May and June are popular wedding months, particularly in the United States. A wedding gown is much than just a dress, it is a treasure, a symbol of an important event in your life. Whether you are borrowing it from a relative or buying it new, your gown deserves your attention, both before and after the wedding.
Choosing a Gown
If you are buying a new dress, wedding consultants recommend shopping at least six months before the big day. This provides ample time to find the style, fabric, and accessories best suited for you. It also allows time for the manufacturing and shipping of a special-order gown. If you plan to wear a bridal veil, look for a veil that matches your gown.
If you are wearing an heirloom gown, allow plenty of time for professional cleaning as well as any necessary alterations. Many fabrics can yellow with age Check the gown carefully for discoloration. Often, yellowing can be corrected if the gown can be carefully wetcleaned.
After the Wedding
Brides often want to preserve their gown as a keepsake, particularly if the gown is an heirloom. We recommend having your gown cleaned as soon after the wedding as possible.
The gown may have invisible stains from food, beverages, and body oils. If these stains are not properly cleaned, they may become permanent. It is important to point out any stains or spills before cleaning. Most wedding gowns include decorative trim. It is important to inspect these trims with your cleaner prior to cleaning since some may not withstand the cleaning process. Often these trim pieces can be removed and cleaned separately, then reattached.
Storing Your Gown
Unfortunately, no process or storage method can guarantee against yellowing or possible deterioration of fabrics. There are, however, several steps you can take to protect your garment:
- Let us pack the gown in a special storage box that will help prevent contamination.
- Store your garment in a cool, dry place. Do not store it in a basement or attic. Basement dampness can cause mildew while attic heat promotes yellowing.
- If you are storing a long wedding gown on a hanger, sew straps to the waistline of the dress to relieve pressure on the shoulders from the weight of the dress. Wrap the dress in a protective white sheet or muslin covering.
- Whether the gown is hung or boxed, the bodice should be stuffed with white tissue paper to prevent wrinkles. It is a myth that blue tissue paper helps to preserve a wedding gown. It can add up to disaster if the gown ever gets wet. Blue dye can transfer onto the gown, making restoration very difficult, if not outright impossible. Use pure white tissue paper only.
- Never store headpieces, veils, shoes, bridal bouquet, or other accessories with your gown. Consult your florist about bridal bouquet storage.
- Inspect your gown from time to time during storage (your anniversary date is a good time to remember). Stains not initially apparent could appear later, and should be tended to immediately.
Preserving the quality of your wedding gown may be one of the finest gifts you can give yourself and a loved one.