Your big day has come and gone but that doesn’t mean all the money you spent on your gown and accessories should go to waste. Preserving those pieces full of cherished memories for future generations can be done with just a bit of care. Preservation refers to the special cleaning and packaging techniques used to ensure your gown retains its beauty, ensuring it is protected from the elements so it lasts well into the future. At Merrimu, we are proud to be one of Melbourne’s most loved wedding reception venues and we have been privileged to witness thousands of stunning wedding gowns over the years. It’s only natural that many brides wish to hang on to their wedding dress as it represents so much love and happiness, so here’s our tips for preserving your wedding dress to make it last forever.
Choose Wedding Dress Preservation Specialists
Unlike a standard dry cleaning service, wedding gown preservation needs the assessment of an experienced specialist. A specialist wedding dress cleaner will create a treatment plan according to the unique fabric, stitching, and details of your dress, as well as analysing stains along the hem and entire dress. There are some dry cleaners who also offer specialized wedding dress cleaning. Make sure they use a virgin solvent rather than a recycled solvent. Recycled solvents (which are typically used for dry cleaning) contain impurities that can redeposit onto clothing and leave your wedding dress with a strange smell. Wedding dress cleaning and preservation should only be done with a virgin solvent.
Professional cleaning is the first step in wedding dress preservation, and the sooner you start the process, the better. Many brides often wait weeks before they take their dresses to be cleaned, and that’s no good. During this time, stains have time to really set in and can be almost impossible to remove. Make sure your dress gets to the dry cleaner within a couple of days of your wedding and if you’re heading off on a honeymoon, arrange for a bridesmaid or friend to take it for you.
Ensure the Storage Box Is Airtight
After cleaning, your gown is wrapped in acid-free tissue paper and placed in a museum-quality archival box which is sealed so it is completely airtight with oxygen removed. This prevents oxidation (aging, discoloration, etc.), which can happen to clothes that have been stored for several years. Wedding gown specialists recommend that you never break the seal, and if you do, that you should have it preserved and sealed back up again.
Store the Dress Box in a Cool, Dark Place
Once your gown is back from the preservationist, pay attention to storage. Keep your dress box in a cool, dark and dry environment with a relative humidity at 50 percent. A location with a neutral temperature such as under your bed or in a dry closet is most suitable. The box should be protected from direct sunlight, which can cause the box to heat up and hold moisture, potentially causing discolouration.
Don’t Forget Your Shoes and Accessories
Talk to your preservationist about including other items such as shoes and jewellery in your box. It may not be the best idea depending on the type of materials, but a professional preservationist will have an opinion on how to store them properly. Most services can accommodate everything from veils and garters to shoes and handkerchiefs.
How Much Does Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation Cost?
The cost may vary depending on the type of fabric, decoration, ornamentation and degree of stain damage. A heavily beaded silk ball gown will cost more than a simple polyester dress and you should never trust your designer gown to someone offering a bargain price. Expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $700, although prices can go as high as $1,000 depending on the gown and location.
Whether it’s for sentimental value or to pass on to future generations, preserving your wedding dress is the best way to retain its colour, fabric and shape.
Merrimu has been consistently recognised as one of Melbourne’s best wedding reception venues. With our stunning heritage inspired venue, elegant ballroom and picturesque gardens, an event at Merrimu is one that will be remembered forever. For more information on our wedding packages or to book a tour, get in touch with online or call (03) 9568 1811 to speak with one of our friendly consultants.