dress. You should store it in an acid-free preservation box to avoid damage to the dress and allow it to breathe. This is a good option if you plan to access it often.

If a less permanent storage option appeals to you, then buy special storage boxes. Buy an acid-free storage box from Foster-Stephens. You can have the box personalized with your name or a special message. They send packing instructions, wraps and a box with a large viewing window. Preservation with boxes with no windows, but the containers do offer protection from dust and fingerprints. With these kinds of boxes, you can open your gown at any time to examine it.

Vacuum Sealing

Some preservation companies will vacuum seal your dress before placing it in a box. If you choose this method, you should make sure they replace the oxygen with nitrogen to prevent oxidation from occurring. While this method saves space, it can create permanent creases and wrinkles in the dress and may lead to mould and mildew.

Garment Bags

Garment bags are the easiest storage option and the least expensive. You can purchase a wedding dress garment bag. Each bag has a wide gusset and long length to accommodate even the fullest dress. 

At home care

Once you take your wedding dress home, you should store it somewhere dark, cool, and dry. You will want to avoid any humid areas, or anywhere that has inconsistent temperatures. Many people choose to store their wedding dresses in climate-controlled storage units. These units have consistent humidity and temperature and are protected from pests and dust.

You should revisit your dress every 2-3 years to inspect and refold it. This will help prevent any permanent creasing or wrinkles and will allow you to catch any stains or damage that may have developed. You should always wash your hands before handling your dress to remove any oils or bacteria. Do not wear any lotions or perfumes. If you are nervous about stains, invest in a pair of white cotton gloves to wear while handling.

Check out our post on How is a wedding dress dry cleaned?

Is it necessary to preserve a wedding dress?

From the moment you realize just what it means to get married, you dream of your gown. From the time you’re a little girl, you imagine what you will look like on your wedding day. You might change your mind a time or to – or ten – but the thought of your gown will cross your mind more than once. Every wedding you attend, every bride you see, and every gown you encounter will make you think about how you might look when you exchange vows with the man of your dreams. Perhaps you’ll go for a fairy-tale princess look, or maybe you’re a romantic type who prefers something a little boho luxe.

You could be the kind of bride who prefers something dreamy and lovely or a traditional bride who wants her gown perfect, her something borrowed, and her something blue. Whatever you prefer, you will shine on your wedding day. You will stun the crowd who comes to see you wed, and your future husband will greet you with tears in his eyes as you walk down the aisle in the dress that was made just for you.

You’ll wear the gown with pride all day, and you’ll feel a momentary moment of sadness when it’s time to take it off. This is the dress you’ve spent your life dreaming of, and you’ll never wear it again. What now? Do you just stick it back in its garment bag in the back of a closet, store it in the attic in a box, or forget about it? You spent so much time thinking about it, so many hours trying it on, and so much money to make it yours. You owe it to yourself to preserve your beautiful gown for years to come. You might not know now what you will do with it, but one day an idea so lovely will hit you, you’ll be glad you chose to preserve your gown just for this moment. After all the effort that comes with a wedding, wedding gown preservation can keep all of those memories alive.

Is Wedding Dress Preservation Worth It?

Is gown preservation worth it? One question we see asked quite a bit is if wedding dress preservation is worth it. Maybe your gown has been sitting around a while, hanging in your closet or maybe you just purchased your wedding dress in anticipation of your upcoming big day. The question is not whether it’s worth it to preserve your gown but rather is it worth the chance that your gown may yellow and fray if you don’t have it preserved.

Should I Do Wedding Dress Preservation?

One of the few things you’ll be able to save from your wedding day is the dress. Gown preservation offers a multitude of benefits, such as the opportunity to pass down your gown to future generations and potentially create a family tradition. In a practical sense, wedding gown preservation makes storing your dress that much easier. Wedding dress preservation can be eco-friendly, eliminates the risk of the fabric yellowing or stretching, and prevents future damage from stains or elements.

Wedding dress styles have a tendency to come and go out of style over the years. From plunging necklines to sleeves to bustles, the current “in” style tends to come around full circle. Wouldn’t it be great if when your daughter or granddaughter’s big day came around, the dress you wore on your wedding would be back in style? What better way for them to honour you on their wedding day by wearing the same gown that you were married in. Having your gown cleaned and preserved is the only way to be sure your gown looks just as beautiful on their wedding day as it did for yours.

Have preservation done if you want your dress’s beauty to last long term, and you aren’t planning on taking it out of its box anytime soon. Dresses that aren’t preserved can yellow over time. Even if you don’t think you’ll pass along the gown to a daughter one day, you may want it as a keepsake. Some brides choose to repurpose their gown into a veil, baby blanket or christening gown. 

Handy Wedding Dress Storage Tips

If your wedding dress preservation specialist hasn’t already packed your dress for you, keep these storage tips in mind:

Clean Your Gown Before Storage

Make sure your dress is professionally cleaned. Just because your dress looked clean to you when you took it off doesn’t mean this is the case. Further examination may unearth dirt and stains. These stains can darken and become permanent if not dealt with quickly. Your dry cleaner or wedding dress preservation specialist will know exactly what to look for and which chemicals and solvents work best for a particular fabric.

