How to Preserve Your Wedding Dress

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If you take as much care in preserving your dress as you did in choosing it, it can be enjoyed as a family heirloom for generations to come.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic Bags
  • Plastic bags
  • Acid-free Boxes
  • Save the bag your dress came in, or bring along a plastic bag to protect the dress en route to the cleaner.

  • Select a professional dry cleaner, preferably one that specializes in formal gowns. Ask for recommendations from friends and your bridal shop or seamstress.

  • Get the dress to the cleaner as soon as possible after your wedding.

  • Alert the cleaner to any stains - a drop of bubbly, a smudge of lipstick from that first kiss - as well as to any ornaments that were glued rather than sewn on (these pieces are prone to fall off during the cleaning process) and to loose stitches. This information will ensure that your cleaner can give your dress the best care possible.

  • Ask your cleaner for a special acid-free box to store your dress in, and pack it in acid-free tissue paper. You can also hang the dress by the bodice by sewing straps that are a bit shorter than the bodice onto the waist, placing on a padded hanger and wrapping in a clean white cotton sheet.

  • Store the dress in a temperate, dry place, out of direct sunlight.

  • Inspect your dress on each anniversary to check for any discolored areas or missed stains and to allow your dress to "breathe."

Tips & Warnings

  • Find a dependable dry cleaner by calling an haute couture shop in your area and asking which cleaner the shop uses. Or contact the International Fabricare Institute (see Related Sites).
  • Make arrangements prior to the big day for a friend, family member or someone from the wedding party to drop off the dress for you while you're on your honeymoon.
  • Check inside the dress when you search for stains - makeup can rub off on the inside when you pull the dress on and off.
  • Avoid boxes with cellophane windows, as they can cause damage to your dress by allowing light to discolor it.
  • Some stains don't show up until months or even years later. Take the dress back to the cleaner if you find any new ones.
  • Hanging your dress may cause the neck and shoulders to stretch.

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