Expert Tips On How To Store A Wedding Dress
June, 17, 2020
Finding the perfect wedding dress is a big moment for any bride – it can take weeks to find, cost a fair amount of money, and will be eternalised in your wedding photos. While finding the perfect dress and crossing it off your to-do list can be a relief, it is important to consider what you’ll do with it after the big day. Whether you are planning to keep it, sell it or re-purpose it, storing your wedding dress properly is vital. Here are a few tips to keep your dress looking as fresh, bright and beautiful as ever!
Before the “I do”s
While many wedding dress boutiques will give you instructions on storing your dress before the wedding, there are a few golden rules that will provide the best environment for all dresses.
- If your dress comes covered in a plastic overlay, remove this. Plastic can contain harmful chemicals, and will not allow your dress to properly breathe. Utilise a breathable cloth garment bag, instead.1
- Be mindful of humidity and light – both can be harmful to your dress.2
- When hanging, use the hanging straps provided inside the dress – hanging by the sleeves or straps can stretch your dress.
- Hang the dress high – if the bottom part of the dress is folding over itself, it can create hard-to-erase creases in the fabric.
- If you cut any labels away before you wear it, keep them! They may have strict instructions your cleaner needs to know later.
There are some exceptions to the above – if your dress is heavily beaded, or has a lot of layers, laying it flat on top of or underneath a bed (in a cloth garment bag) is recommended over hanging for extended periods of time. Hang it up (by the hanging straps) 12-14 hours before wearing, to give creases time to drop out, and the dress shape to resume.
How to store a wedding dress long term
Knowing what to do with your dress after the wedding day is critical, but often overlooked.. The most important part of properly storing a wedding dress is having it cleaned before storing it – this means researching and booking before your big day. Keep in mind that standard dry cleaners may not have the cleaning agents or expertise to deal with wedding dresses, so it’s best to enquire whether your dry cleaner offers specialised wedding dress cleaning, or to go to a professional wedding dress preservationist.
Try to get your dress to the cleaners straight away – if you are jetting off to your honeymoon the next day, ask a trusted friend or family member to take it in for you. The quicker the stains are removed, the better, as even invisible stains (such as white wine, perfume, and oil residue from fingertips) can become oxidised over time, creating a yellow or brown stain that can be difficult (or even impossible) to remove.3
How to store a wedding dress in a box
When thinking about how to store a wedding dress long term, some golden rules from above still apply – somewhere dry and dark is optimal, as is keeping all plastic away. A great option is a wedding preservation box, which you can do yourself, or pay a professional, being sure to factor the cost into your wedding budget to avoid any surprises.
If you choose to do this yourself, it is imperative that colourless, acid-free tissue paper is used, along with an acid-free archival box.4 White cotton gloves are essential, to avoid residue from your hands transferring to the dress. Fold the dress into the box, using tissue paper between soft layers – hard creases are where breakdown of material occurs first – and seal the box thoroughly.5
While this process can be done yourself, and there are preservation kits available online, professionals will know how to tailor every step of the process to your dress. A professional boxing entails a specialist cleaning, repairing and gently steaming your dress, before wrapping it in acid-free tissue paper, and putting it in a box or chest specifically designed for wedding dresses. The oxygen is then sucked out and replaced with nitrogen. Some preservationists also offer boxes with clear acetate or Coroplast viewing panels.
Once you’ve cleaned and boxed your dress, the next step is figuring out how to store your wedding dress, particularly long term. While basements and underground garages are discouraged, figuring out how to store a wedding dress in the loft, in a spare room or in a storage unit depends on one main thing: humidity levels. Humid conditions create excellent breeding grounds for mould and moths, which can then wreak havoc on your dress. Climate-controlled storage spaces are a great option, as are clean and airy spaces that have little to no light.
Some extra tips to consider when storing a wedding dress
- Consider the option of adding your veil, shoes and other accessories to your wedding preservation box (after they’ve been cleaned). This is a great way to keep everything together, and in pristine condition.
- Investigate whether your preservationist offers a mail-away service – some will mail out a specifically-designed bag, so all you have to do is place your dress in and drop off at the nearest post office on the way to your honeymoon.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Does the cleaner or preservationist offer insurance on the entire cost of the gown in the event of damage, or just their services? What repair work is included in the price? Knowing exactly what you are getting is important.
Whether you are planning to keep, sell or repurpose your wedding dress in future, knowing how to store your wedding dress until the moment you take it out again is an important, yet often-overlooked part of wedding planning. Remember, cleaning is just as important as the way you store your dress. Following the above tips and pre-planning is the best way to ensure your wedding dress stays as bright and beautiful as your memories.
- 2020, How to Hang a Wedding Dress Before the Ceremony, Love and Lavender.
- Esther Lee, 2020, How to Store Your Dress Before the Wedding, The Knot.
- Kristi Kellogg, 2020, 10 Tips About Wedding Dress Preservation All Brides Should Know, Brides USA.
- 2011, How to Store Your Wedding Dress, Vogue Australia.
- Marni Jameson, 2016, Serious Storage for Treasures: Archival Quality Means Acid-Free, Denver Post.