A Mini-Guide To Wedding Dress Preservation

Bridal Dress

If you’ve just gotten your wedding dress (or even just gotten engaged), you may have had a few people mention wedding dress preservation for when the wedding is over. There are lots of reasons why women choose to do this. Preserving the wedding dress means it will retain its beauty and stay in its best condition—whether it’s purely for sentimental reasons or perhaps for a future daughter.

But what is involved in wedding dress preservation? What is the process, how much does it cost, and what are the pros and cons? Here’s a guide to get you started.

First Of All, What Is It?

The process of preserving a wedding dress involves carefully cleaning it, and then using special packaging techniques to help the dress keep its color, shape, fabric in the best condition possible for decades to come. A professional will examine your dress’s material, embellishments, stains, and other details, and then assess which cleaning procedure should be used. This cleaning process will be the most important part of the preservation process, since the color of stains will deepen and get darker over time. Once your dress has been cleaned, it will be wrapped in acid-free preservation paper and placed in an archival box. This box will typically be filled with nitrogen, not oxygen, thus preventing oxidation which can be damaging to the dress.

How Soon Should You Send It?

When it comes to wedding dress preservation, the sooner the better so that stains won’t be able to set too deeply. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get rid of the stains and marks. Experts say you can wait until after your honeymoon, but it’s best to do it immediately when you return—or better yet, have a friend or family member drop it off for you the day after your wedding.

Beware Of Dry Cleaners

Some women think that they can just get their wedding dress dry cleaned, then let it hang in their closet or store it somewhere. Beware: this will not protect your dress. First of all, lots of dry cleaners claim that they can clean a wedding dress, but they’re not really professionals (even if they say they are). It’s best to just take it to an actual wedding dress preservation specialist. Over time, a dress that hasn’t been expertly cleaned and has been hanging in a closet will start to show stains from the wedding day.

How Much Will It Cost?

This will depend on the amount of stains, the detailing of the dress, the fabric, and if there are any embellishments. An elaborate gown with hundreds of tiny pearls sewn all over it is going to certainly cost more to preserve than a simple cotton sundress that was worn on the beach. Brides can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $800 for wedding dress preservation.

What Not To Do

After your wedding, when the dress has finally come off, there are some important things that you should remember not to do. One, don’t wrap your dress in plastic. This includes anything from a garbage bag to a plastic garment bag. Plastic can seal in the vapors and trap moisture, which can result in mildew. Gross. Two, don’t hang your dress on a hanger that will hurt the dress’s shape. Wire, plastic, and wooden hangers are harmful. Try a padded one instead. Three, never attempt to fix wedding dress stains yourself (unless you’re a wedding dress stain expert yourself). Many brides ruin their dresses by trying to do this themselves. They end up making the stains set deeper.

You Will Be Warned…Probably

Once you get your preserved wedding dress back in the airtight, nitrogen-filled box, the preservationist will most likely tell you that you cannot open the box, ever. This is true, unless you want to risk damage to it. For example, if you’re saving it for your daughter (or for another bride, or for your 50th anniversary), do not open the box until it’s ready for that occasion. Not even to see if it still fits after ten years! By opening the box, you’ll be un-doing the preservation process.


Good luck preserving your wedding dress, if you decide to do it! Many brides choose to, and are very happy with their choice.

At Olivia Restaurant, we are experts in the wedding planning industry—even when it’s post-wedding advice like this information on wedding dress preservation, we are highly experienced. If you’re currently planning your wedding and you’re looking for a fantastic Los Angeles wedding venue for your reception, please consider hosting at one of our venues. We offer a large hall for 350+ guests, or smaller venues for more intimate celebrations. Either way, we have you covered! Please check out our photo gallery, or contact us with any questions!