Do’s & Don’ts in Storing your Wedding Gown

A wedding gown hanging in the window.

With all the planning that goes into a wedding, it’s only natural that you’d want treasured souvenirs to remember the day. If you plan on handing your wedding gown down through generations, donating it, or repurposing the material into a veil, it is critical that it be kept in perfect shape. Even though you won’t be pulling your wedding gown out from storage frequently, it is a significant part of your story that should be preserved, just like your engagement ring.

You need to think in advance about how to properly clean, protect and store your wedding gown after the big day. Preservation is a step-by-step process. Not sure where to start? This piece focuses on the dos and don’ts of storing your wedding gown.

DO

1. Get it cleaned

On your wedding day, there is a lot going on with you and with your gown. Perfumes, makeup, food, and fluids are often transparent and don’t leave a mark. These mainly cause discoloration and deterioration of the fabric if they are left untreated. 

The process of cleaning the gown is tricky. It is better to have your gown cleaned by a professional right after the wedding because they understand the cleaning process well and they have the right detergents and machines to do it. Asking a family member or your bride’s maid a favor to bring the gown to a cleaning facility for immediate care would save you time and energy. However, if you decide to clean the wedding gown yourself, follow the tag’s instructions for guidance or at least consult a professional before doing so.

Don’t forget to clean the accessories separately to avoid possible tears and rips!

2. Pack it up

After getting it cleaned, it is time to pack it up. Wedding gowns usually come with their own box. The box should be made of breathable material that is robust enough to keep out light and dust. It should also be acid-free. If not, get yourself the right kind of box and make sure the size is appropriate for your gown.

There are hanging bridal gown storage bags available that will keep your gown wrinkle-free and require minimal maintenance. Professionals, on the other hand, recommend that the cloth be packed horizontally in a box. The box should be large enough to minimize folding because too many creases will eventually damage the fabric. To better keep the gown’s complete form, the layers and folds should be cushioned with acid-free tissue.

3. Store it at home

After you’ve properly packed your gown, make sure it’s kept away from extremes in temperature, light, and humidity.  Look for a place that is cool, dark, and dry. The sections that are exposed to light will fade, humidity will cause mildew to grow, and heat will hasten the deepening of latent stains. It is common for many women to store their dresses under their bed, above their wardrobes, or in a dry closet. Professionals agree that those areas suffice.

4. Check it

Experts suggest opening the box and inspecting the gown at least once a year to check for sudden stain and element exposure. This also helps keep the gown from permanent creasing. When removing the gown from the box, remember that your skin contains oils and salts that can damage delicate fabrics. Consider wearing white cotton gloves while handling your gown.

DON’T

1. Leave it hanging

After the wedding, you may hang your gown for a short period of time but don’t leave it there. This will cause the gown to stretch and tear because your wedding gown is heavier than a normal dress.  Additionally, don’t put it in a plastic zip-up cover like a normal dress. Fumes produced by the plastic may change the color of your dress, giving it a yellowish appearance

2. Use colored tissue paper

When filling up the layers of your gown with tissue paper, don’t use any colored tissue paper. Any colored tissue paper contains dye which affects the dress. Keeping note of this would lower the risk of discoloration and permanent damage.

3. Store in attics, basements, or garages

Generally, the attic, basement, and garage are the first areas that come to mind when we plan on storing something. However, these are the worst areas for gown storage. All sorts of disasters such as a leaking roof, general dampness, and insects can affect your dress even if it is well protected.

A special note on storing indoors: be careful with wardrobes, drawers, suitcase linings, and other scenarios where clothes that may touch the gown. Color dyes in clothes can alter the purer fabrics of a wedding dress.

4. Stack the box

Don’t stack the box containing the dress. Over time, even the sturdiest cardboard gives up under pressure. We recommend that you store your shoes and other accessories in a different bag and avoid placing it where there is a chance of the box crushing the gown box.

Key Takeaways

Wedding dresses are typically huge investments, which is why you need to know how to clean them, pack them, and store them properly. So, get your gown cleaned by a professional as soon as the wedding ceremonies are done, lay it flat in a specialized wedding box, and then store it in a nice cool place where you can check on it once a year, or even wear it on your next big anniversary.

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