Your big day has just flown by, and now the lovely dress that you’ve spent so much on is going … where? People are doing all sorts of different things now, such as a ‘trash the dress’ event, or framing it, but the traditional method is still popular – storing it to look at now and then, and maybe giving it to your child in the future. If you’re looking at storing your dress then how can you best store it for a long time?
We know that it’s impossible to remove all risk during the day, especially the thousand and one other things going on, but it will help. Avoid wine spills and dirt on the hems, and the worst culprit is lily pollen. The potent pollen bits in flowers are normally pulled off by professional florists, but double check that the buds were removed.
When planning to store something for a long time, you have to make sure that it is as free as possible from oils, spills, and dirt. No matter how careful you were, there is bound to be something from the wedding, so get it cleaned.
You may think you managed to get through your wedding day with no accidents, but white wine dries clear and only reveals itself months down the line - just an example. That’s another reason to get it cleaned quickly, so any stains don’t have the time to set into the fabric.
You may be tempted to try and clean it yourself, but wedding dresses tend to be very fine and made of multiple delicate materials that all need caring for in specialist ways. When approaching a professional, you can either go to a professional wedding dress cleaner or check that your dry cleaner is using virgin solvents.
There are many options for storing a wedding dress, but it's important that you choose the right materials. Don’t store it in plastic, because the cover could disintegrate with time, leaving the particles on your dress. Try to cover the surface area of your dress with acid-free tissue paper, placing the tissue between the layers as you fold it. Make sure that the tissue is also colourless, otherwise, the dye could bleed onto the dress. If you don’t want to use tissue, a clean cotton duvet may do the job as well.
It's also essential that you choose the right box to store your wedding dress in. Make sure that the box is pH-neutral, so that the acids don’t bleed onto the dress and stain it. Also make sure to choose a strong box that will stand the test of time and not get broken over the years. It needs to be strong enough to not allow any light (especially UV) in, be sealed enough so that no dust will get in, but still be breathable.
The size of the box also needs to fit the whole dress without compressing it. Some people vacuum store their dress, but that promotes mould, mildew and creases. You could bag your dress, hanging it on a padded hanger from the hanging straps and reinforced with twill tape (this is what they do in museums), but this requires a lot more effort. An acid-free box is probably best.
You also need to choose a safe place to store your wedding dress. Most people store things in their wardrobe, attic, or basement, but these aren't the best options. Wardrobes are frequently used which could allow your dress to get damaged, or even exposed to moths. Attics are often damp, humid, hot and often have insects. There’s also the possibility of birds, mice or squirrels in these areas. Basements are also prone to flood, and your dress could be ruined by water.
Aim for a cool, dry and dark place, if possible a spare room, under the bed, or in a self-storage unit. We offer multiple sizes and types of storage units so that your wedding dress is best protected and stored.
Once you've taken care of the dress, what about the shoes, the veil, the bouquet (if made of fake flowers) and everything else you want to keep safe from your special day?
You can potentially store the veil in the same box as your dress, but try not to let them touch, protecting them with tissue or cotton. The plastic, wire or trim could pierce or damage the gown, so be careful.
Clean the shoes with water and maybe some mild detergent. If leather, then polish them before storing. Once clean, wrap them in acid-free tissue paper and keep them in a nice shoebox.