Expert Advice: Gown Aftercare

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By now you have searched high and low for your dream wedding dress, but have you given any thought to what to do with it once the celebrations are over?


Whatever you decide to do with your wedding gown, you must first have it cleaned as soon as possible. The longer the stains sit on your gown, the more diffi cult it will be to remove them without risking damage to the fabric and ornaments. Stains from food, grease, cake, soil, grass and wine should be immediately brought to the attention of your drycleaner. Drink- and dye-based stains (such as confetti) are often the most diffi cult to remove.


It is important to choose a specialist bridal drycleaner for this task. Many fabrics (especially silks) and ornaments require special treatment to ensure they are not damaged, so it’s critical to only use a specialist who is familiar with them and prepared to guarantee they won’t damage your gown in the process. Beads, for example, should ideally be secured and sewn on before cleaning. Glued-on beads can soften in drycleaning solvents and lose their fi nish or fall off. Some inferior beads can dissolve completely. Before cleaning your gown, ensure your specialist bridal drycleaner is willing to test the beads and has extensive experience dealing with delicate beads and ornaments.


Once the cleaning has been completed, your gown is ready for proper storage. Gowns should never be packaged in plastic or vacuum-sealedbecause gases trapped in the packaging can encourage mould to grow and accelerate the yellowing process. Boxes made with ‘inspection’ windows are also a poor choice as the plastic will give off gases that can cause damage to the gown and allow light — and therefore yellowing — into the box at a different rate to the rest of the gown not visible from the window. Over time, plastics also decompose, giving off fumes that cause rapid oxidation of the fabric and could deposit acidic residues onto the fabric. Vacuum-sealing can also create permanent creases in certain fabrics, which cannot be removed at a later date.

If you want to inspect your gown before boxing, it’s important you advise your specialist drycleaner before they commence the cleaning and boxing process. It is also best to check if your drycleaner uses acid-free boxes and tissue paper, the type recommended by museum and textile conservators, as these provide an environment that allows fabrics some air circulation. If your bridal box is delivered unsealed, it is fi ne to open the box and look at your gown, however, try to resist the urge to pull it out of the box.

To prevent finger oils from depositing onto the gown, wear white cotton gloves while handling it. Oils oxidise over time, leaving a stain-like appearance.

Once you are happy to pack it away, you need to choose an appropriate location for long-term storage. The best place to store the gown is in a cool, dry place such as underneath a bed or on the middle shelf of a closet. Basements and attics are not good locations as the temperature and humidity in these parts of the house are too extreme. It is important that air can circulate around the box to provide a stable environment for the gown to slowly and safely age. With some care, your gown can remain a prized possession for generations to come.


BRIDAL SILVER SERVICE


Bridal Silver Service is a leading specialist drycleaner and preserver of bridal and evening wear, with experience in the industry spanning 15 years. It is trusted by many of Sydney’s top designers. Bridal Silver Service offers a complimentary pick-up and drop-off service in most Sydney areas. “One way we like to add value to our bridal clientele is to encourage them to pre-book a hotel pick-up with us before the big day,” says owner Vivian Samaha.

This way you can fly off to your honeymoon knowing your gown is in exceptional hands. Bridal Silver Service has strong relationships with many of Sydney’s top couture designers and will work closely with them to give your gown the best care possible. The staff guarantees the workmanship, giving you peace of mind that your gown will not be harmed by any of their cleaning processes.

WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK BEFORE HANDING OVER MY GOWN?
• Are you a qualifi ed bridal drycleaner?
• Are you a member of the Drycleaning Institute of Australia?
• Do you guarantee your workmanship while the gown is in your care?
• Do you use a crystal-friendly drycleaning solvent?
• Do you have a drycleaning machine dedicated solely to delicate bridal gowns, or is it cleaned in the same machine as regular garments or furnishings?
• Does your company do the cleaning in-house?
• How long have you been doing this professionally?
• Is this a home-based business?
• Do you have an actual retail store I can visit?
• Can I have a pre-boxing inspection of my gown after the cleaning is complete?

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