Choosing a Wedding Dress
Many wedding consultants agree that you should begin shopping for your dress at least six months before your wedding date. This provides ample time to find the fabric, style, and accessories that suit you. It also allows time for the manufacturing and shipping of a dress that is special-ordered. Today’s bridal gowns are made from brocade, chiffon, lace, organza, satin, silk and taffeta and are accented with delicate trims, such as applique, beads, embroidery, lace, seed pearls and sequins.
When shopping for your dress, ask the salesperson how the dress should be cleaned and if the trim should be cleaned the same way. If possible, get the information in writing. Trim that is glued on rather than sewn on sometimes does not stand up to the dry cleaning process. Other trims, such as beads and pearls, dissolve when cleaned with solvent. You want to make sure that your entire dress is cleanable so that you can preserve your investment for many years.
If you are wearing an heirloom gown, allow plenty of time for professional cleaning as well as any alterations that may be necessary. Because many fabrics naturally yellow with age, you should check the gown carefully for any discoloration. Often, yellowing can be removed if the gown can be wet cleaned. If you find any color changes, take your gown to BRYAN’S who understands restoration of delicate and antique materials.
After the Wedding…
Most brides want to preserve their dress as a keepsake, perhaps for their own daughter to wear on her wedding day. Experts in the cleaning industry recommend that you have the dress cleaned before storage.
The dress may have invisible stains from beverages, body oil, and food. If these stains are not properly cleaned, they may become permanent. Therefore, it is important to point out any stains or spills to BRYAN’S before cleaning.
Most wedding gowns have some decorative trim. Again, it is important to inspect these trims with BRYAN’S prior to cleaning. Many trims are not made to withstand the dry cleaning process. For example, many beads, glitter, laces, and sequins are attached to gowns with adhesives that dissolve during dry cleaning. Some beads and glitter are made of plastics or covered with surface coatings that are not resistant to solvent. In many of these cases, the trim becomes separated from the dress or altered in some way.
Some decorative trims yellow as their finishes oxidize. An ivory or ecru trim may lose its color and no longer match the gown if a dye component is lost in cleaning. Color failures of this type are due to poor colorfastness of the dye, not because of improper cleaning.
Special Care Instructions
The Care Label Rule clearly states that wearing apparel, such as wedding gowns, must have a care lable that provides a viable care method. The care label covers all parts of the gown, including decorative trim. Gowns that fail to withstand the care procedure on the label should be returned to the retailer for an adjustment.
Look at the care label before puchasing your gown to make sure you understand the recommended cleaning instructions. When it comes time to clean your gown, find a local cleaner like BRYAN’S who can professionaly dry- or wet clean it for a fair and reasonable price.
Storing Your Gown
Unfortunately, no process or storage method can guarantee against yellowing or possible detoriation of fabrics. There are, however, several steps you can take to protect your garment:
- Have BRYAN’S pack the gown in a special storage box that will help prevent contamination.
- Store your gown in a cool, dry place. Do not store it in a basement or attic. Basement dampness can cause mildew; attic heat could promote yellowing of the fabric.
- If you are storing a long gown on a hanger, sew straps to the waistline of the dress to relieve pressure on the shoulders from the weight of the skirt. Wrap the dress in a protective white sheet or muslin covering.
- Whether the gown is hung or boxed, the bodice should be stuffed with white acid-free tissue paper to prevent wrinkles. Fabric-covered buttons, pins, and foam padding should be removed and stored separately to avoid damage to the fabric.
- Never store headpieces, shoes, veils or other accessories with your gown.
- Inspect your gown from time to time during storage. Stains not initially apparent could appear later, and should be tended to immediately.