Preserving Your Wedding Gown After The Wedding

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Stephanie Azzopardi explains how to ensure the most expensive dress you’re likely to ever buy stays in its original glory.


Even the bride who is on her best behaviour throughout her ceremony and reception often ends up with her dress looking a little worse for wear. Food and drink have been spilled, make-up has found its way from your grandmother’s face to your delicate threads, and your hem and train have encountered many a stray heel and goodness-knows what else from being dragged along the dance floor all night. Can’t see any marks? Wedding dresses can often turn yellow from the stains that weren’t initially visible, such as white wine or sweat. Getting your dress cleaned post-wedding is your safest bet, but how do you go about it?

Be swift
Get your dress dry-cleaned and preserved as quickly as possible, especially if the dress is silk. This will give the cleaners the best chance to return your dress to its original glory.

Don’t be afraid to shop around and ask questions
Does the dry-cleaner offer a guarantee? Do they have references? Is your dry-cleaner going to clean the dress themselves or are they going to send it off to someone else who has the right equipment for a wedding gown? If it is the latter, cut the middle man and take your dress to the place yourself. This will save time and money.

Know what you’re looking for 
Make sure your dress will be preserved in acid-free tissue paper and allowed to breathe; this is how museums store their valuable garments and that’s how your dress should be stored too. A clear window in the box is also a good idea as this allows people to view your dress without touching it and getting it dirty again. 

Don’t let the cleaner go in blind 
After selecting your dry-cleaner, notify them of any stains that may not be visible, such as champagne or lipstick.

Most dresses are stored in a box and are therefore susceptible to permanent creases. Avoid this by refolding the dress every two years (wear cotton gloves to avoid getting the dress dirty again).

Tips for keeping your gown clean during the wedding

  • If possible, don’t get a fake tan as this will stain your dress.
  • If your dress is silk, do not try to remove any stains that you spot yourself as this may affect the lustre or colour.
  • If you are brave enough to try to remove a stain yourself, soda water is not ideal – it can turn the dress brown with time or set the stain, making it harder for the professionals to remove.

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