It’s important to note that there’s been much controversy in recent years around the concept of wedding dress preservation. This is because some companies make big claims about what they can accomplish, promising to preserve your dress in a special way, and charge big bulks for this service. However, most experts will tell you that there’s no secret to garment preservation. That being said, it is crucial that you hire someone for the task who is quite experienced and effective.
It’s also worth pointing out that some gown preservation companies will insist that the dress remain inside a sealed box until the next person goes to wear it. Yet some experts advise against this. They point out that it’s always a good idea to very carefully take your dress out every few years (wearing white gloves to prevent leaving any skin oil stains) and look it over to be sure everything still looks fine. If there are any problems with it, this will allow you to have them addressed right away instead of waiting for another decade or two. If the dress is still okay, then you should carefully repack it and put it back away.
What It Costs
How much did you spend on your wedding dress? To some degree what you invested in it will likely affect the price to clean and preserve it, too. That’s because the finer the fabric, the size and the more detailing it has, the more involved the cleaning and preparation technique may be. For instance, if you have a long train, embroidery, crystal beading, lace edging or any other special effects, this will require more effort and expertise. Cleaning silk can also be pricier than other fabrics. And if your dress has stains that will need to taken out, this will require additional labor and will likely make the job more expensive. What part of the country in which live can also affect the price for this service. In large cities such as New York, Boston and Los Angeles, prices will probably be higher than in more rural areas.
Very simple gowns can start at about $150 to clean and store, and the price can go up as high as about $800 or more for one of extremely fine fabric and/or that’s quite detailed or elaborate.
Most dresses fall somewhere in the middle, costing between $200 and $500 to clean and preserve.
A DIY Option
If you really want to save your dress but you’ve spent all of your money on the wedding itself, you may want to ask several friends or family members to chip in for this service as your wedding gift. Or, you could consider a Do-It-Yourself option. You’ll still need to have your gown cleaned (which can cost between $50 and $150 or more, depending on the fabric and details involved), then you can it in a cotton sheet and box it yourself or keep it in a cedar chest and hope for the best.
A Final Note
Just keep in mind whether you invest in the services of a professional or give it your own efforts, it’s impossible to protect every single gown from discoloring with the passage of time. The good news is down the road, if your daughter or other family member wants to wear your gown and the fabric has yellowed a little, you may be able to have it professionally bleached safely to bring it back to its original glory.