Written with love, by Felicia
Your wedding day has come and gone, you’ve returned from your honeymoon, and “real life” is starting to set back in. For as much euphoria as I felt the day I purchased my dress and the day I got married, I felt just as much sadness seeing my dress hanging on the back of my door, never to be worn again. It was like going through the stages of grief. For me, letting go of my dress was the hardest post-wedding wrap-up I had to do. In fact, it took me a year to do it.
The wedding dress was more than fabric and lace to me. That DRESS changed my life. I became a wife in that dress. My entire world changed in that dress! I would find myself sometimes unzipping the bag and looking at the beading. Touching my dress made the memory of our wedding day very real and tangible. During our engagement, my dress became a source of inspiration for me as knowing I would get to wear it not only motivated me to lose weight and get in shape, but it also got me through a difficult health crisis. It was like an old friend I couldn’t say “goodbye” to. Until one day…
…I unzipped the bag and started to see little yellow stains appear. “Oh, shoot!” I thought. I waited too long. I had to get my dress preserved NOW. Some brides decide to never preserve their dress, but I strongly recommend you do.
Your dress is a major investment! For some, it costs several thousand dollars. If you purchased a TV or car (yes, some dresses cost as much as a car), you’d want to protect it, right? The same goes for your dress. Remember, fabric doesn’t last forever. Miniscule drops of alcohol, sweat, and food particles that landed on your dress while you were partying away are slowly eating away and breaking down the fabric. Oxidation happens almost immediately, and the sooner you can prevent it, the better. You don’t want holes or stains ruining your dress forever.
So get that preservation started before it's too late!
1) Before you begin, do your research. Call a few bridal salons, starting with the store where you purchased the dress. Sometimes, they may offer you a discount on preserving your dress if you purchased it there. Get prices, preserving techniques and tips from each place you call to help you decide on where to take your dress. Dry cleaners will also do it, often times cheaper, but that comes down to your own comfort level.
2) Decide what kind of preserving you want. There are traditional ways, which involve a chemical process, and there are newer techniques, greener methods that produce the same results. I went the green route because the thought of chemicals touching my dress made me ill. Plus, often times with a chemical process, they need to do a reverse chemical process if someone wants to wear it again in the future.
3) Make sure whoever you have preserve your dress has insurance and insures your dress. Many dress shops use preserving companies that have been doing this forever; but you want to make sure, that just in case something happens, you have insurance to cover the cost.
4) Expect to pay between $300 and $400, and also expect to wait upwards of three to four months for your dress to come back. It’ll be in a box, with a see-through window, then placed in cardboard box, and then another. It’ll be packed tight, for a reason. More layers equals more protection.
5) Keep your dress in living space that is climate-controlled. Do not place your preserved dress in a basement or attic. Moderate and comfortable temperatures are best. Underneath a bed or in a closet are good places to store your dress.
6) If you want to preserve your dress, but don’t think you can afford it, put it on your registry.
So, tell us, did you preserve your gown or are you planning on doing so?