Brides, let’s be honest. With countless thank you notes to write, unpacking of registry items, and photo selections to be made, your wedding dress may be the last thing on your mind. It may be hanging in your small apartment or taking up space at your parents’ house, but don’t forget about preserving your dress! Especially if you partied til’ dawn, it’s important to clean & preserve your dress as soon as possible after the wedding because stains can cause damage to fabrics over time! Remember you’re going to look back at those photographs for the rest of your life. That’s why the choice and selection of the perfect gown was so important.
So the big question now is what to do with it. You may hope that a younger sister or perhaps even a daughter will someday wear your gown or you may want to hold onto it for sentimental reasons. In some cases, selling the dress to be a part of another bride’s dream day makes the most sense. Whatever your decision, your wedding gown is a treasured keepsake that, if properly cleaned and preserved, can last for years to come. Ideally, you should have your gown cleaned and preserved within a few weeks of your wedding.
You’ve spent a lot of time and money on your wedding dress. From the month(s)-long search for the best one to the investment of buying it, your wedding dress is not something you favour to just dangle up in your closet like any old dress. If you plan on keeping your dress either as a keepsake or to perhaps omit it down to your very own daughter one day, you’ll prefer to have a wedding gown preservation and get it properly cleaned and preserved.
The question we are asked the most is: How much does it cost to clean and preserve a wedding gown? The short answer is: It depends. But we will try to dissect the market to help you make sense of the price points.
There are generally two ways to have your wedding gown cleaned and preserved: by mail or outsourced to a wholesale gown cleaning factory, or individually cleaned and preserved by a specialist. Each method differs and has varying pricing.
Many brides select to re-sell their used wedding robes after the Big Day. But making certain your dress is easy and ready to go to a new bride is necessary for the selling process. When choosing how to clean your wedding gown, dry cleaning is the safest and most low-cost way to put together your dress to be sold.
If you are thinking about how much a wedding dress dry-cleaning costs, then you must read it below. Dry-cleaning gives your dress the deep clean it needs after your Big Day, so it continues to appear brilliant and will no longer let that soda and cake stains visible. Check the fashionable estimated price of wedding dress dry cleaning service, as well as a few guidelines to assist you to keep away from paying way too much.
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The Real Cost Of Cleaning Your Wedding Dress
All too often, we see horror stories of damaged wedding dresses, and gowns that have not been cleaned satisfactorily.
One of the biggest factors for brides choosing a wedding gown cleaner is the price. Cleaning a wedding dress by hand is a time-consuming process, so if you’re taking the cheapest quote, you’ll often get what you pay for. I’d be worried about taking any quote below $350, and for most specialist cleaners you’re probably looking at considerably more depending on the dress size and the materials involved.
The factory option.
The price range for this service is between $95-$150. Typically, you order a box that you will place your gown into and then send to the gown factory. I like to compare this option to any big box operation; it’s a Wal-mart style process: a big facility with a lot of automation and very little individual attention to detail and service. Your gown’s safety will not be guaranteed nor will you receive a preservation guarantee against yellowing and brown spots.
Having your gown hand-cleaned by a specialist on-site, while more expensive, has many advantages over your gown being sent to a factory. True gown preservationists use museum quality materials and processes to ensure a flawless final product. Many have special rooms with light, dust and humidity controls where the gowns are preserved buy technicians clad in lab coats and gloves. Shores process includes a consultation and hand-cleaning by a certified gown specialist, giving the dress owner the opportunity to have the cleaned dress “revealed” before we proceed with the preservation. Once we have approval, we perform an anti-sugar treatment to ensure all stains that could cause yellowing and brown spots in the future have been removed. Then your gown is wrapped in freshly laundered muslin, surrounded with acid-free tissue paper, and placed in an acid-free and pH neutral container. Specialists will guarantee your gown’s safety and provide you with a preservation guarantee against yellowing and brown spots. Pricing for this type of service can range anywhere between $300-$600, with an average cost for cleaning and preservation falling near $450 depending on your gown. Pricing can also vary slightly depending on the market you are in.
