Should I preserve my wedding dress?
Brides - and grooms… to some extent, often have a lot to contend with during the planning phase leading up to their wedding. From selecting centerpieces and flowers to coordinating bridesmaid dresses, food and drinks, and the venue itself - the whole process can be overwhelming, to say the least. Yet almost every bride will tell you, the process doesn’t end once the wedding is over! In fact, between the thank you notes, name change packets, honeymoon traveling and so much more, the wedding ends up being the gift that keeps on giving. One consideration brides must make directly after their wedding is what to do with their wedding dress? Is a simple cleaning the way to go, or is preservation the right move? Let’s look at the process of preserving a wedding dress, and six questions you should ask when selecting a preservation company today.
First of all, what is involved in preserving a wedding dress?
Wedding dress preservation isn’t the same as wedding dress cleaning. In fact, the process of preserving a wedding dress goes way beyond what a corner dry cleaning shop could ever hope to accomplish. Preserving a wedding dress involves numerous steps.
- First, select a preservation kit from a reputable cleaning and preservation company. You’ll want to partner with a group that has been in business for at least ten years and has a proven track record of delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price. Read reviews to avoid problematic companies before ever packing up your dress.
- After choosing a company, you’ll receive a shipping box and prepaid label to make sending your dress to the preservation business a breeze. The dress and any optional accessories should be packed securely in the box alongside the order form (make sure to create a copy of this form or take a photo of it with your mobile device) and sent via trackable shipping.
- The preservation company will then use a sophisticated cleaning system to remove any dirt, sweat, food or drink stains and more from the wedding dress. Leading wedding dress cleaning and preservation companies will use a “green” process and environmentally safe chemicals to ensure responsible practices.
- You’ll receive your wedding dress back in a few weeks, presented in a sturdy box that generally contains a viewing window. This encourages you to show others the dress, without the temptation to open the box - this can introduce potential contaminants to the newly-cleaned garment.
- Depending on the level of service you select and the company with whom you partner, your dress should be preserved in perfect condition for 10, 20, 30 or more years. Considering the cost of a wedding dress these days, preservation is cheap insurance against potential damage.
What should you look for in a wedding dress preservation company?
You’ll want to do your homework well in advance to ensure your dress is ready to be cleaned and preserved as soon after your wedding as possible. When searching for a leading wedding dress preservation company, make sure that at a minimum you ask the following questions:
- Is the dress insured during shipping? Wedding dresses can be incredibly expensive, which is why it is so important to insist on “declared value insurance” during shipping. From $500 to $1000 should be considered a minimum, any more than that will likely cost extra.
- What process is used during cleaning? Some inexperienced or old-fashioned wedding dress cleaners use caustic chemicals that are not only bad for the environment, they can also degrade the delicate fabrics and embellishments on a typical wedding dress. Your preferred preservation company should use the standard, responsible cleaning process in use today - SYSTEM K4.
- Will all the stains come out? There are few stains that are any match for an experienced wedding dress preservation and cleaning company, but it still pays to ask your chosen company about their success rate in removing specific stains from wedding dresses like yours. You might be able to first send in a photo of your dress to ensure they can handle anything out of the ordinary. A company that uses SYSTEM K4 delivers museum-quality results.
- What is the cost? Cost and value are certainly two very different concepts, but you’ll want to make sure to weigh both when looking for a wedding dress preservation company. Most preservation jobs range from $150-$250. Anything less than $150 and you’ll want to investigate why… anything more than that and you’re probably simply paying too much.
- Is there a long-term guarantee? Any company that refuses to guarantee their work shouldn’t earn your business. In the world of wedding dress preservation, a guarantee is incredibly important. You have to know that the company will stand behind their work for the long-term - and that generally means at least 20 years.
- How long has the company been in business? Considering the cost of a wedding dress and the importance of preservation, don’t risk using a company without a proven track record. Find a business with decades of experience cleaning and preserving thousands of wedding dresses. Startup wedding dress preservation businesses often send dresses to established cleaners and simply act as middlemen - so save time and money and go right to one of the leading outfits today!
If you take the time to thoroughly scrutinize a potential wedding dress preservation company prior to sending in your prized gown, you’ll increase the odds of a perfectly cleaned and elegantly preserved garment that can be enjoyed for generations to come. Ask the right questions, partner with the right company and see just how easy and affordable it is to preserve what is bound to be a family heirloom for generations to come.
How do I get stains out of my wedding dress?
