page_weddings_rightIt’s about that time of the year. Spring has sprung. Love is in the air. And, for many, so are wedding bells.

We can’t help you when it comes to planning your Big Day. But if it’s tips on preserving your wedding dress you’re looking for…well, you’ve come to the right place. Whether it’s a traditional gown that’s been passed down for generations or a new contemporary designer dress you’re looking to protect from the ravages of time, it should always be treated with the utmost care. Here’s how.

First off, be sure to save the bag your dress came in to protect it en route to the dry cleaner. As soon as you can after your wedding, bring the protected dress to the dry cleaner you’ve selected, or have a friend or family member drop it off while you enjoy your honeymoon (the better option, if you can trust them).

Remember that not all dry cleaners specialize in this intensive, hands-on kind of work – although at Sudsies, we do. You might want to ask married friends or your bridal shop or seamstress for recommendations. Just be wary of any so-called “bargains” – cleaning and preserving a pricey and elaborate wedding dress requires time, expertise and equipment.

Once at your dry cleaner, alert them to any stains – a drop of champagne, a smudge of lipstick or wedding cake – as well as any glued-on ornaments and any loose stitches. The more your cleaner knows about your dress, the more detailed and personal care they can provide.

Your cleaner should provide a special acid-free box to store your dress in, and pack it in acid-free tissue paper. This specialized packaging method helps control humidity, purging oxygen and replacing it with an inert gas that makes further oxidation virtually impossible. This treatment also helps protect your gown from mold, mildew and insect damage. Just be sure to take a few moments to inspect your dress prior to boxing it up. Sometimes, even the pros miss a detail here or there.

Once back home from your honeymoon, store the dress in a temperate, dry place. Always keep it away from direct sunlight. You can also hang the dress by the bodice by sewing straps that are a bit shorter than the bodice onto the waist, placing it on a padded hanger and wrapping it in a clean white cotton sheet.

Once a year – perhaps on your anniversary – carefully inspect the dress to check for any discolored areas or stains. This is also an opportunity to allow your dress – and you – to “breathe” a little bit.

Remember, if you take as much care in preserving your dress as you did in selecting and preparing it, it can be cherished and worn as a family treasure for generations to come.