How to store your wedding dress

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how to store your wedding dress

For many brides, the search for the perfect dress is an exciting rite of passage. After all, there’s nothing quite like shopping for a gorgeous dress to wear on one of the happiest days of your life. 

But, what happens when you find ‘the one’ after months of searching, only for your wedding to be postponed? And what do you do next? Unfortunately, this has become a devastating reality for many brides affected by recent restrictions and lockdowns throughout the world. 

But, if you’ve already found ‘the one’, by following a few simple rules, we will show you how to store your wedding dress as you wait for your big day to arrive, even if it is a bit later than you originally planned. To ensure the perfect walk down the aisle, read on for our top tips for how to store your wedding dress. 

Always check the label

When storing clothes, there are a number of steps to keep in mind. While we’re all guilty of throwing our washing into the machine and hoping for the best, when it comes to wedding dresses, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully. As many bridal gowns feature delicate details such as beading, intricate lacing and corseting, they’re likely to have specific cleaning or care instructions to best maintain the fabric.

Before you do anything, it’s a good idea to contact your wedding dress designer or boutique for some advice on a recommended cleaning process for your dress. They’ll be able to let you know if your dress has any specific care instructions, along with sharing their expertise on how to best look after your specific style and material before the big day.

A clean dress is the key to preservation

Anyone who has survived to the end of a wedding will know that even the most cautious of brides can’t escape the odd spillage, bit of mud or something else. While this probably isn’t the case for brides-to-be whose dresses haven’t seen the outside of their four walls for a while, repeatedly touching or trying on your dress can cause oil and dirt to mark the fabric.

If you’ve tried your wedding dress on, and have managed to leave a mark, don’t panic! There are a few things you can do at home to get rid of the stain:

  • First, you’ll need to blot it using a clean white napkin or towel to remove any excess moisture. 
  • Try dusting a mix or cornstarch and talcum powder to lift away and absorb the stain, and then brush off gently using a soft bristle brush or the back of your finger. 
  • Step away from the Vanish and steer clear of stain removal pens as these tend to bleach the stain and can ruin your dress.
  • If you’re in any doubt, it’s best to head to a specialist dry cleaners as soon as possible, just be sure to make sure they have experience in cleaning wedding dresses and double-check the label when you’re in the shop. 
wedding dress in garment bag on sofa

How to store your wedding dress

As wedding gowns are delicate and often feature complicated boning or layers, constructed it’s important that you properly store your dress with enough space and in the right conditions to maintain the shape and avoid permanent fabric creasing and damage.

Choose the right materials

Your wedding dress is likely to be sold to you in a plastic hanging bag, but this should never be used for long-term storage. This is because plastic doesn’t allow the fabric of your dress to breathe, trapping any moisture or dirt in with your dress. It also emits chemicals that can cause your dress to become yellow or the fabric to break down. When storing your wedding dress in plastic for a longer period of time, these chemicals can seep into the fabric of your gown and may react with other cleaning products.

A high-quality wedding dress garment bag will need to be large and long enough to cover every inch of your dress and zips closed to avoid any dust or dirt from coming into contact with the fabric. Pay close attention to the material of the garment bag – you should choose something lightweight and breathable, such as muslin, and it will need to be acid-free to prevent yellowing.

wedding dress hanging on silk hanger

Hanging vs boxing: which is better?

If your wedding dress is made of a lightweight fabric such as silk, chiffon or tulle,  you can store it hanging up as long as you use a sturdy hanger made of a fabric that won’t pull at or scratch your dress, such as silk. You should always use the hanging straps inside the gown instead of the straps themselves, to avoid warping or stretch over time. These are attached to sturdier seams and will help to keep your gown in perfect condition.

How to store your wedding dress in a garment bag

  1. Hang your gown using hanging straps and put only the bodice of your dress inside the bag, pulling the hook through the opening for easy hanging, leaving the skirt and any trains outside. The gown should be facing you.
  2. Taking the bottom corners of your dress, fold them inwards towards the waistline.
  3. Gently roll up the train of the gown until it can fit inside the bag without bunching.
  4. Using your finger as a guide to protect any embellishments and details from snapping, carefully zip the bag closed.

On the other hand, if you have a heavier or more layered gown, you’ll need to store your wedding dress in a box as hanging will cause it to sag and lose its shape. You can buy specially designed wedding dress boxes which are made from PH neutral cardboard to avoid damaging the delicate fabric. You’ll need one that’s large enough to fit your dress in without crushing it – usually about ⅓ – ½ the size of your dress depending on its layers and size – along with some acid-free tissue paper for further padding.

How to store your wedding dress in a box

  1. First, line the box with acid-free paper to protect the fabric from the walls of the box.
  2. You’ll then need to do up any fastens, clips or buttons to maintain the shape of the dress
  3. Place your gown flat on top of the box, so that the middle of your dress is inside. Place some tissue paper on top.
  4. You’ll then want to fold the skirt into the box, placing a layer of tissue paper in between each fold. Repeat this step until the entire skirt is boxed.
  5. Next, use the tissue paper to stuff the bodice and sleeves and to protect any features such as corsets or ties.
  6. Finally, cover the gown in more layers of tissue, gently tucking it down around the sides and secure the lid.
how to store a wedding dress in a box

Where should you store your wedding dress?

Once your dress is protected in its packaging, you’ll want to store it in a cool, dark place as humidity and temperature changes can cause mildew to form while direct sunlight can lighten the fabric. Ideally, you need to minimise the amount of time your dress spends out of its protective bag or box but do take a peek every so often to prevent permanent creasing. If you’re planning on preserving your wedding dress at home, you’ll need to find a space for it where it won’t be knocked, crushed or touched. Storing your wedding dress in the back of a cupboard or closet or in your spare room is a good way to avoid any dirt or curious hands, and will help you to avoid the temptation of trying it on. Try and avoid storing a wedding dress in the loft, as the changes in temperature and humidity can cause damage to your wedding dress. 

On the other hand, if you have no space or are looking for a secure place for peace of mind, a self storage unit is the ideal place to ensure your gown will be protected and stay clean and is ideal for storing important items. Our storage units can also be used to store any wedding invitations, favours or decor until you say ‘I do’. Find your local store now to find out more. 

Ready steady store self storage interior

Top tips!

  • Always follow the care instructions of your dress
  • Make sure all packaging is acid-free to protect the material
  • Always store your wedding dress in a cool, dark place
  • Check in from time to time to prevent creases from setting in

But, it’s not just a wedding dress that many couples will need to store in anticipation for their big day, but also other items that they’ve likely spent months collecting and creating. From decor to wedding favours, place cards to table plans, all of these will need to be stored correctly to ensure they stay in the best possible condition. Any wedding stationery such as place cards and menus will need to be kept away from direct sunlight to avoid bleaching, while any signs will need to be wrapped securely and kept in a cool place to avoid warping. 

At Ready Steady Store, we offer flexible storage to assist you right up to your wedding day, whether that’s in a matter of months or a few years. Our units are available in a range of sizes, from lockers to a double garage, meaning you can easily store your items without worrying about damaging them and you only pay for the space you need. We understand that weddings are a huge cost, which is why our secure storage units offer complete peace of mind – all of our stores are monitored by round-the-clock CCTV while your unit is locked with your own padlock and key, Find your local store now or contact our team to find out more.