You’ve found THE dress that you will walk down the aisle in, and take thousands of pictures in! Once the honeymoon is over, what do you do with your wedding dress now?!
After your big day you may find yourself tucking away that wedding dress you cherished so much into the back of your closet. Before retiring it for good on a hanger, possibly never to be seen again, planners and dressmakers strongly encourage you to preserve your gown in some way in case later down the road you decide to sell it or wish for your daughter, niece, or great-granddaughter to wear it on their special day. The biggest reason for preserving a wedding gown is to prevent discoloration. If you don’t do any kind of preserving, the dress will eventually yellow or become damaged.
There are a couple of options for preserving a dress:
1. Have your dress professionally cleaned, most dry cleaning services offer the option to have the dress preserved in an airtight box. If you purchased your wedding dress from David’s Bridal they offer a gown preservation service. If you break the seal on the box after it’s been stored, you will need to have it professionally resealed or find another storage method. This method is perfect because the dress can easily be stored since it is box-shaped.
2. Hang the dress inside a muslin garment bag or purchase some unbleached muslin from the fabric store to make your own sack and tie it tightly at the top. This will help prevent discoloration, and moths don’t eat through this textile for some reason. This alternative method is relatively easy/cheap to do, and you can take the dress in and out of the bag to show people, play dress up and wear the dress around the house, etc. However, you would probably need to leave the dress hanging so it would take up more space in your closet.
3. Museums that showcase textiles use a box with white acid free tissue paper to preserve clothing, linens, etc. Line the box and lid with a few sheets of tissue, and also roll up some soft balls of tissue to support any shaped parts of the dress. You can also buy ph neutral boxes from conservation equipment suppliers. Avoid any stickers, solvents, glues or inks in or on the box – just use pencil if you want to label the contents and tie it closed with some cotton tape or ribbon if needed. You will want to avoid storing your wedding dress in sealed plastic covers, as these can get condensation inside, which can lead to mold. A breathable cardboard box is better.
4. Get your Wedding Gown framed. With the suggestions listed above, preserving your wedding gown means it’s most likely going to be sitting in a box in your closet for the next few decades never to be seen until you pull it out and see if your daughter wants to wear it on her own wedding day. Why not put it on display in your closet? Every time you see it, it will be a lovely reminder of one of the most happiest days of your life (while still keeping it in tip-top shape in case your daughter actually does want to wear it).
While saving it for your future daughter or granddaughter to wear at her wedding is one option, maybe you desire to revamp your dress into something new or donate it to a great cause? Why not try out one of these creative ways to recycle your wedding dress? The possibilities are endless…
Create a Christening Gown for your first baby – Re-make your wedding dress into a special baptism gown for your first child. Or simply let your daughter play dress-up in it — the pictures will be priceless.
Dye your wedding dress and give it a makeover by creating it into a new cocktail dress. If you have a friend or family member who is a wonderful seamstress (or you can hire one), this is a fun option!
Did you get married during the winter season, or close to the Christmas holiday? Have you dress repurposed into a one-of-a-kind tree skirt.
Turn your wedding gown into a beautiful, handmade quilt, throw pillows, tablecloth, or cloth napkins. After the quilt or other linen of your choice is made, it can be a personal heirloom passed down for generations!
Donate your wedding gown to a good cause. The Angel Gown program turns donated wedding dresses into free beautiful burial gowns for infants who pass away during their hospital stay. All of the burial gowns are handmade by volunteer seamstresses and the program accepts gown from across the nation. I first came across this incredible program from a friend who shared it on Facebook, all I could think was, why on earth didn’t I know about this sooner to donate my own dress?! Another great option is Adorned in Grace, they accept used wedding gowns for re-sale in its shop in Portland, Oregon. The shop, which was born out of one sex trafficking survivor’s experience with a donated wedding gown, donates all proceeds to raise awareness and prevention of human trafficking and support victims.
Create wall decor by finding a use for a leftover pieces of lace from alternations made to your dress.
Having your wedding dress turned into jewelry may be one of the best ideas I have come across, with the exception of course being donating your dress to a great cause! There are a few places I have found online that can make beautiful statement pieces for you to wear for any occasion.
TELL US: WHAT WAYS DID YOU CLEAN AND PRESERVE YOUR WEDDING DRESS? DID YOU SHORTEN IT AND WEAR IT AGAIN? DID YOU JUST GO TO THE LOCAL DRY CLEANER? DID YOU SPOT CLEAN IT À LA DOWNTON ABBEY?