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Taking Care Of Your Gown

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Have you considered what you are going to do with your dream gown once the celebrations are over? No? Well, given the rush and bustle of wedding preparations, that’s understandable. However, your gown represents a significant investment and with proper care, it can remain a prized possession for many generations.

Before your wedding, locate a drycleaner who specialises in bridal wear. Many fabrics, especially silks, require careful treatment to ensure they are not damaged, so it’s critical to have your gown cleaned by an expert. Ask your dress designer, or your bridal boutique owner, whether they can recommend a reputable drycleaner with good references.

Dress ornaments also require expert attention. Drycleaning solvents can damage beads, or cause them to dissolve completely. Specialist bridal drycleaners have extensive experience in dealing with delicate beads and ornaments and should be willing to test the beads prior to cleaning.

After the ceremony, have your gown drycleaned as soon as possible. The longer stains are allowed to remain on the fabric, the more difficult they will be to remove. If you have noticed any food, drink, grease, grass, soil or confetti stains, you should point these out to your drycleaner.

Once your gown has been cleaned, it is ready to be stored. Gowns should never be packaged in plastic or vacuum sealed, because gases trapped in the packaging can encourage mould growth and accelerate the yellowing process. Boxes with inspection windows are also a poor choice as the plastic ‘windows’ may emit gases that cause damage to the gown and allow light into the box which encourages yellowing.

Ensure your drycleaner uses only acid-free boxes and tissue paper of the type recommended by museum and textile conservators. If your gown box is delivered unsealed, you may open the box to look at your gown – and if you can’t resist the temptation to take it out, try wearing white cotton gloves to prevent oil from your fingers coming into contact with the fabric.

You will need to choose an appropriate location for your gown’s long-term storage. A cool, dry place such as underneath a bed, or on the middle shelf of a frequently used closet is best. It is important to allow air to circulate around the box to provide an environment in which the gown can slowly and safely age.

Make allowances for the care of your gown in your wedding budget. It is a vital service when you consider the original cost of your dress, not to mention its immeasurable value as a cherished family heirloom.

If you’re leaving for your honeymoon immediately after the wedding, ask your maid of honour if she will take your gown to be cleaned and preserved. Remember, this should be done as soon after the wedding as possible to achieve the very best possible results.


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