As a wedding photographer I have brides ask me quite often what they should do to care for their dress especially during and after the pre-wedding pictures like bridals and groomals. What most people don’t know is that before I started my business as a wedding photographer, I worked as a bridal consultant at a popular local dress shop here in Utah. I learned so much about how to care for, store, clean, hang, repair, protect, and travel with a wedding gown.
Since your wedding dress is probably the most important (and most expensive!) dress you will ever purchase, I think it is worth while to learn about how to take care of your dress properly. Knowing how to prevent issues and how to take care of the occasional wedding day stain are good for your dress but also your stress level.
This is going to be a four part blog series on how to properly care for your wedding dress. Today we will talk about how to store/care for your dress before the wedding/pictures. In the next coming days we will be discussing taking care of your dress while you’re wearing it, how to properly store and clean your dress, and I will teach you how to take care of common stains as well as how to create a “wedding dress survival kit” for your big day!
For now lets stick with what happens when you first find the dress
You’re looking in the mirror thinking “this is it!”. You’ve tried the thing on 10 times, the alterations are done, the bill is paid, and you finally get to take the dress home. Whether this happens 6 months before the wedding or only 6 days, proper storage and care is still important if you want your dress to look and fit the same was as when you are looking in the mirror after that last fitting.
If you’ll be storing your dress for less than six months you can simply hang your dress on a padded hanger leaving plenty of room on either side of the dress so as not to crush the fabric and create unsightly seams and creases. Be sure the dress is not in direct sunlight and to prevent dust, cover the gown with a large white sheet that has been washed in hot water without bleach or detergent.
When hanging your dress, always use the hanging loops attached to the side seems on the inside of the dress. You don’t want to hang the dress by the shoulders. This is because shoulder seems are easily stretched which can mean an incorrect fit on the wedding day. Instead, hang the dress by the loops that are attached to the sturdy side seams.
If your dress does not have hanging loops attached to the side seems (and you’ll be hanging it for more than a day or two) or if you will be storing your gown for more than six months you’ll want to gently fold the dress and wrap it in either acid free white tissue paper, or a sheet prepared as described above. Then place the dress in an acid free card board box. Be sure the box is large enough so you don’t have to smash or crush the dress to get it stored.
An important thing to know is to never store your dress in plastic garment bags or bins. Storing your dress in plastic can trap moisture causing mildew and in extreme cases even mold. Plastic also emits fumes that can cause deterioration and discoloration in the fabric of your dress. Also never store your dress in an area of your home that has frequent temperature or humidity changes such as an attic, basement, or garage.
Next we will talk about how to prepare your wedding dress for the big day and how to prevent damage during your pictures and on the wedding day.