How Long Does Wedding Dress Preservation Last?
We get asked this question quite often and the answer varies greatly as many companies have different lengths of anti-yellowing guarantees. The biggest variation lies in whether you attempted to clean your wedding gown yourself or if you decided to have your wedding gown professionally cleaned and preserved. Professional wedding dress preservation companies offer anywhere from a lifetime guarantee to a 100-year guarantee, which will outlast the typical lifetime guarantee. To better answer this question for you, let’s take a look at what wedding dress preservation is and what to expect years or even decades after you have your wedding gown cleaned and preserved.
What is Wedding Gown Preservation Anyways?
Wedding gown preservation is the specialized process that uses state-of-the-art equipment to deep clean your wedding gown to remove visible and invisible stains from your wedding day, along with carefully packaging your dress in a way that ensures contaminates won’t cause your gown to yellow or stain in the future. It may sound simple, but the specialized techniques require a high level of training and the investment in the delicate fabric cleaning technology needed for this intricate process can be a very costly endeavor for a dry cleaner. It is for this reason that very few dry cleaners attempt to clean and preserve wedding gowns, but instead, opt to send your dress away to a facility specializing in this delicate process.
See Also: What Wedding Dress Preservation Costs
Did You Know? Some services, like ours, have invested in SYSTEMK4 Fabric Cleaning Technology that goes a step further in protecting your wedding gown against moisture and airborne contaminates as it is in storage, and will even act as a protectant if the gown is one day worn again.
What Will Happen to My Dress if I Don’t Have it Cleaned and Preserved?
Think about your wedding day. There was make-up, hair spray, deodorant, dirt from the dance floor, beverages, food and cake… the list goes on. All the events from your amazing day wreak havoc on the delicate materials and fibers that make up your wedding dress in the form of visible and invisible staining. You might not think much about that tiny lipstick stain from your wedding day that you dabbed away with a wet napkin, but that little spot will become an unsightly brown patch on your wedding gown just a few years down the road if left untreated.
In addition to staining, the fibers of your wedding gown will also yellow over time if nothing is done with your dress after your wedding day. It’s part of the natural breaking down of the fibers and is an inevitability unless your gown is professionally treated. We also often see damage in older gowns that is caused from a wedding gown hanging in a closet for many years in the form of fabric stretch, along with permanent cleating caused by an improperly folded and stored wedding gown.
What Does a Typical Wedding Gown Preservation Guarantee Protect Against?
While it varies from company to company, you’ll generally find a guarantee protects against the following:
- Anti-Yellowing Guarantee – This part of the guarantee protects your gown from overall fabric yellowing. Regardless of whether you chose a traditional bright white wedding gown, or a fun color for an informal beach wedding, this part of the guarantee ensures your gown remains as vibrant over the years as it did when you first set eyes on it at the boutique. If you notice any future yellowing on your dress within the guarantee period, a preservation company will allow you to send it in for free to be re-treated.
- Anti-Staining Guarantee – The second part of a typical guarantee protects against any invisible staining that may not have come out during the initial cleaning. If you notice a discolored area on your preserved gown, the preservation company will allow you to send it back in for additional treatment free of charge.
A Lifetime Guarantee vs. a 100-Year Guarantee
One important, and often misunderstood, aspect of a guarantee is the length in time a company will allow retreatment. While a “Lifetime” guarantee may sound better and is often overused in marketing, a “100-year” guarantee will last much longer. Think about it. The average age a woman gets married in the US is at the age of 27 and the average lifetime of a female in the US is 78. This is the equivalent of just a 51 year guarantee. With our exclusive 100-year Guarantee, your dress will be guaranteed not to stain or yellow until you’d be at least 127 years old, much longer than your typical lifetime guarantee! Be sure to read all the fine print when reviewing the guarantees offered by wedding dress cleaning and preservation companies before you commit.
What Would Cause Your Dress Preservation to Not Last As Long As Promised?
There are many reasons why a dress preservation may not last as long as promised but most of those reasons are within your control.
