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Wedding Dress Preservation Options

Wedding dress preservation methods are not the same everywhere. There are differences so you can make a choice.  For cleaning, you can choose your local dry cleaner or a national wedding dress preservation company. For preservation, you can decide which wedding dress preservation method will be best for your wedding gown. You have three choices…

  • Sealed Wedding Gown Preservation
  • Boxed Wedding Dress Preservation
  • Hanging or Bagged Wedding Dress Preservation
Sealed wedding dress preservation cannot be inspected.

Sealed wedding dress preservation cannot be inspected.

Boxed wedding dress preservation should be acid-free and lignin free and unsealed for easy inspection.

Boxed wedding dress preservation should be acid-free and lignin free and unsealed for easy inspection.

Hanging wedding dress preservation does not have the folds and creases so does not need refolding maintenance

Hanging wedding dress preservation does not have the folds and creases so does not need refolding maintenance

Sealed Wedding Dress Preservation

The reasons wedding gowns have been sealed in boxes, it is has been assumed that protecting it from oxygen will keep it from yellowing. However, it is nearly impossible to keep oxygen from getting in the preservation box (unless you are Nasa). And a sealed wedding dress is at greater risk for permanent creasing, mold, mildew and oxidized stains. And if your wedding gown is sealed, you cannot inspect it periodically (as recommended by textile conservationists.)

Boxed Wedding Dress Preservation

Boxed wedding dress preservation is very similar to sealing but has some critical differences.Like the sealing, your wedding dress will be cleaned and pressed, and then folded into a wedding gown preservation box. Acid free tissue is also used for buffering folds. However, unlike sealing, the preservation box is not sealed, and you are encouraged to inspect your wedding gown occasionally.

Your wedding gown fabric can breathe because the wedding dress preservation box is not sealed. You will be able to refold your wedding dress periodically protecting it from getting permanent creases.

Acid-free Box or Just Acid-free Coated?

The quality of wedding dress preservation boxes vary tremendously. Many preservation boxes are regular cardboard boxes with only an acid free outer layer. This outer layer will not hold up as well as real archival wedding dress preservation boxes made from acid-free, lignin-free materials. Many preservation boxes are acid-free but not lignin-free. Unfortunately lignin releases acid as it decomposes. Then the acid-free box is no longer be acid-free. Ideal boxed wedding dress preservation will be in an acid-free and lignin-free box utilizing acid and lignin free tissue or cotton muslin for filling folds and wrapping.

Brides who prefer boxed or sealed wedding dress preservation
often desire it because they have large wedding dresses and want their wedding gowns out of their closet. However, this boxed preservation usually is best for slimmer styled gowns that need less folding.

Bagged or Hanging Wedding Dress Preservation

Hanging wedding dress preservation is similar to how museums store their heirloom dresses and costumes. This wedding dress preservation method is an excellent choice, as it protects your wedding dress from light and dust. The wedding gown has few folds, so risks of permanent creasing are reduced. The cotton wedding dress preservation bag provides the best air circulation helping protecting it from mold and mildew (as long as it is stored away from moisture). Inspecting your bagged wedding gown periodically is easiest. It also requires no re-folding maintenance  as the boxed preservation method does.

Heavy wedding gowns, or strapless and spaghetti strapped gowns, should be reinforced with twill tape suspender straps for added support. This will also eliminate any damage that could occur from hanging a long time. If a wedding gown has sleeves, a padded hanger, or tissue packing in the shoulders helps the gown shoulder area from becoming stretched or distorted.

Choose your preferred wedding dress preservation. You have choices

For best results, choose hanging wedding dress preservation or unsealed boxed preservation

Remember, a clean wedding dress should never be stored in the dry-cleaner’s plastic wrap or in a plastic bridal gown bag. Most plastics will damage textiles. A cotton wedding dress preservation bag is acid-free and lignin free. And bagged wedding gowns should be kept in the main part of your home, in climate controlled conditions. Most indoor closets are perfect for this. Exterior closets should be avoided as moisture may seep in from outside (newer homes may have vapor barriers however.)

Wedding Dress Preservation Options

Sealing Benefits

  • May be acid-free and lignin-free (check)
  • Easy to store
  • Protected from light and dust

Boxing Benefits

  • May be acid-free and lignin-free (check)
  • Easy to store
  • Protected from light and dust
  • Can be inspected and admired
  • Can be refolded occasionally

Bagging Benefits

  • Acid-free, lignin-free environment
  • Easy to store
  • Protected from light and dust
  • Easily inspected and admired
  • Does not need refolding
  • No permanent creasing risks
  • Best air circulation
  • Minimal maintenance needed
Next: Part 7. Wedding Dress Cleaning and Preservation Summary > >