Choose a Preservationist Carefully!

March 22, 2011

The Wedding Season will soon be upon us. One of the last things a bride normally thinks of is who will clean her gown. She maybe planning on selling it or will decide later on or maybe she knows that this is one special part of her very important day that she cannot part with.

Either way, the time to look for a preservation specialist is before the wedding takes place. For success in removing most dirt and stains, the dress should be cleaned within 3 weeks after the wedding. This is very important if you are planning to sell the dress for a good price and it must look "brand new" or if you plan to keep it as a family heirloom.

The first question to ask the preservationist is if they will be doing the work inhouse. Some dry cleaners will mail off the dress to a company that does an assembly line style of cleaning and packaging. Your precious gown will receive no special care. This type of business will not care if you know that you spilled champagne on your sleeve or that your missing a bead on the left hand side of the bodice. These type of assembly line plants will use non-archival materials to package your dress because the wholesale work makes it necessary to cut costs.

If you buy the service through your bridal shop, ask to whom they are sending the gown as well. If they are using a local gown specialist then most likely they are not using these type of plants.

These plants will also shrink wrap your dress and send you literature that saids its the best way to preserve it. If that were true, then why do museums like the Smithsonian not do this? Air is important for preservation and sealing it in plastic can cause all kinds of problems like mildew. Most importantly, ARE THEY JUST TRYING TO KEEP YOU AWAY FROM YOUR DRESS. Is it actually clean? Is is repaired? Has the hem been properly whitened and freed from the dirt caused by dragging on the ground?

Use a preservation specialist who will pack the gown in front of you after cleaning. We highly recommend the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists.  Always make sure who you choose uses only archival materials or buy them yourself at Check the gown periodically by wearing cotton gloves. Listen to your preservationists instructions on where to keep the gown in the house. All of this will add up to a beautiful family heirloom and a wonderful memory of your wedding day. If you plan on selling, make sure they hang it in a proper archival style bag that will still protect it from unltraviolet rays and contaminants in the air.

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