Completely Removing Your Dress From the Preservation Chest
The biggest reason your wedding gown preservation wouldn’t last as long as promised is if the gown is taken completely out of the preservation chest and handled without gloves. Oils on your hands, dirt on the floor, and other contaminates have an opportunity to harm your dress when removed from the preservation chest. This is why we provide you with white gloves and carefully package your gown in a method that allows you to inspect your hem without removing it completely from the preservation chest.
Pro Tip: Be sure to ask the preservation company if you’re allowed to inspect your gown after it arrives back to your home. If they give you a hard “No” they may be hiding something that could become a disaster for your dress in the future.
Remember that time you rearranged some furniture in your home and you noticed a strange light spot under one of the pieces of furniture? That light spot on your wood floor or carpet is many times due to being exposed to direct UV-light which is extremely damaging to organic materials. With the majority of the delicate materials in your wedding dress being organic as well, it comes as no surprise that UV-light will damage your wedding dress as well. You’re provided a wedding dress storage box (in addition to the display chest) that keeps your gown perfectly pristine. We still, however, recommend storing your preservation box in a dark place like under the bed or in a master bedroom closet.
Attics are another terrible place to store your wedding dress. Extreme temperature swings can put the delicate fabrics found in wedding dresses through a lot of stress. According to this article on HGTV.com, an unvented attic can reach temperatures upwards of 150°F, way too hot for delicate fabric storage. The general rule, as we’ve stated many times, is that if you’re comfortable in a room, your wedding dress will be comfortable in storage there as well.
High Relative Humidity
Another reason you could void your warranty is if you store your wedding gown in an area where the air is high in relative humidity. A musty basement or garage are two locations you should never store your preserved wedding gown. The high humidity found in these two areas of your home will create a “greenhouse” effect in the preservation box, a situation that could end in mold or mildew formation.
Act of God
The final reason your wedding dress preservation wouldn’t last as long as promised is an “Act of God” scenario like a flood or fire. If you experience a devastating situation that is out of your control, we offer a Wedding Gown Restoration Service that many brides have utilized to bring their damaged wedding gowns back to life.
A Guarantee is Only as Good as The Company Standing Behind it
The wedding industry as a whole has seen quite a bit of volatility over the years. With Alfred Angelo shuttering all 60 of its stores and 20M in claims made by brides still outstanding, to David’s Bridal filing bankruptcy in 2018, and the COVID-19 crisis of 2020, you want to be sure to chose a company that is able to whether the storms that come and go and have a strong history to back up their guarantee. Our service has seen it all, from world wars to stock market collapse, and has remained strong and family owned for well over 100 years. Not only is our service the oldest in the industry, we’ve also pioneered the techniques, formulations, and technology that has made it the most trusted name in the industry with over 3,000,000 wedding dress preservations completed for happy brides.
What Happens If I Notice My Gown has Started to Yellow?
If you notice your wedding gown has started to yellow after it has been preserved, the company that performed the preservation should honor their guarantee by paying for 2-way shipping back to the cleaning and preservation facility and performing a full re-cleaning and preservation of your gown – no questions asked. We can proudly say that in all the years we’ve been an Elite Dealer of the Wedding Gown Preservation Kit, we’ve yet to have a gown sent back to be re-cleaned and preserved.
If one day, after going beyond the 100-year guarantee, your loved ones find your gown has begun to yellow, a Wedding Gown Restoration Kit can be ordered to guarantee your gown for another 100 years as a family heirloom. Simple as that!
Final Quick Tips to Make Sure Your Wedding Dress Preservation Lasts
To wrap things up, we’ll give you some final recommendations on how you can make sure you get the most from your wedding gown preservation to ensure your dress remains vibrant and beautiful for years of enjoyment by you and your loved ones.
- We mentioned it already, but it deserves being said again - be sure to store your preserved wedding dress in a place in your home that is clean and comfortable.Moisture and direct sunlight is not a friend to delicate fabrics.
- Perform a once-a-year inspection of your preserved wedding dress.A simple visual inspection through the display window is more than adequate to make sure your wedding gown is looking great.We suggest doing this on your anniversary day each year for a nice look back on your beautiful wedding dress that was a big part of what made your day so special.
- Check the storage box and wedding gown preservation display box every now and then for any damage.Mice and other little critters can wreak havoc on all sorts of materials and it’s best to make sure they haven’t been sniffing around your wedding gown.