How to Preserve a Wedding Dress

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preserved wedding dress boxDespite the recent craze of brides destroying their wedding gowns after the ceremony, the vast majority of brides-to-be want to keep and preserve their dress.   But the question is; what’s the best way to accomplish this? Well, you could pay to have this professionally done, or – believe it or not – you could actually do it yourself.

The professional route can cost anywhere from $200-$500 on average.  The latter option is cheaper and is attractive considering the average cost of a wedding these days.  So if you are a DIY bride-to-be (or mother of the bride) and you love saving money, read on.  It seems pretty easy to do, and you can’t beat the cost savings!

The best time to start the preservation process is immediately after the wedding (or as closely thereafter as possible).  The reason is that the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to clean.  Unfortunately, you will not be able to clean the dress yourself, so you will need to do a little investigating on this.

Check the Internet or your local yellow pages for a “preservationist.”  These are people who specialize in cleaning elegant gowns and the like.  They generally will use 1 of 2 cleaning techniques: they’ll either carefully wash it by hand, or they will use a process that is similar to dry cleaning.

Although you might consider taking the dress to a traditional dry cleaner instead to save a little money, be careful because most do not specialize in cleaning gowns of this nature.  Only use a dry cleaner if it has adequate experience in this (cleaning anywhere from 6-10 wedding dresses a month on average would be a good ballpark).  Remember, you only get 1 crack at this so make sure you do your due diligence.

Once the dress is cleaned, it’s time to box it up.  You will need a cardboard dress box, cotton liner, and a good amount of tissue paper (make sure that all of these items are specifically made for the job, as they must be acid-free).  You can opt for a regular box or one that has a see-though acetate window.

Insert the cotton liner, place several layers of the tissue paper in the box, carefully fold the dress (removing anything made of foam and metal such as shoulder pads and buckles), and place it within the box.  It’s also a good idea to place some tissue paper between the folds to prevent wrinkles.  Seal the box if you wish, and store it at room temperature in a closet in your home.

And that is it!  As you can see, it’s not hard at all to box up the dress once it’s been cleaned, and doing this yourself will save you roughly 40% of the total cost relative to having the entire process professionally done.  So it’s well worth the effort in most cases.  To see a professional in action boxing up a wedding dress for preservation purposes, check out the video below.  Enjoy!

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