Before we talk about this controversy we first need to address the wedding dress preservation and cleaning of your dress.
Make sure that you choose a company that will do the job right for you. First that doesn’t mean your local dry-cleaner. They’ll throw your wedding dress in with the rest of their laundry (shirts, slacks, dress of all colors etc.. They may or may not steam it out properly and may or may not place your dress in the proper wedding dress preservation box.
You want a wedding dress preservation company that will take special care of your dress. A company that knows how much it means to you. They should carefully hand inspect it when it arrives. The hem of the dress should be HAND cleaned. It is usually the dirtiest part of your dress and is best cleaned by hand. This way the dress can be properly cleaned to specifically remove the dirt, the asphalt oils, and the grass stains individually as needed.
You’ll also want a company that HAND cleans the top of the bodice of the dress. This area usually has make-up, spray-tan, body oils and perspiration on it. Each of these can best be addressed and cleaned by hand.
Make sure the company does a thorough inspection for other stains. Stains from wine and food are usually easy to detect, but club soda, white wine, and even cake frosting can be hard to see with the naked eye. A black light is best used to detect these stains. Once detected they can determine what to use to remove the stain.
If you can find a company that will do minor repairs for free, that’s a real added bonus. Sometimes there are loose buttons, loose beads, or small tears from some unfortunate mishap. If you can make a note of what repair is needed and it’s location, the wedding dress preservation company can find it and repair it for you for free.
After this process your dress should be steamed and pressed and placed on an acid free bust form, with the skirt and train carefully folded, layered with acid free tissue paper and placed in it’s preservation box.
HERE’S WHERE THE CONTROVERSY STARTS!
Is the box left un-sealed and sent back to you, or is it completely sealed and sent to you?
Those companies who do not seal their wedding dress preservation boxes will tell you that the fabric has to breathe and that you should take your dress out and re-fold it every few years. It sounds like you should want healthy fabric and the re-folding will help keep the wrinkles from setting in too much. They also tell you that it allows you to open the box and inspect the dress. All this sound logical and good except…….
Let’s address each of this issues – controversies. First your bridal dress fabric, no matter what it’s made from, does not have lungs! That may sound obvious, but the fabric definitely DOES NOT need to breathe. In fact let examine that for a moment. Have you ever looked at the air floating around, you know on a sunny day with the sunbeam coming through the window. What do you see? All of the dust, pollen etc. floating in the air. What do you think happens to the fabric if that air goes through it? The fabric stops all of the dust, pollen and dirt and the fabric become dirty. Don’t think just because your preservation box is shut it will keep the air out, it doesn’t and that’s what these companies are counting on and trying to tell you is a benefit, when it’s not.
What about re-folding the dress. First, what most of these companies don’t tell you is if you remove the dress from the box you will void their warranty. The bodice form is attached to the box, to hold the dress in place. If it wasn’t attached the dress would end up in a wrinkled mess at the bottom end of the box. The dresses are carefully folded so as to fit properly in the box. If you try and re-fold the dress differently, it will make a mess and won’t fit properly back in the box. In fact, you may not be able to shut the box again.
A fold that has been in fabric for 5 years is no more harmful to the fabric than one that’s been in it for 40 years. If you re-folded it over and over in the same place you could harm the fabric, the same as creasing a piece of paper over and over. But leaving the fabric folded once does no harm at all.
Choose a wedding dress preservation company that will give you and your precious wedding dress all of the care and proper treatment you and it deserves.
P.S. One more thing. The special equipment it takes to seal your wedding dress preservation box properly costs about $70,000. It makes you wonder if some of these companies try and tell you that there are benefits to not sealing their box, just to save the money on the right equipment?