The Life After The I Do: How To Store Your Wedding Dress

February 17, 2021
The Life After The I Do: How To Store Your Wedding Dress

Your wedding dress will be one of the most meaningful pieces of clothing you will own! It may also be one of the most expensive dresses you ever invest in. Both of these are reasons why many brides choose to preserve their wedding dresses after their big day. You can pass it on to future generations or just keep it safe as a keepsake from your special day. Storing clothing might sound simple but preserving a wedding dress is very strategic and involves some planning. Follow along as we share all the tips and tricks to ensure your gown is stored properly to be enjoyed for years to come!

Get Your Dress Cleaned by an Expert

Some stains aren’t obvious to the eye, but if left untreated can result in visible marks. Wine spills, food stains and perfume can seep into the fabric and get worse over time. The most common stain runs along the hem, it’s normal for dirt stains to surround the rim of the dress after it’s been in contact with the ground. A professional wedding dress dry cleaning service will be the best place to have your dress inspected by an expert. They will be able to treat stains and clean the dress according to the fabric and using the correct solvents. Take your dress to wedding dress cleaning service as soon as possible, don’t wait for weeks as the stains could have already set in.  

In case you’re considering cleaning your own dress, read the care label. Some materials are more sensitive than others, beaded dresses, for example, should never be washed in a machine. Research which treatments are best for the material and spot-test cleaning, before applying them to large areas. Ideally, it’s better to invest in a professional cleaning service since they have advanced equipment and years of knowledge. 

Don’t Hang Your Dress Up

Wedding dresses often have layers of fabric that make it feel heavy. Some are weighed down by embellishments and beads. By hanging your dress, it puts unnecessary stress on the straps. They can misshapen and warp over time. Lying your dress horizontally is the best way to store it.  

Don’t Use a Plastic Garment Bag 

You may be tempted to reach for a vacuum bag but try to avoid plastic and synthetic bags at all costs. Plastic can release gasses that can eventually cause your dress to smell strange, which is why you should consider long-term options. Some people store their dress in a garment bag, but these bags contain synthetic material, so they are only ideal for short-term protection from smells and stains.  

Invest in a cotton garment bag, they are easy to find and come in a range of sizes. Additionally, you can fold a cotton sheet or piece of material within the layers of your dress to relieve it from permanent creasing. 

Use Acid-Free Paper and Plastic 

To avoid intricate beadwork rubbing against the fabric or wearing over time, place acid-free paper between the folds of the dress. Storing mementoes and keepsakes in a standard cardboard box is common, however, it’s not ideal for wedding dresses. Card box can rot and disintegrate leaving your dress vulnerable to mold and yellowing. 

Store the dress in a wedding gown preservation box. This specialised box will stop your dress from oxidising and discolouring. 

Store It in a Cool, Dry Place

There are a few risks if a wedding dress is not stored properly. It can become mouldy, musty and stained. Keep it in a dark place, away from sunlight. The sun can cause fading and damage to the material, which can become yellow with too much exposure. Don’t stuff your wedding dress in a box in the attic or garage because these are places that can become too hot or cold. Extreme temperatures should be avoided, somewhere moderate and consistent like below your bed is best. 

Consider keeping it away from the kitchen since fabrics absorb odours including, the garment bag. If you live in an open-plan home, it may be best to keep your dress with friends or family, since cooking fumes and everyday smells could waft their way into your dress. 

Check on Your Dress

It’s a good idea to check on your wedding dress every few years, just to ensure there are no issues. If you want to take your dress out of preservation to wear it again, alter it or pass it on, then there are some things to consider. 

Taking Your Dress Out of Preservation

You may want to alter your dress and reconstruct it into a new design. It could be a lovely way to pay homage to your wedding if you are renewing your vows or celebrating a milestone anniversary. Take your dress to a professional gown alterations shop to discuss your ideas with an expert tailor. They will be able to help bring your vision to life. It’s usually achievable to shorten sleeves, bring up the hem and adjust the dress to your size as well as much more. 

Make sure you take it back to a wedding dress cleaning service after you wear your dress since it will need to go through the preservation process again. 

It may take some preparation to store your wedding dress, but you won’t regret it. If you ever decided to take it out of preservation or pass it on to a loved one, it will be in perfect condition so that it can be cherished for decades to come. 


Tony Kantzavelos is the owner of LoveYourDress and Love Your Tailor Toronto. Specializing in dress cleaning, clothing alterations and tailoring since 1986. Tony loves sharing tips and trade secrets for customizing and taking care of almost any kind of dress, and especially helping women look their best no matter the occasion.

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