It’s the big day, and all the guests have begun to arrive. The venue is set up, the DJ is tapping the microphone, and the smell of “beef or chicken” is already wafting from the kitchen. It is time for the wedding to begin! Then you look down and realize you’ve committed the ultimate sin - you got lipstick on your satin wedding dress!!! Or maybe you’ve waited until the main course to drop a bite of saucy chicken on your dress. Perhaps you’re already on your way out the door and about to start your honeymoon when you find a big ugly stain on your dress… your very expensive dress, that is. Stains come in all shapes and sizes, and the question of “how do I get stains out of my wedding dress” isn’t so simple. Let’s look at ways to handle stains before, during and after the wedding to ensure your dress always looks its best.
How to handle wedding dress stains on The Big Day
Every bride’s nightmare must be the same - a glass of red wine spilled on the front of the gown right before the ceremony. While taking appropriate precautions can help minimize the chances of this type of serious mishap, stuff happens in life. Let’s look at ways to get specific stains out of a wedding dress on The Big Day:
Ink: If you plan on writing a cute note to your future partner-in-crime, please be careful! If ink does get on your dress, you can use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to gently clean away the ink. Never rub the stain, and always use a clean white cloth to blot the moistened area. Baby powder can be used to cover up the wet area on a white dress.
Wine: A little pre-ceremony vino can quickly stain a wedding dress if the bride’s jitters are becoming too much to handle, but even red wine stains can be managed at the last minute. Simply grab a white towel and try to absorb as much wine as possible without pushing too hard on the fabric. Then, soak a clean white towel in warm water and dab the stain gently - working from the outer edges to the middle. The wet area can be covered up with baby powder or chalk.
Makeup or lipstick: A dedicated stain removal wipe or commercially-available stain removal stick can help minimize the impact of a dropped brush or lipstick tube. Even if the stain doesn’t completely come out, you can cover it to some degree with baby powder or chalk.
Grease or oil: We’re looking at you, Ms. “A quick eggroll before the wedding can’t hurt!” Oils and grease from dropped food items can quickly stain a wedding dress, but there is a way to conduct a bit of last-minute cleaning if this happens to you. Simply cover the stain with a generous layer of baby powder to sop up the oil, wait 15-30 minutes and then softly brush away the stain. Do this a couple of times, if necessary. Next, use a cotton swab covered in rubbing alcohol to dab at the stain from the outer edges to the center. Finally, cover the entire area with baby powder or chalk to conceal the moistened spot.
The moral of the story here? Try to apply all makeup and hair products before your dress goes on and never eat while wearing your dress. If you still get stains on the dress, though, make sure you always have a few clean white towels on hand, a bottle of baby powder, cotton swabs and some rubbing alcohol.
These tactics can help you address any last-minute, emergency wedding gown issues on The Big Day, but what should you do if you notice stains on your dress after the ceremony is over? Sounds like it is time to work with a professional wedding dress cleaning and preservation company to restore the dress and preserve it for decades to come.
What are your professional wedding dress cleaning options today?
Partnering with the right wedding dress cleaning pro can make all the difference, and brides will find three basic options available today… a neighborhood dry cleaning store, a local professional dress cleaner, or an online wedding dress cleaning and preservation company. Let’s look at how these three options compare when removing stains from a wedding dress:
Neighborhood Drycleaner: While it might be tempting to say yes to those local advertisements for a $49 wedding gown cleaning and preservation offered at the local drycleaner, but beware! Most drycleaners use PERC - a chemical that nearly all traditional drycleaners use, that can easily damage a wedding dress and is definitely not environmentally-friendly. You’ve spent plenty on the dress - don’t trust it to the local drycleaner.
Local Professional Dress Cleaner: Another option is to take it to a local company that specializes in wedding gown cleaning. While this sounds like a good option on the surface, these institutions are often more expensive than an online dress cleaning company due to their higher overhead. And, many of them send out client gowns anyway - so you’re simply paying a big markup to the middleman in your town. A recent comparison of wedding dress cleaning companies by Good Morning America found that the local (read: way more expensive option) did the worst at removing stains when compared to a drycleaner or online option. The price of the local “specialist” was three times higher than the online company.
Online Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation Company:
Finally, the leading choice for brides today is an online wedding dress cleaning and preservation outfit - like Weddingdresspreservationkits.com. From the convenience of not even having to leave the house (a shipping box and label are sent right to your home and your dress can be picked up for shipping, too!) to the superior cleaning efficiency of the contemporary, green earth sustainable, stain-fighting solutions, this is simply the best option. Many online cleaning companies will also preserve the dress - delicately showcasing it in a specially-designed box that provides protection against mold, mildew, insects, oxidation and other hazards.
If you’re concerned about cleaning stains from your wedding dress - either on The Big Day or after the party is over, keep these tips in mind and you’ll enjoy a crisp, clean and beautiful wedding gown for years to come.