There are certain factors that cause the price of cleaning and preservation to go up. Fabric content: Natural fibres such as silk require a different level of expertise and time when it comes to stain removal and cleaning. Trim and construction: intricate trim and cuttings need to be protected and sometimes removed and replaced to ensure against damage which increases the labour involved in cleaning a gown. Damage in need of repair will incur alteration charges. Significant staining could incur restoration charges. In general, a silk couture gown will be on the higher side of average, and a synthetic gown from a retailer would be on the lower side of average to clean and preserve.
There are also ways to reduce the cost of cleaning and preservation. The Association of Wedding Gown Specialists offers a $35 off coupon good at any affiliate location. Some cleaners offer packages that can be purchased that include gown services prior to the wedding and the preservation afterwards at a discount. For instance, if Shores performs alterations or pre-wedding cleaning, we traditionally discount the preservation charge for our customer. Another interesting trend is to request gift certificates for gown preservation as a shower/wedding gift. But I have seen that by far the most effective way to get your wedding dress preserved at a discount and sometimes even for free is to leave it at your parent’s house after the wedding. Sooner or later, they get the hint.
How long does dry cleaning take?
Dry cleaning a wedding gown should take somewhere from a few days to a month depending on how many layers are on your gown and how busy the dry cleaning shop is. If you’re fortunate enough and the shop isn’t busy, a fantastic dry cleaning for a wedding gown must take two to three days. Making certain that you take your gown to a well-known wedding gown cleaning and preservation company is the most necessary phase of the cleaning process. Taking your robe to your nearby dry cleaning company runs the danger of having the company itself shipping off your gown to a wholesale dry-cleaning company.
Check our Top Wedding Dress Shops In Melbourne for your list of some of the most exclusive dress shops.
Doing a little research is thoroughly recommended to ensure you obtain not only a good price, but that your dress doesn’t come back damaged or otherwise ruined. Yelp is a great resource, as is word-of-mouth and any other review sites you can find.
Cost of choosing professional wedding dress preservation.
Proper preservation can protect your dress from yellowing, permanent creasing, mildew and mould, oxidation spots, light and dust.
Since wedding gowns can be quite expensive, Kelsey McLellan from Prestige Preservation explains that most women choose to have them professionally preserved in order to protect that investment. Even if their daughters don’t plan on re-wearing the gown (of if they don’t have any daughters of their own), certain pieces can be incorporated into memorabilia to be passed down to future generations.
Preservationists will usually remove stains, make necessary repairs (within reason), press or steam the dress, wrap in acid-free tissue and store it. Generally, there are three types of preservation methods:
- Sealing: Some companies choose to actually vacuum seal the wedding dress before storing it in an acid-free box. Many museum conservators discourage this method, since sealing promotes mould and mildew, gives the fabric permanent creases and eliminates your ability to inspect your gown regularly.
- Boxing: With this method, your dress is still folded and placed in an acid-free box, but acid-free tissue is used to protect it from permanent creases (this tissue should be white any coloured paper risks bleeding into the dress). Since the box is not sealed, the fabric can still breathe, and you are able to remove the dress periodically to inspect and refold it. Note: It’s best to use boxes made from the actual acid-free board, not boxes with an acid-free coating.
- Bagging: Similar to what museums have used for preserving heirloom costumes, this option leaves your dress hanging and unfolded. The gown is reinforced with twill tape to add support and eliminate long-term damage from hanging and then placed in a specialty cotton bag to be hung somewhere safe (with a padded hanger).
The cost of professional preservation can average anywhere from $150 to $500 — so if you do choose to work with a wedding dress preservation company, know the facts. Be sure to ask who is responsible for any damages if they occur during the preservation process and if they offer a warranty (some may only reimburse you for the cost of their services).
