Your wedding dress is probably the most loved item in your wardrobe. You may never own another piece of clothing as special as this. Of course you’d want to preserve it!
Preserving a wedding dress means different things to different people. It could be to store away treasured memories, to keep it safe and in good condition for your child to wear one day, or to ensure that it becomes a family heirloom. Whatever your reason, you’ll want to do it properly.
The last thing you want is for the dress to be ruined over time, or to trust somebody else with the preservation only to find out 30 years later that it’s the wrong dress (tragic).
So to be sure you get the best preservation possible, here are some tips:
– Plan ahead
If you know you’re a sentimental person, keep some of your budget aside for dress preservation. This can include a budget for a trip to the cleaners, and any items you may need to do at home preservation. (or to get your dress professionally preserved)
– Handle with care
On your big day you should keep in mind that this is an item you want to keep forever. Try to avoid getting stains on it, carry it in a garment bag if you’re travelling, and only put in one at the last minute.
– Clean the dress
After the wedding, but before the preservation process, you have to clean the dress. Of course you could take it to the cleaners, but if you want to do it yourself you need to be aware of the materials your dress is made of. Don’t use harsh laundry detergent and never use bleach.
If you preserve the dress without cleaning it first, all the tiny stains and marks will set and will become impossible to remove in later years.
– Acid Free tissue paper
At this point, if you’re enlisting the help of a professional, your dress will be put into a preservation box and will be sealed (commonly, you’re advised to never break the seal unless you want to use the dress).
If you’re DIY-ing then you better get some acid-free tissue paper or pre-washed unbleached muslin. Place layers of tissue paper or muslin between folds of the dress. Stuff the bust with tissue paper too, this helps to maintain shape over time.
NB! Do not use coloured tissue paper, it’ll stain the dress over time.
– Acid free container
After it’s folded, store the dress in an acid free container. Add silica desiccant packets inside the box.
– Store in a cool dry place
We all have heard this phrase before, but this time it’s serious. Don’t skip this step. If you’re thinking of storing the dress in the attic, basement or garage…DON’T! Cool and dry is the best option. Under a bed or in a closet is probably the best way to go.
– Check in
If you’ve preserved the dress yourself, you have to check in on it now and then. Every 2 -3 years, have a look at it and maybe give it a re-fold.