Prior to the 1990’s, wedding dress preservation was out of reach to the mainstream market because the process required special machines not available to the masses. In our day, mail-in wedding dress preservation has transformed the industry and made this service much more widely available and affordable. Professional dress preservation is the best way to ensure your prized gown doesn’t deteriorate over time by long-term exposure to stains and other harmful substances. There are now different options available to almost anyone who wishes to have their gown preserved. One of the most common questions we hear from customers here at Desna’s Designs is: “What’s the best preservation method for my dress?” This is certainly a good question, as there are different methodologies on the market today, and you certainly don’t want to choose the wrong one to fit your needs. So which option is best for you? That will depend on different factors. This article will discuss some of the basic aspects to consider and will introduce the method we have found to be easily the most effective in our work with so many customers throughout this process.
Where do I Find a Preservationist?
In regard to finding your preservationist, it’s important to first note that it’s best to find one before your wedding and ask a family member, friend or party member to take your bridal gown to the preservationist after the wedding so you can take off for your honeymoon worry-free.
Many dry cleaners offer wedding dress cleaning and/or preservation. However, properly handling the cleaning and preserving of a wedding gown is a specialized skill that most dry cleaners do not have built into their business processes. To find out if a dry cleaner does have a special niche in wedding gown preservation you can inquire about a few key areas, such as the following:
- Approximately how many gowns do they preserve each year?
- Ask them to explain their cleaning process.
- Find out if they offer a warranty and make sure you’re comfortable with the details.
If they can’t answer these questions comfortably and to your satisfaction then it may be best to keep looking. In regard to how many gowns they preserve each year, there’s really no magic number. However, if they say five that may tip you off that gown preservation isn’t a focus area of their business. If their number is three digits then they may have more robust capability than most other typical dry cleaners.
In addition to dry cleaners, there are several options available with very reputable companies that have a specialization in preservation and have made it the core of their business. At Desna’s Designs we have chosen to partner with the Wedding Dress Preservation Company of Endicott, NY. This company has been preserving wedding dresses for over 100 years and is one of the most respected names in the business. Preserving your gown with a company such as this will provide a high level of comfort that all details are being handled by people who focus exclusively on dress preservation.
What is the Process of Preserving a Wedding Dress through Desna’s Designs?
This first step in this process is to bring your dress to us at our work shop with any other items you want included in the final encasement. These can include a garter, veil, gloves, handkerchief, etc. We will box everything carefully and provide shipment to the Wedding Dress Preservation Company.
After receiving your dress the first step for the Wedding Dress Preservation Company will be to thoroughly and safely clean your gown. They have several different cleaning processes that can be used. Expert preservationists are trained to inspect your dress for stains and other blemishes. The proper cleaning processes will be selected depending upon the needs of your dress. All of their processes are gentle and environmentally safe.
Cleaning is the most critical step in the overall preservation process. Stains are the most detrimental items to a wedding dress over the course of time. If not properly cleaned they will most likely cause damage to the gown. Common stains found on wedding dresses originate from perspiration, grass, mud and grease. However, the most prevalent and harmful come from food such as sugar and red wine. It’s best to ensure that cleaning takes place as soon after your wedding as possible. The longer stains set in the more difficult they will be to eliminate. If too much time goes by with stains left untreated your gown may also need restoration in addition to the cleaning process.
After the cleaning process is complete your dress will be fitted on an acid-free bust form and packed in an acid-neutral preservation chest, which is meant to provide protection. The chest will include a window which will allow your dress to be attractively displayed. This will then be carefully packed and shipped back to us where you will be able to pick it up at your convenience.
Is Wedding Dress Preservation Even Worth It?
Cost is always a factor when making these important decisions. However, rather than considering the cost of preservation on its own you may want to consider it part of the overall wedding dress investment. You put forth a lot of energy to choose the perfect dress. Why not factor in the preservation of that dress as part of the overall cost? This will enable you to ensure that an item which was such a focal point of your wedding day will maintain its beauty for generations to come.
For more factors to consider with regard to cost please read our article – Preserving a Wedding Dress: Cost, Pricing and other Considerations.