You probably spent a ton of time, effort, and money in finding the perfect wedding dress, so of course you want to keep it around. Read on for tips on how to store your wedding (or any other formal) gown.
Wedding Dress Storage Conditions
Too much sunlight can damage the gown, yellowing lighter fabrics and fading darker ones. However, avoid attics or basements because too much humidity can cause mold and mildew. If storing at home, the best options are under a bed or in a dry closet. Plastic or padded hangers are okay for transport, but the gown should not be kept on a hanger long term. The fabric can easily become stretched and distorted from the hanging weight. Avoid plastic covers because these can trap moisture and lead to mold and mildew. It’s best to find a wedding chest, which is a box specifically designed to store the dress in. It will probably come with a viewing window, so you can see the dress without opening the box.
- Cool, dark, and dry environment
- Relative humidity of 50 percent at all times
- Keep out of direct sunlight
- Ensure all storage materials are acid-free
- When covering, choose a cloth cover over plastic
- Climate controlled storage recommended
Preparing Your Wedding Dress for Storage
Proper cleaning is of utmost importance when preparing your gown for storage. When left untreated, visible stains, hidden stains, and body oils from normal wear will expand and set over time. While you can clean your dress on your own if you’d prefer, it is highly recommended you take your dress to a preservationist. They will expertly clean and prepare the dress for storage. This can cost roughly $250-$500, depending on dress fabric, decoration, ornamentation, and visible staining. It’s worth the cost to have your dress professionally cleaned and prepped for storage. Plus, a wedding chest and storage materials will likely be included in the cost.
If you are reading this before the wedding, research preservationists in your area ahead of time. Ask your bridal shop, wedding consultant, or recent brides for recommendations. If possible (and especially if there are any visible stains), have someone from the wedding party take the dress to the preservationist while you are on your honeymoon. Stains can be most thoroughly removed when they are fresh.
Though most dry cleaners will clean wedding dresses, they usually don’t specialize in this area. Avoid taking your dress to a dry cleaners unless the clean upwards of 100 gowns a year. If you choose to clean the gown on your own, don’t do so without thoroughly researching proper methods for the specific fabric of your dress. After cleaning, wash your hands before or wear cotton gloves when handling the gown.