An Expert's Guide to Dry Cleaning a Wedding Dress
06 May 2015
It’s the most expensive item of clothing many are likely to own, so how to ensure the safe-keeping of your carefully chosen, much-loved wedding dress? We find the answers to your wedding dress cleaning questions with London’s Connoisseurs.
The dreams start young, the search is long, and the price’s high. But what happens to your wedding dress when its big moment is over? Whether it is for memory’s sake, or for a daughter or family member, many brides choose to keep their wedding dress stowed away for years to come. To find out the best way to clean and preserve a dress – to maintain its colour, fabric and shapes – we spoke to London-based specialist cleaners, Connoisseurs – a business that cares for and preserves wedding dresses from all over the UK using revolutionary eco-friendly cleaning methods.
We set to find out more about the final finish for the most expensive item of clothing a woman is ever likely to own.
What is gown preservation?
Wedding dress preservation is integral should you wish your dress to stand the test of time. With the full preservation service at Connoisseurs, a wedding dress is cleaned and delicately packaged in a beautiful, custom handmade preservation box. The boxes are sturdy enough to eliminate light, strong enough to protect from accidents, and are made from a breathable material lined with fine acid-free tissue. This offers the most protection, prevents any unnecessary deterioration (fading or yellowing) and makes for easier long-term storage.
Why should brides find a specialist, as opposed to a local dry-cleaner?
Wedding dress cleaning and preservation should only be undertaken by an experienced specialist. This is no standard dress, and standard dry-cleaning processes are simply not delicate enough, or efficient enough. If not treated correctly your dress could lose colour and shape, not to mention possible damage to the delicate fabrics, beads or sequins (if there are any).
What cleaning technique do you use at Connoisseurs?
Connoisseur Cleaners are one of the few pioneers in the industry to use GreenEarth® cleaning. GreenEarth® is the most significant development in dry-cleaning technology for decades, eliminating the use of traditional dry cleaning solvents. Instead it uses a non-toxic, odourless, silicone-based clear liquid which has many advantages over traditional dry cleaning processes. It is eco-friendly, very gentle, keeps whites bright and, of course, is better for the fabrics and our environment. Our specialist experience and delicate processes are also ideal for cleaning accessories such as gloves, veils and wedding shoes.
What questions would you advise brides in search of a reputable dry-cleaning service to ask?
First, are they insured to cover the value of the dress should the worst happen? Second, do they take and check before and after pictures to ensure colour, shape, beads/sequins (where applicable) are all as they should be? Do bear in mind, however, that even the specialists cannot guarantee complete stain removal on all occasions, or that beads and sequins will not come lose during the cleaning process.
How should a dress be packaged?
The method offered with the full preservation service is the correct way to package a dress – in a custom handmade preservation box, with each layer of your dress carefully lined with generous amounts of fine, acid-free tissue and a bodice to help maintain the shape of the dress. We carefully close the box, tie a beautiful bow and attach a plaque to commemorate your occasion. When you finally open your box and peal back the first layers of tissue, you will see your dress so beautifully presented you might want to get married again!
How much should brides expect to pay for the service?
Anywhere between £150 and £300, depending on the dress and the service. Any less than this and you should wonder if they are giving your dress the respect, care and attention it deserves.
What should brides do when they get their gown home post-wedding?
Unless the dress is (for whatever reason) wet or badly stained, just keep it safe and in its dress cover until you decide to contact a preservation specialist. If the dress is unfortunately wet or stained, the sooner that cleaning and treatment begins, the greater the chances of successful strain treatment.
For brides who can not afford it in the weeks post-wedding, but are planning on using a preservation service later down the line, do you have any care advice for the interim?
Keep it in a cool dry place, out of direct sunlight and out of harm’s way. No matter how tempted you are, DO NOT PUT IT IN THE WASHING MACHINE!
As a special offer for all Weddingsite readers, London Connoisseurs are offering you 10% off all bridal services - simply enter BRIDE10 to access your discount. For further information, or to book your wedding dress preservation with 10% off Click Here.