For many, the wedding dress is the centrepiece of any wedding day. From the anticipation of its first reveal to the nostalgia invoked by pictures of the bride displayed on the mantlepiece 20 years later. It is an enormous shame to allow something so pivotal to your big day to decay in the years succeeding it. For this reason, bridal gown preservation is of the utmost importance, especially if you have daughters or granddaughters who may one day wish to don your dress for their own wedding. There are plenty of small measures you can take before, during and after the wedding to ensure that your dress retains all its potential.
Bridal gown preservation starts with how you store the dress before your big day, tips and tricks which can also apply to your bridesmaid’s gowns. Firstly, keep your dress in its garment bag. Accidents do happen and keeping your dress contained will protect it from spills and stains that you cannot predict on the day. It will also prevent dust from gathering in the folds of the delicate material, something which is essential for those brides who buy their dresses far in advance. Keep your gowns hanging rather than draped if possible, as this is the most effective way to prevent creasing, and only steam the gown when necessary. Having the gown professionally steamed a day or two before the main event is the best way to ensure that the fabric is treated with the care and respect that it deserves.
The steps you can take for bridal gown preservation on the day are small but significant. Firstly, keep the dress hanging for as long as possible. Sitting in the dress for an extended period of time before you’ve even walked down the aisle could potentially cause unwanted creasing and increases the risk of damage. Staying out of the dress for as long as possible also allows you to keep any damaging liquids away from the material. Hairspray, perfume and make-up could end up being your worst enemy if you are not careful. Go through every step of the beauty process before donning your gown. This will also allow you to experience your own grand reveal when you look in the mirror, as the gown really does complete the bridal ensemble!
After the wedding, bridal gown preservation may not be at the forefront of your mind. However, there are several steps you must take before swanning off on your honeymoon to ensure that your dress will recover from a day and night of frivolity. Firstly, when you remove the dress make sure to hang it properly. Use the loops usually included within the dress, avoiding any risk to the shape and fit of the delicate sleeves (if your dress has them). Secondly, have your dress professionally cleaned as soon as possible to avoid any long-lasting damage. As the bride, you will be at the centre of the action on your wedding day and thus a prime target for spills. Don’t let this damage go unattended. Once the dress is returned by the cleaner, store it in a dark, dry area, ensconced in acid-free tissue paper to avoid any degeneration while it’s in storage. The aim is to bring it out in 20 years time and still have it looking as good as new.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for bridal gown preservation. Wedding dresses take a lot of time to pick for a garment you are realistically only going to wear for a day. However, if you’re careful and take the necessary precautions, the dress and the memories it represents will last a lifetime.
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