Storage Materials and Location

Make sure you select the right storage materials and spot to preserve your dress.

  • Don’t use a wire hanger to hang your dress. Not only can it rust, but it can cause the fabric to tear. If you must hang your dress, hang it by the loops. Keep in mind that if a heavy dress hangs for too long, the fabric can tear under the weight of it all.
  • Never store your wedding dress in plastic. When plastic breaks down, it emits chemicals that can react with your dress and cause permanent damage.
  • Before packaging your wedding dress, wrap it in acid-free tissue paper for extra protection. Don’t use coloured tissue paper as it can eventually bleed onto the fabric.
  • If you are storing your dress in a wooden box, especially a cedar box, make sure there are layers of fabric or acid-free tissue paper between the wood and the dress. The acid in the wood will permanently stain the dress.
  • There’s no such thing as completely acid-free cardboard. If you’re packing your wedding dress in a cardboard box, even if it’s touted as being acid-free, you’ll have to change the box every five years or so.
  • Store your dress in a cool, dry place. Basements aren’t ideal for wedding dress storage because they’re damp and can encourage mould. Storing the dress where it’s exposed to heat or sunlight will cause it to turn yellow. Your best bet is to store the dress in a closet.

Air the Stored Dress Out Occasionally

Every now and then you should remove your wedding dress from storage and hang it in the fresh air. This will allow the fabric to breathe, making it less susceptible to mildew. Make sure that you wash your hands first and do not wear anything on your skin such as lotions, makeup, hair dyes that leak or nail polish. To reseal the dress, you will either need to have a preservationist place it back in the box with newspaper and vacuum seal it, or use DIY supplies.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve outlined the basics of wedding dress storage below so that you can make an educated purchase and protect your beautiful wedding gown for years to come.

The first decision you’ll want to make is whether you’re looking for short term storage (less than a year) or long term storage (up to 30 years). If you only want to store your gown for a short time (maybe you’re selling it or are waiting to tackle the preservation process), a high-quality garment bag is enough.

Look for thick fabrics that won’t rip or tear, pH neutral fabrics, or bags made of muslin which is commonly used for textile preservation.

If you’re looking for long term storage, you’ll need to purchase a box or bag made specifically for wedding dress storage. You’ll also need a large amount of acid-free tissue paper, which you’ll place both inside and outside your dress to preserve the shape and protect it against the elements (dust, moths, moisture, light, etc.).

Proper preservation and storage will allow you to wear the wedding gown again at a special anniversary event, pass it on to a daughter, or save it as an heirloom or special memory of the wedding. Saving your dress will protect your investment and save sweet memories. When the big day is over, and the honeymoon is behind you, don’t forget these wedding dress tips for storing your dress.

Not Your Average Dry-Cleaning

It’s important to note that wedding gown preservation is not the same as dry cleaning a garment. To preserve your wedding gown, a specialist is necessary to create a treatment plan that takes into account your dress’s fabric, stitching, details, and any stains on the gown. The specific treatment plan will renew your dress without harming the delicate fabric.

Some dry cleaners will offer wedding dress cleaning, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the services are the same as preservation. Before committing to the preservation, do your research on the various methods and the one(s) used by the specific cleaner you plan on using. 

Wedding gowns are made of delicate materials

Let’s face it, and wedding dresses aren’t exactly built for wear and tear. With most gowns being constructed from materials such as lace, taffeta, and silk, your gown must be properly stored over the years. Leaving your gown hanging in the closet for years is one of the most damaging places you can store your gown. The material gets stretched and damaged around the hanger and material can get frayed or damaged as the gown is brushed against and moved around. By storing your gown in a proper preservation box, seated on a bust to keep the gown’s original form, you are protecting those delicate materials from wear and tear as your dress ages over the years.

Why You Should Preserve Your Wedding Gown

To prevent irreversible future fabric damage

The process of preserving your wedding gown is a delicate one. The benefit, however, is worthwhile. When you allow us to help you with your preservation, you not only clean the dress of all the stains and spills it might have handled on your wedding day, you also prevent any future damage from occurring. By storing your dress yourself, you aren’t going to get the same quality. It runs the risk of being damaged by water or moisture that gets into your garment bag, by little hands at home if the kids find it, and by the elements as a whole.

With our state-of-the-art preservation system, this is not a problem. We not only clean your dress, but we also store it in a preservation box that prevents the elements from ever reaching your gown. This provides you with the peace of mind that your dress is protected from anything that might happen for years to come.

It’s never been more affordable to preserve your gown

About 20 or so years ago, wedding dress preservation was reserved for the upper class as the process required special machines not normally provided by local dry cleaners. With the advent of the internet and mail-in wedding dress preservation, the service has been made available to all at a very affordable price. Mail-in preservation is safe, insured and guaranteed for over 100 years. Preserving your dress with a mail-in service will still save you $ 100’s off having your gown preserved locally, and in many cases, local dry cleaners will outsource their cleaning to the same service online companies use with a steep markup.

