Your final wedding dress fitting will likely take place anywhere from two weeks to a few days before the big day. Brides, this is what we call the home stretch. But once your tailor has ticked off all the boxes to ensure a perfect fit, it's up to you to take your wedding dress home and keep it safe until the ceremony. As it turns out, there is a right way and a wrong way to store your bridal gown in the days leading up to your wedding.
To no one's surprise, wedding dresses are the most high-maintenance clothing item out there. Not only do they occupy quite a bit of space, but the process of cleaning and preparing them for storage is also much lengthier and more complicated than, say, storing suits and dress shirts.
To add to the challenge, wedding dresses need to be cleaned and properly put away as soon as possible after the wedding.
That means before you can kick back and revel in your newlywed bliss, you should take the time to read this information and formulate a plan for dealing with your wedding duds. (Go ahead and crack open a bottle of champagne as you do it — we won't tell.)
How to store your wedding dress before the wedding day is an increasingly common question in the time of coronavirus wedding postponements. Take a scenario where you've received your wedding dress (so exciting!), but you're now dealing with a wedding postponement anywhere from three months to a year out from your original date. Here, we talk through exactly what you need to do to ensure your gown is in flawless condition for when you ultimately make your grand entrance down the aisle.
Most little girls dream of walking down the aisle to marry their prince in a perfectly magical wedding dress. As you probably know, a lot of time and money went into finding your dream bridal gown, which is why keeping it in perfect shape before and after the wedding is so important. Here are some simple tips on how a bride can keep her wedding dress beautiful before and afterwards, the big day.
Single-handedly, the best way to store a wedding dress before the wedding day is to follow the instructions provided by the boutique or your local bridal salon. These pros will tell you exactly what to do in every scenario with your specific type of gown.
There are several golden rules, however, to keep in mind at all times. The best way to store a gown is in a dark, dry spot. If possible, gowns should be stored in breathable cloth bags, such as the bags we give to them when they pick up the dress--and not in plastic bags.
The best way to store a wedding dress, if it's in a closet, is to use the hanger straps to keep everything in tip-top shape. The last scenario you'd want is for your bodice to be haphazardly stretched because you didn't utilize the support of hanger straps.
Finally, experts reiterate removing the plastic covering over the gown and replacing it with something more storage-friendly like cotton or breathable fabric storage bag. Definitely be sure not to store it in plastic, especially through the warmer months. Any moisture that isn't able to escape that plastic bag could cause an odour. Tucked away in a closet with no garment bag, at all, is better than storing it longterm in plastic.
Depending on the weight of your gown, some salons will have specifications for even heavier material, which could include ornate beading or structured lace. Read below for more hacks and tricks for how to store your beaded or lace dress before the wedding properly.
Protect your dress from plastics
If your wedding dress comes wrapped in plastic or a white plastic garment bag, and you plan on storing it for more than a few weeks, you'll want to remove it from the plastic or plastic garment bag. Then wrap your dress in white or light-coloured cotton sheets or put it in a light-coloured cloth garment bag. Plastic usually doesn't allow the fabric to 'breathe' and may even dull or yellow the dress, as chemicals start to break down and gases are discharged.
When and how to hang your dress
Don't rush to hang up your wedding dress. You'll want first to consider the weight of your dress. If your dress isn't light and airy and is heavily embellished with beads and has lots of layers, you'll want to store it flat protected with cotton sheets in a low traffic area or space. Make sure to keep your dress away from any dirt, pets, heaters, damp areas, or direct sunlight. Also, make sure your dress is placed in a room with moderate to cool temperatures that are not too hot or humid. If you do hang up your dress, be sure to use the small support straps (often referred to as 'spaghetti' straps) that are usually sewn into the inside of the gown, to help take the pressure off sleeves that can stretch. If your gown is strapless, be sure to use the small spaghetti straps vs. using the clamp type hanger that can damage or mark up the fabric.
Try not to handle your dress
The key to keeping your dress in pristine condition before your big day is to avoid trying on your dress unnecessarily or removing it from the fabric garment bag. You greatly increase your chances of soiling, staining or damaging your dress if you keep handling it. If you must try on your wedding dress before your big day, make sure to remove any jewellery (to avoid snags), deodorant and makeup first. It's also recommended that you thoroughly wash your hands to prevent the natural oils from your hands to get onto the dress. Oils usually cannot be seen at first but can attract dirt, which can be seen later on.
