I remember one of the first things I did when I got engaged. My mum sent me upstairs to find her wedding dress and she wanted me to try it on. It was one of those special mother-daughter moments that I’ll always treasure, and I have a picture of me wearing the dress standing by the door in our living room (with part of my mum’s finger covering the lens of the camera – back in pre-digital days when you couldn’t see what you’d taken!!)
I can’t say I would have worn my mother’s 1970′s high necked and long sleeved dress, but if I’d have wanted to, I’d have been gutted as my mum hadn’t stored her dress properly and the years had taken it’s toll. Someone had told my mum to store her white wedding dress in a black plastic bag and over the years the dress had turned from a pure white colour to yellow. My mum was heartbroken when she realised just how much it had discoloured. Perhaps this is the reason that I am always telling brides to look after their dresses. Even if no-one ever wears it again, it’s lovely to look back at your dress and see it looking like it was when you wore it on your big day. And maybe one day you’ll be taking a picture of your newly engaged daughter, niece or granddaughter wearing it, even if it’s just playing dress up in the living room.
Giselle from The Empty Box Company has compiled this list of tips for storing your wedding dress. We have a selection of these boxes in our shop in various sizes and colours, and shown at the bottom of this page are examples of some of the beautiful designs you can choose from. Perfect for co-ordinating with your bedroom!! From funky to traditional and floral, you’ll be spoiled for choice!! And if you buy the box from us, we can organise dry cleaning and pack your dress away for you at no extra cost to you.
For destination brides, there are also travel sized boxes which fit onto airplanes as hand luggage so you can take your dress away with you and then use the box afterwards to store your dress.
THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF STORING A WEDDING DRESS
Wedding Dresses can pack away beautifully and remain as white and perfect as the day they were worn: but there are some simple essential rules for brides to follow:
1) Plastic dress covers are not suitable for long-term storage: They do not allow for changes in humidity, or protect from light and can leave particles behind after several years.
2) Normal cardboard or fabric boxes can contain acid that causes the material of the dress to“yellow” or discolour. Avoid flat pack storage boxes that offer limited protection, or ones that let in light.
3) Do not store the dress next to the wood of a wardrobe, drawer, suitcase lining, or other clothes, as these mediums will have an effect on the purer fabrics of the wedding dress if the it lies next to them.
4) Do not wrap a wedding dress in coloured tissue paper.Tissue paper to pack a wedding dress should be white and acid free.
5) Do not hang a dress long term on a clothes hanger (short term is fine), as it places stresses on the seams and shape of the dress.
6) Do not store your dress in the attic. All sorts of disasters here such as a leaking roof, damp, changes in humidity, and insects can affect a dress in the attic; even if it is well protected.
1) Do have your dress cleaned after the wedding, by a dry cleaner that specialises in wedding dresses. Marks can show later even if a dress does not appear stained now.
2) Follow simple sensible rules e.g. store away from light, heat, damp, etc
3) Store the dress in a warm dry spare room, that has no history of insects, instead of an attic.
4) Ensure the dress lies in a pH neutral material such as a wedding dress box and is packed withacid free tissue. (Acid free tissue paper will become acidic if kept in a non acid free box.)
5) A storage box should eliminate light, should be breathable (i.e. non plastic), protect from dirt, dust, and spillage, in addition to pH neutral i.e. contain no acid or alkali.
6) Do choose a really strong, sturdy box as it needs to last a lifetime. It might even need to protect from disaster such as fire or flood so a flimsy box might not be up to the mark!
7) Do choose a box that you love: it will be with you for a long time, holding one of the most special items of clothing you will ever own.
Once packed away, check on the dress every 6 – 12 monthsto ensure nothing untoward has happened, and repack e.g. once a year to help prevent creases becoming too permanent.
This guide is written by The Empty Box Company, who specialise in beautiful Wedding Dress Boxes that preserve the dress to last a lifetime. Their wedding dress boxes are handmade in the UK.