You spent countless hours scouring brides’ magazines, searching bridal salons, and trying on more dresses than you can count. Your dress was almost as important as who was waiting for you at the end of that slow walk down the aisle.
Perhaps someday your daughter or granddaughter will also walk down an aisle wearing the same gown that meant so much to you.
Only if you have your special dress preserved the ---right way--with a true preservation.
At Kite's Wedding Gown Specialists, we utilize MuseumCareTM preservation techniques which clean and protect your gown to maintain its original elegance for years to come. These techniques meet the Smithsonian Museum's guidelines for the care and preservation of historic garments and include a lifetime, international guarantee through the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists.
Wedding gown spills such as soda, wine and cake (many times caused by a guest and unnoticed by the bride) contain sugar and often dry without leaving a visible mark. Sugar is not dissolved during ordinary dry cleaning and caramelizes over time into ugly brown stains. Salt, too, can remain behind after ordinary dry cleaning and literally eat the fabric of the gown. Ordinary boxes and tissue are heavy in acid, which also damages fabric. Ordinary boxes actually yellow and “burn” gowns. After a few years there will be dark brown streaks wherever the fabric was in contact with the box or tissue.
Gowns should be treated with the true preservation process as soon as possible after the wedding before stains can set and sugar begins to caramelize. Do not keep gowns in plastic bags - plastic emits fumes that can yellow the gown – and never store gowns in the attic or basement where there are extreme changes in temperature and/or humidity.
Properly storing your preserved gown is important. Store your gown in a cool, dry, and dark area. High humidity and/or heat make basements and attics an unsafe environment to store your gown. Every year or so, you should take your gown out of the box and inspect it for any areas that may begin to yellow. This also keeps the gown from retaining any permanent wrinkles from being folded for long periods. Be sure to carefully refold the gown back into the same box it was in.
If you want to keep your wedding gown in the family, choose your bridal gown preservation service carefully. As a general rule, avoid a service that promotes “vacuum-packaging” because the plastic in which the bridal gown is sealed can trap moisture and emit fumes that yellow the bridal gown. Desiccants have a very limited capacity to absorb such moisture and must then be replaced. Desiccants added to an unsealed box have little or no value.
Both sealed and unsealed plastic containers can trap moisture, and both -- even chemically inert plastics such as the one trademarked Coroplast -- also set up an electrostatic charge that can permanently set wrinkles in the wedding gown.
On the other hand, acid-free boxes of paper board "breathe" and allow for expansion and contraction of bridal gown fibers subjected to environmental changes in heat and humidity. Museum quality archival boxes are almost always made of completely acid-free paperboard.
One wedding gown cleaner uses pretty much the same chemicals and solvent as another, but very few bridal gown cleaners actually do their own work and clean wedding gowns on site. Some do not know that shoulder pads, bust pads, and underarm shields should be removed because they are made of materials that can bond to the fabric of your gown and destroy fibers. Others have no idea wedding gowns require special cleaning cycles and special packaging. Some offer no guarantee. You should ask lots of questions before you make a final decision.
Is the work done locally so you can personally inspect your bridal gown after it is cleaned?
What special precautions are taken to protect delicate trims and decorations on your bridal gown?
How does the bridal gown preservation service guard against latent stains on your bridal gown caused by alcohol and other sugar-based stains that do not dissolve during ordinary dry cleaning and if left untreated will eventually caramelize into dark brown spots?
Does the wedding gown preservation service provide an environmentally-safe, acid-free, museum quality archival container that will not discolor or damage the fabric of your bridal gown?
As the wedding gown is folded, are the folds in the wedding gown buffered with tissue?
Is the tissue and/or the bust form used to stuff the bridal gown acid-free? (Colored tissue is never acid-free and can also stain the bridal gown, especially if the box is soaked and the paper gets wet.)
Does the bridal gown preservation service seal the box itself or leave it open? Ask why or why not and whether the preservation or the guarantee -- there is a difference -- depends upon an unbroken seal.
Does the wedding gown preservation service guarantee the wedding dress will not be stained or discolored when the next bride in your family is ready to wear the wedding gown?
Today or twenty-five years from today, who will honor the guarante?
Be sure you are comfortable with the answers to all of your questions. After all, your wedding gown is the perfect wedding dress for you. You want to give your beautiful bridal gown the care that will keep it perfect, an heirloom legacy for the next bride in your family!