A few days before your wedding carefully take out your dress. Use a silk or satin padded hanger to hang your wedding dress somewhere high, so any creases and wrinkles can drop out. If your dress still has a few wrinkles a couple of days before the wedding, you could hang your gown in the powder room with a hot shower running. Just make sure your gown is far enough away from the shower so that it doesn't get wet. You may also want to have your dress professionally steamed just before your wedding. This is especially helpful if you have to take your dress on a plane if your wedding is in a different city. It is not recommended that you iron your dress in order to avoid any last-minute accidents that could ruin your precious wedding gown.
Wedding gown preservation after
When you get back from your honeymoon, don't forget to get your wedding dress preserved by a reputable specialist. Preserving a gown is a special process that entails professional cleaning and preserving your dress after it has been worn at your wedding and reception. This process is done in many steps, including not only inspecting and cleaning your wedding dress of both non-visible and visible stains, hand treating and cleaning highly soiled areas such as the hem and neckline, but it also entails a preservation process that protects your dress through the years from yellowing and stains that might have otherwise surfaced over time. Be sure to check reviews by real brides when selecting a company to entrust your precious gown with. Having your gown professionally cleaned, preserved and protected in an acid-free preservation chest will ensure you've created a family keepsake that will be cherished for generations to come.
Not sure if wedding dress preservation is worth it? Check out our blog post.
Packing is important
Thankfully, your seamstress should handle this part. Your gown should be freshly pressed, hung by the hang straps, packed on a bust form or tissue paper, and enclosed in both a plastic and fabric garment bag by your tailor. If one of these items is missing, do not hesitate to ask!
We also have a range of wedding dress preservation boxes for you to choose from.
Hang straps are your friends
Those pesky hang straps might drive you crazy on your everyday clothes, but trust us, you're going to want them on your wedding dress-at least leading up to the big day. "Ensuring that the weight of the dress is being supported by hang straps rather than a delicate neckline or straps will keep your gown from stretching or becoming misshapen," Chasco-Smith tells us, adding that if brides notice they are missing, they should ask their tailors to sew them in.
Location, location, location
Find a spot in your home that is cool, dry, and dark such as a closet or a second bedroom that's not accessible to children or animals. While we love tiny hands and pet paws, be sure to place your dress out of their reach to avoid stains and snags.
To hang or not to hang
Most dresses can be hung (say it with us: by the hang straps!) for a few weeks. However, the form of storage ultimately depends on the length of time and fabric type. If your wedding is months away, find a place where it can lay flat and out of sunlight. A gown that is heavily beaded, cut on the bias, or a very open lace-think crochet, battenburg, or guipure-should be stored laying down for any period of time to avoid stretching. Ask your seamstress if you're not sure.
Where to Store a Wedding Dress Before the Wedding
Store your dress in a place where it remains cool and dark—anywhere between room temperature and below is suggested as factors such as humidity and direct sunlight can cause bleaching or fabric decay. Your best bet in the back of a closet or in an area that isn't exposed to light.
We suggest storing your gown in a breathable, cloth garment bag that is long enough to allow the dress to hang in a tall closet—without wrinkling at the bottom. Chances are your gown has been steamed by your seamstress or tailor if you have already had alterations done to your gown. Keep it ready for the big day by storing it in a way that it won't re-wrinkle or sit wrinkled for an extended period of time. Storing the dress in a garment bag will also ensure that it doesn't get dirty or snag on anything else that's in your closet.
How to Store a Beaded or Heavy Lace Wedding Dress Before the Wedding?
Depending on the weight of your gown, some salons will provide specifications for even heavier material, which could include ornate beading or structured lace. If there's beading, my recommendation is not to hang it at all. Take it off the hanger, place a sheet down on your bed and put your gown down on the sheet. Fold it in thirds and store it somewhere flat.
Heavier garments are tricky when hung, especially when a gown has been perfectly suited to fit your physique. With beading, over time, the fabric will grow, and the proportions can be off. The same is for bridesmaid dresses and mother of the bride pieces as well.