Wedding Dress Cleaning, Preservation & Restoration Blog

Wedding Dress Preservation Cost – What You Should Pay in 2021


Wedding Dress Preservation Cost – What You Should Pay in 2021

These days, a bride has plenty of options in deciding what she wants to do with her wedding dress after her amazing day is over.  Some brides opt to trash their wedding gown in a silly photo shoot (and yes, we can even un-trash your wedding dress), some opt to donate or have it repurposed into a special cause.  Other brides, however, choose to have it professionally cleaned and preserved so they can pass it down to the next generation as a reminder of their special day, a passed down family heirloom that can be one day worn again.

It's for this reason that your decision to preserve your wedding dress isn't to be taken lightly.  We’re sure it comes as no surprise that a wedding gown is comprised of the most delicate and sensitive fibers you’ll find an any textile. If a wedding gown was treated like any old jacket or cocktail dress and taken down to the local dry cleaner, the results could be disastrous.  You’ll want to choose a service that has the technology, experience, and continued training to remove yellowing and staining from all types of delicate fabrics to ensure your wedding gown will last a lifetime. Otherwise, what would be the point, right? 

The flipside to this is you also don’t want to overpay for a service that will send your dress away to be cleaned and preserved at a 3rd party or up-charge you for every little stain they find or accessory you want to add to be preserved.  Let’s take a look at the in’s-and-outs of wedding gown cleaning and preservation and what you should be paying in 2021 to preserve your wedding gown so you and your future generation can cherish it for a lifetime.

The Cost of Wedding Gown Cleaning Vs. Preservation

Why would a bride choose to have her wedding dress only cleaned rather than cleaned and preserved?  The most common reason we sell our wedding gown clean only kits is when a bride wants to wear a gown again.  Whether it is a dress passed down from a mother-in-law, aunt, or cousin, the bride wants her dress to look just as amazing as it did when it was first picked up from the boutique.  Another reason would be if a bride purchased her gown at a consignment store, or, from an online store that rents designer gowns, such as borrowingmagnolia.com

The cost of wedding gown clean-only vs. a full wedding gown preservation can differ greatly.  Beside not having an acid-free display bust and display box, a clean-only process eliminates much of the techniques and technology needed to provide the lifetime or, even better, the 100 year guarantee some companies offer.  The final process of a preservation involves a solvent that acts to protect your wedding gown as it ages, eliminate fabric yellowing over time, along with acting as a barrier to moisture to protect your dress. 

The cost of cleaning your wedding gown can range from $179 to $250 if going direct to a company that specializes in the process, all the way to $300 or more if you go to your local dry-cleaner that outsources the service to a national wedding gown cleaning company or your local wedding boutique, who does the same. 

The Cost of Preserving Your Wedding Dress in 2021

Just like the cost of cleaning your wedding gown can differ greatly, the cost of a full wedding gown preservation can differ just as drastically.  The reason for the difference you pay is always in the fine details and you should be sure to read reviews, examine what you get, compare pricing, and most importantly, read over the warranty information.

Unlike wedding gown clean-only services, a full preservation involves many more techniques, more skill and specialized equipment to master.  From state-of-the-art delicate fabric dry cleaning equipment, to keeping your staff trained on the highest level of fabric care, there is much that goes into the art of preserving a wedding gown. 

Quality wedding gown preservation services can charge anywhere from $200 all the way up to $400+ and can even exceed $1,000 if you purchase a preservation from a high-end boutique in New York City.  We don’t recommend paying that high of a price as the boutique will most likely outsource the preservation to a 3rd party and they are simply marking up the price as a cost of doing business in a pricey part of the country.  Bargain Basement wedding gown preservations can be found for as low as $99 by the big-box wedding stores that don’t specialize in preserving wedding gowns, however, great caution should be taken with these services unless the dress you’re preserving is also bargain basement and future yellowing isn’t a concern.

While we charge $249 for our Traditional Wedding Gown Preservation Kit, other online services can charge upwards of $425 if a couple accessories are included to be preserved.  All our packages, apart from clean-only, include up to 5 accessories at no additional cost.

What About the Cost of Different Wedding Gown Preservation Packages?

With every wedding dress being uniquely different from one another, why simply have one package to fit them all?  This is why we’ve developed our Traditional, Celebrity and Restoration preservation kits.  The Traditional Wedding Gown Preservation Kit is perfect for your everyday gown whereas the Celebrity Kit is designed for couture wedding dresses that need extra care, attention, and additional insurance.  We also offer our Restoration Kit for wedding gowns that were purchased or worn more than 20 years ago. We think it’s fair to give brides a choice rather than create a “one-size fits all” solution with services they may not need.

The big box stores that offer perservation as a "value-add" to buying their gowns, offer single packages for purchase on their websites while others charge upwards of $60 for each additional accessory you want preserved with your gown.  Be careful of companies that charge extra to address excessive staining or are not up front with their pricing.

Understanding What Warranties You’ll Get For the Cost of Preserving Your Dress

This is, perhaps, the most important aspect of choosing a company to preserve your wedding dress.  Without a solid warranty in place, there is absolutely no point in preserving your wedding gown.  When you make the decision to preserve, you don’t want to keep your gown from yellowing for just a few years, you want it to last many decades into the future, becoming a family heirloom that can be passed down through the generations.

Most companies offer a lifetime guarantee on the preservation of your gown.  What does this mean for you?  Seeing as the average woman in the USA has life expectancy of 78 years, if you get married when you’re 25, your lifetime guarantee may last only 53 years!

This is why we’ve created what we call our Lifetime Plus guarantee which warranties your wedding dress for 100 years from the time it is preserved with us.  In the same situation above, your gown would be warrantied until you were 125 years old!  What happens after your 100 year warranty expires?  Your next generation can simply have it re-preserved for an additional 100 years of enjoyment.

