So, your partner proposed and now you’re elbows deep in wedding planning? Between the invitations, venue, cake tastings, seating arrangements, and the will-they-won’t-they between you and a veil, one major wedding task needs to be addressed– the wedding dress. Not which dress, or the choice between bright white and cream, but the important decision of what to do with the dress when you’re not wearing it. Sure you could hang it in front of your dresser or closet and just stare at it longingly, counting down the minutes, but that isn’t sustainable in the long term. What many brides and individuals often overlook when it comes to wedding planning is how to store the wedding dress in a way that doesn’t damage the dress and also doesn’t take up half of your closet space.
The thing to remember about wedding dresses is that due to their special nature, they tend to be made of especially delicate materials: charmeuse, tulle, crepe, satin, lace, chiffon, silk, taffeta, etc. Fabrics like tulle and organza tend to snag easily, silk satin wrinkles easily, and chiffon can easily snag, fray, and pull. Let’s not even mention that white isn’t exactly an easy color to maintain clean and crisp (especially for outdoor wedding lovers). Even if wedding dresses don’t get stained, snagged, or damaged on the day, damage can occur afterwards from improper storage, water stains, yellowing, and moths. Which is why we’ve compiled an easy guide to caring and storing your wedding dress on and after your big day.
Keep it Compact With a Long Garment Hanger
Avoid unnecessary snags, tears, and generally having your dress take up your entire closet space with the Cove Long Garment Hanger. This functional hanger keeps your dress crisp, compact, and protected all while folding it in a way that takes up a third of the space it normally would. Simply hang your dress as you normally would (the velvet soft hanger will be delicate on the dress’s fabric), then take our added component to fold the dress in on itself. Now your wedding dress can comfortably fit in your carry on, in the passenger seat of your car, or simply be carried into the bridal suite without worrying that it’ll be dragging on the floor behind you. For extra protection, purchase a garment bag to place the dress and its hanger into.
What To Do With Your Dress Day Of
Traveling with Your Gown
When traveling with your wedding dress, you should have three main goals: ensuring it stays clean, avoiding wrinkles, and avoiding snags/tears. To do this, you want to be sure that you have secured it safely. This could mean ensuring it is properly boxed, wrapped in its garment bag, or (in the case of destination weddings) ensuring it is in your hand luggage so as not to lose it. The amount of damage/wrinkles the dress could sustain depends heavily on the fabric and thus you should be conscious that each dress is unique in its care. In general, remember that the golden rule(s) is that the less it is handled/moved and the less it is crushed/squished, the better your dress will look when you get to the venue.
Note that busier dresses (i.e. those with many layers and embellishments) are better off being stored flat until you are ready to wear it. While light-weight dresses can be easily hung in a closet. When hanging a wedding dress, be sure to use the fabric loops inside and not to hang it by its sleeves so as to avoid damage. If you can, keep out of direct sunlight as much as possible when not wearing.
Wait Until The Last Moment to Put on Your Gown
This is an easy tip to remember to avoid damage, tears, rips, and stains/smudges. Your hair and makeup should be done before you put your dress on as perfumes, makeup, and hairsprays will stain. If the time should come where you need to touch up your makeup (such as, say, after you’ve had some cake smashed into your mouth) it’s a good idea to place a towel on your dress to avoid contact/stains.
Be Ready for Anything
Another easy tip to avoid any emergencies/mishaps that could occur with a wedding dress such as rips, tears, or fallen crystals. Be sure to have an emergency kit on hang with sewing tools and the like.
Keeping It Clean
Some things to remember to ensure your wedding dress lasts past the wedding day.
- Don’t Rub Stains: this may or may not seem obvious, but with the nature and sensitivity of wedding dress fabrics as well as the light palate, rubbing at makeup or oily food droppings will cause stains and be difficult to remove later. Instead, take some baby powder and dust away at the mark. If you find yourself with a wine stain– blot with a dry napkin.
- Be Ready to Mask Stains: as stated, it can be difficult to clean a mark properly while at the venue surrounded by friends and family (and dates of friends and family). Instead, be ready to cover stains with white powders such as baking powder, chalk, or baby powder.
- Hold Your Dress Up: for outdoor wedding lovers, or even just for anyone who has to walk from car to venue, remember to hold your skirt up when outside. This will help you avoid carrying a train of dust and dirt on the lining of the gown, which will then stain (perhaps beyond repair). Not to mention little stones can tear at the delicate fabrics.
What To Do With Your Dress After Your Big Day
Whether you want to keep your dress pristine because you want to have a great halloween costume the next year, you want to wear it on future rainy days, or (more realistically) you want to pass it down to your children, proper storage is key. We’ve outlined some tips for getting your dress ready for storage as well as a few storage tips.
Let it Dry
This may seem odd, but just remember that you’ve been sweating all day in your wedding dress, and it has been collecting dust as you received your congratulations from everyone. Therefore it’s important to allow the dress to air dry and air out a bit before stuffing it into a closet. It is also important to avoid plastic as a garment bag, as it may cause stains to form and set.
Get it Professionally Cleaned
Don’t let stains and dirt settle into the delicate fabric. It is vital to get your dress professionally dry cleaned to ensure the fabric has a chance of staying clean and fresh while it waits out in your closet. If you’re worried that you won’t have time between the honeymoon and the wedding, ask a friend if they could drop it off for you so that it is ready by the time you come back.
To avoid dirtying the dress before it is stored, skip right to the storage part. Remember that busier dresses (i.e. those with many layers and embellishments) are better off being stored flat until you are ready to wear it. The box should be one-third the length, and you should layer the box and dress with plenty of tissues to avoid deep creases. To be extra cautious, remove any metal (buttons, zippers, etc) that can oxidize over time and thus stain the dress.
Light-weight dresses on the other hand can be easily hung in a closet. Use a long-garment hanger to ensure your gorgeous dress isn’t taking up all your closet space, and is held neatly together. When hanging a wedding dress, be sure to use the fabric loops inside and not to hang it by its sleeves so as to avoid damage.
Every now and then take the dress out and inspect for damage, before putting it away again.
No Heat or Dampness
To ensure the dress doesn’t damage, yellow or mold over time, be sure to store it away from hot, damp or humid environments. In general, the wedding dress should be kept somewhere that doesn’t experience excessive fluctuations in temperature. If needed, invest in a dehumidifier. Also a general rule of thumb is to keep the dress out of direct sunlight so as to avoid yellowing.
Don’t Get Handsy
Although we do suggest checking the dress every now and then for damages, you should resist constantly touching the dress or showing it off. The more you handle it, the more likely it is to be damaged or stained.
Get Rid of Wrinkles
If for some reason you see that your dress has excessively wrinkled, or you decide you want to wear it one more time, and need to steam it easily, here’s an easy trick for you. Simply hang your dress somewhere high and allow the wrinkles to fall away. If that doesn’t quite do the trick, then try hanging it in the bathroom with the hot water running, creating a nice steam room for a little dress-selfcare. If neither of those work well enough, to the dry cleaner you should go.
Wedding planning can be stressful (scratch that, it IS stressful), but amongst the seating arrangements, invitations, menu planning, and worrying that someone else may decide today is the day they ALSO want to wear white, your wedding dress shouldn’t be something to lose sleep over. With some simple tips, keep it safe and clean for generations to come– or for when you want to have something to show off at a cocktail party.