How to store your wedding dress for several months or even a year has become a problem for many brides and couples. With cancellations and wedding dates pushed back, this just adds to the problem of protecting your purchase in the longer term.
If you stumbled across this article, then you have come to the right place. Why? Because it is written from the perspective and experience of a bespoke wedding dress designer.
In reality, my London based studio has floor to ceiling glass windows letting in loads of light (as do many bridal boutiques) and, many of the dresses within the collection have been hanging for over 10 years - or more if I am honest! We do not pack them away each night, because brides need to see our work on a daily basis.
Whilst the studio doors have been closed due to the lockdown matters beyond our control, we haven't dismantled our gowns and rushed out to buy dress boxes and tissue paper. So basically what we are saying is to use common sense and follow a few basic rules and your dress will be fine.
We've written this article just for you! To help alleviate the panic and stress of knowing whether you are doing the right thing to protect your wedding dress until your wedding day.
Here's How to Store Your Dress Correctly
1. Getting organised - You will need tissue paper which if you treat it well can be used after the wedding to protect your dress. We normally use around 50 sheets to pack gowns in transit which you can purchase here ACID FREE TISSUE PAPER.
2. Purchase a decent quality breathable wedding dress garment bag (There is a great one over on Amazon which they claim is used for items kept in museum archives. It is 72" long with a 3" gusset - making it perfect for ballgowns & princess gowns with larger skirts).
3. You will need a dedicated pH neutral wedding dress box, only if you are planning to pack your dress away.
4. Or, you can simply store your wedding dress in a large suitcase (packed and protected with tissue paper) and placed inside the the dress garment cover - your wedding dress will be absolutely fine!
5. Hanging your dress in the wardrobe or on the back of a door is fine too. As long as you follow the guidance provided and keep the weight evenly distributed between the hangers to avoid stretching the neckline - it is perfectly fine to leave your dress on the hanger.
To avoid crushing the bodice, pop a small cushion into the bodice and stuff the sleeves with tissue paper.
Recommendation - Use a strong wooden hanger or a padded hanger. Be sure to use the hangers inside the dress that are designed for hanging the dress and not the dress itself.
6. The wedding dress garment bag that came with your dress is important to protect the dress from dust and will be perfectly adequate in the short term to protect the dress inside.
Some bags are made of PVC and will disintegrate after a lengthy periods of time (years) leaving particles all over your dress. Be aware that many bridal boutique bags are not high quality - they are free giveaways for promoting business. So dependent on what is important to you, you may wish to invest in a better quality bag with which to protect your investment in the longer term.
7. Don't panic if your wedding date is simply postponed until next year, your dress will not discolor within such a short period of time. As long as you do not have your dress hanging where there is bright sunlight, radiators and fireplaces, damp walls and damp storage rooms.
8. If you have to place your wedding dress in box to store in another location such as your Mum's or friends house be sure to seal the box securely with tape to stop household pets such as nosey cats from peeking inside. Do check the contents of the box every few months.
9. To prevent your dress from getting too wrinkled, “stuff” the sleeves (if your dress has them), the skirt, and the bodice of the gown with acid-free paper.
10. Choose a garment bag with multiple pockets to keep all your possessions stored away together in one place. Remember that in six months or 12 months time, you will avoid the worry of trying to remember where everything is especially if not stored in your own home.
Storing Your Dress After The Wedding
1. If you plan on keeping your wedding dress after the wedding, or you plan on selling it - get it dry- cleaned straight away. Nothing damages a dress more than grass stains, mud, dirt, gravel, water etc. The longer you leave it uncleaned, the less chance you have of returning it to pristine condition.
2. Once you have dry-cleaned your wedding dress , remove the plastic garment cover. Lay the dress flat with multiple layers of tissue paper on top and fold it into three sections - starting from the hemline - place several layers of tissue paper each time you fold. (I do have a video on this topic which I will be adding in the next few weeks.)
3. Chose a sensible wedding dress storage box from a reputable company and not one that will collapse unto the dress. To protect your dress for future generations to admire, the box should be pH neutral, undyed and constructed of heavy board.
4. If storing your box in the attic space, check every six months to a year for insects and evidence of damp.
5. Before storing, remove the dry cleaning dress cover, pack the bodice area with tissue paper, then proceed to wrap the dress in multiple layers of tissue paper before placing into a breathable wedding dress garment bag and into a box.
Things to Avoid To Preserve Your Wedding Dress.
1. Do not store long term in plastic dress covers. They do not allow for changes in humidity, can cause bacteria, condensation and mold to grow and can contribute towards yellowing and discoloration.
2. Store you dress away from other clothing and surfaces that contains dyes that can affect the fabric resulting in staining of the dress fabric. If you have no alternatives, then protect the dress by wrapping it with acid free tissue paper first.
3. Avoid using coloured tissue paper as the dyes contained will affect the fabric of the dress leaving stains that cannot be removed
4. Avoid using standard cardboard boxes which contain acids that contribute towards the yellowing effect.
For advice regarding delicate wedding dresses that contain beadwork or embroidery, CHECK OUT THIS ARTICLE (compiled by me over on Rock my Wedding)