A final word on the warranty of preserved wedding gowns.  Our service is the only in the country that has been in business since 1913, weathering all the different shifts and difficult times.  Without a solid, successful business behind a warranty, a warranty is worth nothing. The Wedding Gown Preservation Company was founded in 1913 and began preserving wedding gowns in 1913.  For reference, a popular online wedding magazine was founded in 2014 and began offering preservation services in 2017.

  A Word of Caution: Be careful using companies without a proven history and track record of success. When Alfred Angelo suddenly closed it's doors, many brides were left to fend for themselves as stores locked their doors and let go of employees.

What Should Insurance Cost when Preserving a Wedding Dress?

Just as our services offers, all services we reviewed offer base insurance on your gown with the ability to add additional insurance.  Our Traditional Kit and Restoration Kit include $500 of insurance to protect your gown during shipping and preservation and our Celebrity Kit has $2,000 worth of insurance included.  More insurance can be added at a cost of $50 per $1,000 of additional insurance.

The big box wedding store offers $500 worth of insurance with the ability to upgrade it to $1,000 for an additional $50 dollars.  Other online preservation companies offer a standard $1,000 with the ability to add additional insurance at the rate of $500 worth of insurance for $15.  By offering our customers multiple packages and the ability to add additional insurance to each packages, we offer the most versatile wedding dress preservation insurance options of any preservation company.

What Preservation Companies Charge for Preserving Wedding Day Accessories

Why preserve additional items from your wedding day besides your wedding gown?  We believe a bride has many special items she cherishes on her wedding day that, when put all together, made you a beautiful princess on your momentous day.  These items can include gloves, veil, train, hat, jacket, shawl, handkerchief, cape, duster, garter, ring pillow, money bag, purse,  garter and more.  Knowing how special these items can be to a bride is why we offer 5 additional items preserved absolutely free in every kit but our Clean-only Kit.

One preservation company we reviewed offered only two accessories in their top-tier package and came in at $100 more than our top tier Celebrity Preservation Kit.  Even the big box wedding stores charge additional fees to add to your preservation package.

Bonus: 5 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Dress Preservation Company Before you Commit
#5 – What are the processes and treatments you use to clean my wedding dress?

Simply asking this question and waiting for an answer can tell you quite a bit about the company you’re interviewing. Any professional fabric cleaner should know exactly what processes, chemicals, and equipment are used to clean your wedding gown. If you get the run-around from the person behind the counter or the person at the other end of the phone, it’s time to take your dress elsewhere.

#4 – Is your process environmentally safe?

Getting your dress professionally cleaned doesn’t have to be bad for the environment in this day in age. The old way of cleaning fabric was to use a dangerous (and sometimes damaging) chemical called PERC. Nearly every environmentally responsible fabric cleaner in the industry has switched to SYSTEM K4 wet and dry cleaning technology which is both safe for your gown, and safe for the environment. Not only is it safe, but it is also light years ahead in getting stains out of fabric and keeping your dress pristine while in the preservation chest.

This revolutionary technology was once only used by high-end, museum preservation specialty companies, but is now being implemented across the country by dry cleaning companies that care about the environment, and the quality of their work. Our service was one of the pioneers in the United States in importing this technology and one of the first to fully integrate, and perfect, the SYSTEM K4 technology. Why? Because we care about the brides we serve and treat every wedding dress that comes to us as if it was our own.

#3 – Is your work guaranteed and if so, for how long?

If the service you’re looking at doesn’t come with a guarantee - then move on. A guarantee is the only way to know that a company stands behind the work they’re performing. Are they offering a lifetime guarantee? That sounds a bit vague and shady. Who knows how long one’s lifetime will be anyways? We offer a solid 100 year guarantee that states your gown will not be harmed by the #1 factor that destroys dresses and damages material over time – fabric yellowing.

#2 – Do you insure my gown while your service is performed?

We almost always get a funny answer back from newlyweds when we ask them why they chose their bridal boutique or local dry cleaner to have their gown preserved. That is “I wasn’t really that comfortable with sending my dress away to another company”. What gets them really upset is when we tell them that in 99% of the cases, their dress was sent away to another company in another state by the boutique owner. Did you really think your local business has a back room where they store hundreds of thousands of dollars of state-of-the-art delicate fabric cleaning equipment and spend tens of thousands each year to keep their employees trained on the latest fabric standards? The only difference between you having the ability to send in your gown through a professional service and the owner sending it away is that you can choose a company that includes shipping insurance to ensure the safety of your gown. Do you want your dress sent away without this important peace of mind guarantee? This leads us to our last question…

#1 – Do you perform your wedding dress preservation service in-house?

If you get a “Well…” or an “Um…” or a “Not Exactly…”, then the fact of the matter is that you’re paying too much. As we mentioned previously, 99% of companies that offer wedding dress cleaning or preservation services are sending your dress off to another company and marking your cost up (sometimes 300-400 percent) so they make can make a profit. While we realize that everyone needs to make a little money, doesn’t it make sense to send your gown direct to the company yourself and get the lowest price possible? As a factory-direct, elite dealer of the Wedding Gown Preservation Kit, we can guarantee you’re paying the lowest possible price for this premier service and getting the best customer support there is.

Wrapping It All Up

We understand that choosing a company to preserve your wedding dress can be a daunting experience.  After all, your dress is without a doubt the most precious keepsake from your wedding day.  It made you a princess as you took your first steps down the isle on your way to declare your commitment to the love of your life in front of all your guests.  Be sure to take your time, do your research, and choose a company that will give your dress the time and attention it deserves to make it a special memory that can be passed down to the next generation.