What every bride should know about wedding dress preservation

Whether your wedding look was defined by timeless touches or something a little more cutting edge and contemporary, what to do with your bridal gown after you’ve said “I do” is a question on every bride’s lips post-wedding. As Bride explains, listing the gown for sale is one of the many options brides can explore once they hang up their dress after their big day:

“If you want to make a post-wedding profit and won’t be devastated to see your dress go to someone else, consider selling it. You could use Facebook Marketplace, eBay or Sell My Wedding to list your dress. Set a price or state that you’re open to offers. Add plenty of pictures to the listing including some of you wearing it so prospective buyers can get a better idea of the fit, and detail as much information as possible.”

Instead of selling or donating their dresses, a whopping 60% of brides choose to keep their wedding gowns. Preserving its beautiful detailing and maintaining its stunning look, however, requires so much more than a sturdy storage box and some careful packing.

This very expensive, very sentimental piece of clothing deserves the very best treatment, and that’s where wedding dress preservation techniques come in. Read on to discover how the latest techniques are keeping the most gorgeous gowns perfectly preserved…

Preservation versus dry cleaning – are they the same?

Whilst mentioned in the same breath, wedding dress preservation isn’t the same as dry cleaning. Having your dress dry-cleaned is a vital process for every wedding dress, regardless of whether you’re selling, donating, repurposing or keeping it.

What does wedding dress preservation involve?

Unlike dry cleaning, preservation involves specialist cleaning and packaging specifically designed to preserve your gown and all its beautiful details. Every preservation process begins with a survey, highlighting the materials and embellishments that need to be taken care of, and the stains and damage to be remedied.

Whilst dry cleaning tackles visible stains and damage, wedding dress preservation goes one step further to treat the stains that aren’t visible to the naked eye or those likely to become more visible over time. Sugar, sweat, oil, and even champagne are substances that aren’t necessarily visible right away but as time progresses and oxidisation sets in, they leave the material yellow.

Once the dress has been cleaned and stains removed, it will be carefully packed in acid-free tissue paper and stored in an archival box to keep it pristine for the long haul.

Why is preservation a good idea?

We’d always recommend having your wedding gown professionally cleaned and preserved, especially if you plan to pass it on in the future. Wedding gowns that aren’t preserved using the techniques mentioned above are particularly prone to yellowing, which makes the dress unusable when reused or repurposed later down the line.

Whether you shopped the sales to bag a bargain wedding dress or blew the budget by commissioning a bespoke bridal gown, every design deserves to be preserved.

How can I find a reputable preservationist?

When getting your wedding gown preserved, reputation and referrals matter. Look for a preservationist with experience and a good track record to ensure your beloved bridal gown is left in the best possible hands. The most reputable preservationists include insurance for your wedding dress to safeguard this very important purchase further.

When should I have my dress preserved?

Getting your wedding dress preserved sooner rather than later is advisable. By getting your wedding dress to your chosen preservationist after your wedding and before you leave for your honeymoon, your wedding dress can be treated and restored before stains have the chance to settle.

Remember, it generally takes four to six weeks for the dress to be returned but it’ll be in the best possible condition to enjoy for years and years to come.

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