If you’re still not convinced you to want to preserve your gown, let us help you make the decision. Your fears, concerns, and worries are about to be debunked, removed, and altered, so you understand just how important it is to preserve the dress of your dreams. Our favourite reasons to preserve your wedding gown following your wedding will have you making arrangements for our preservation services before the day is over.

To allow your children to honour you by wearing your beautiful gown again at their wedding

Perhaps you’ve yet to have the pleasure of welcoming children in your new marriage, but you very well might at some point. When this day comes, you might imagine your little girl walking down the aisle on her very own wedding day wearing the dress you wore on yours. It might seem silly and outdated, but it’s not. Your dress might be what she wants to wear. Vintage gowns are more than a little popular, and a truly timeless gown lasts decades.

If your gown is a designer, timeless, and sentimental, your daughter might want to wear it. She might not, of course, but the idea she might one day wear your gown down the aisle is touching. If she decides this is something she wants to do, now is the time to look into wedding dress preservation for her so she may have that option. At least you’ll spend the rest of her life knowing you gave this option to her by preserving your gown in case she decides it’s what she wants.

A professional cleaning will increase the value of your gown if you ever decide upon selling it

Let’s be honest here. Most women decide to sell their wedding gown at some point. You’re never going to wear it again, and you probably assume your daughter will never wear it. There is nothing wrong with that. If you want to make some of your money back by selling your designer gown following your wedding, keeping it preserved gives you that option. Trust us when we say this is not something you’ll do right away.

It might take you years to decide you want to sell your gown. It’s a sentimental piece of your life, and parting with it isn’t something on your to-do list right now. But one day, it might be. If this is in your future, you might decide you want to go ahead and see about making it happen. By preserving your gown, you can ensure it’s in mint condition. You can ask more for it, make another bride’s day, and know she’s getting something beautiful and impeccable.

A lovely designer gown will increase in value with preservation, which is all you can ask for. A perfect gown goes up in value rather than down. Brides who want to buy your dress are willing to pay more for it when it’s been perfectly preserved with no stains or imperfections. That’s an investment right there.

It gives you the opportunity to loan your gown to a friend, family member, or a bride in need

If the idea of loaning your gown to a friend or family member seems strange, remove that thought from your mind. It might seem strange, but you never know what might happen. Suppose there is a terrible natural disaster, and your sister loses her gown to it just days before her wedding. How amazing will it feel to pull out your perfectly preserved gown, so she has a dress to wear on the happiest day of her life following something awful?

It’s not a farfetched idea, though we never want anything like that to happen. Another situation in which you might want to loan your gown to someone else occurs when someone is in need. How about the woman you meet at church who lost everything and needs a gown for her wedding? Or the woman who wants to wed the man of her dreams, but she must do it tomorrow before he is sent overseas for his job for a year? Preserving your gown can make you a hero.

To create a “living memory” of your wedding day that you can share with future generations

With the traditional wedding gown preservation kit, you’ll have a showpiece to remember your wedding day with. The cake only lasts a year in the fridge, and you’ll eat it on your anniversary. Your photos will last a lifetime in their own personal beauty, but they don’t give you the option to touch your gown and relieve the amazing memories that come along with dancing the night away in this lovely gown.

With this kit, you can stare at your dress as often as you want. You can put your hands on it and have a tangible reminder of the happiest day of your life right in the palm of your hands. If that’s not what dreams are made of, we don’t know what dreams are made of. This is a perfect opportunity for you to create a living memory of something so lovely, and there’s no reason to pass this up.

To ensure there are no invisible stains on your gown that could cause future damage

There’s an old saying that what you don’t know can’t hurt you, but that’s not true when it comes to your wedding gown. You might not realize it has deodorant stains on it, or that someone spilled a little something like white wine down the front as they hugged you on your wedding night. These stains are invisible, but they are damaging. Over time, they begin to cause your dress to deteriorate. The fabric of your gown was not meant to withstand the test of chemicals, additives, or anything else long-term, and it will begin to break down.

Imagine opening your garment bag for your daughter one day only to realize the parabens in your deodorant caused the arms of your dress to deteriorate and break down. It’s a heartbreaking realization for many women when they one day open their gowns again, and it’s not one you must live with. You can preserve your gown by cleaning it to remove all invisible stains to preserve it for the rest of your life. Do yourself this favour.

To give your gown a safe place to be stored without risking yellowing fabric or stretch

Did you know hanging your wedding gown can destroy it? It can make it difficult for you in the future. It will eventually begin to droop on the hanger because the weight of the gown is not meant to spend decades supported by this. Your dress might easily stretch, and it can be devastating to you.

What you get when you preserve your gown is a solid location in which to keep your dress. This keeps it from being exposed to moisture, which can cause yellowing. We even send you gloves with which to handle your gown to prevent it from becoming further damaged as you examine our work. Our goal is to ensure you don’t one day open your gown only to find it’s yellowed as the fabric aged with the elements or that it’s stretched with the hanger on which it sits. Our preservation boxes make this impossible.

If the process sounds too overwhelming to tackle on your own, a few companies will handle the wedding dress preservation for you. We’ve included two options below where you can simply ship you dress and receive it back within a few weeks, preserved and ready for storage.

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