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE TAG?
What you get for the price will depend almost entirely on the company you are using. Almost all preservation services also include the cost of cleaning your wedding gown and packaging it in an acid-free cardboard preservation chest with a viewing window. If you are sending in your wedding dress, you’ll want to find out if they offer insurance at a price or if you have to pay extra for insurance. Insurance coverage provides financial protection should anything happen to your wedding gown between the time you send it in through the time you receive it back. In the very rare instance, your gown is lost or damaged; you are covered depending on the amount of insurance you purchased or is included. Although many people feel nervous about sending off their gown in the mail, it is actually very safe. Most companies send you a prepaid shipping label for UPS or FedEx, and everything is tracked. Since wedding dresses are so personal to each individual, no one really wants to steal a wedding dress. It’s a very convenient option if you go that route.
As far as other costs, the base price may or may not include any accessories, such as your veil, garter or handkerchief, so you’ll want to check on that as well. If you decide to send in your wedding dress, you’ll want to find out if shipping is included or extra. You’ll also want to find out what their guarantee policy is as far as if the gown yellows over time, or if you are dissatisfied with the cleaning. You really don’t need a lifetime guarantee – the 100-year guarantee is more than adequate coverage.
Does price equal quality?
Don’t be fooled by the price. Price does not always equal quality. There are some very affordable companies that are very reputable and have been in business for over 100 years that do beautiful work. It is a good idea to do research on a company’s reputation. Check reviews by other brides on reputable sites with real customer reviews.
If you are planning to use a local company or cleaners, it is a good idea to ask whether wedding dress cleaning takes place on-premises or if they send their items off to a third party. Oftentimes, a small cleaner will send wedding dresses out to companies who are better equipped to deal with the entire process and delicate fabrics, but this can make communication about where your dress is and how long it will take to complete a bit difficult. Going directly to the source, or a company that specializes in wedding dress cleaning, often gives you better results at a much better price point.
Check out our post on How do you get wrinkles out of a wedding dress?
How much will extras cost?
This all depends on what you are looking to add to your package and the company. If you want other items preserved and cleaned, such as your shoes, there will likely be an additional expense. Some companies offer up to 5 accessories free of charge (veil, garter, handkerchief, small purse, gloves, ring pillow, shawl), but charge around $25 for cleaning fabric-covered shoes or a detached petticoat. Other companies add additional items on an ‘a la carte’ basis and charge anywhere from $20 – $50 for each accessory. For the companies that charge extra, adding in a veil can raise the cost, but for many brides, it is worth the additional investment to have the entire ensemble preserved for prosperity.
Some brides find that they want their wedding gown preserved in a way that makes it into a work of art for their home. In this case, many are starting to opt to use a shadowbox. In this process, the gown is cleaned and preserved, then packed into a shadowbox that can be hung onto the wall. This type of preservation can get very expensive, but the entire process turns your dress into a piece of art for your home. You will likely need to have your gown cleaned and preserved first and then find a shadow box company as most companies who offer wedding dress cleaning and preservation do not offer shadowboxes.
Another popular option some companies offer is a touch of personalization. You can add a picture of you in your wedding dress your names and wedding date to your wedding dress preservation chest. That way, you can immediately remember what you looked like in your dress without getting out your entire wedding album. The cost for full personalization is usually between $30 to $60 depending on if you just want your wedding date included, or if you want your names, wedding date and a photo.
Whether you are planning a $50,000 shindig or a $5,000 bash, you in your beautiful wedding dress are the star of the show, and preserving it for years to come is certainly worth shelling out a little extra green.
Your wedding dress is undoubtedly one of the most important pieces of clothing you’ll ever buy and given how much the average gown costs, it’s no wonder that you want to preserve it. But, wedding dress preservation means more than just hanging it in your wardrobe to keep it away from children and pets. To preserve a wedding dress properly, there are some steps you should take.