How to Clean and Preserve Your Wedding Dress

how to clean your wedding dress
Photo by Elizabeth Burgi

Chances are, you’ve spent a lot of time and money on your wedding dress. From the month(s)-long search for the perfect one to the investment of buying it, your wedding dress is not something you want to just hang up in your closet like any ol’ dress. If you plan on keeping your dress–either as a keepsake or to possibly pass down to your own daughter one day–you’ll want to get it properly cleaned and preserved.

After my wedding, my dress definitely had some wear and tear. Thankfully I stayed away from red wine (and anybody who was drinking it!), but I did manage to get a tear on the bottom of the dress from dancing (the fabric was a very delicate lace that apparently my heel was very attracted to).

SEE MORE: The Wedding Planning Checklist Every Bride Needs

Because I got married in Miami (and not in Nashville where I live), I left my dress at my parents’ house after the wedding, my mom was nice enough to handle the wedding dress cleaning for me (and keep it until we move into a place with a closet larger than a locker!). The wedding dress boutique I bought the dress from recommended a dry cleaner that specialized in cleaning/preservation, called LaSalle Cleaners in Coral Gables. Because my dress has a lot of intricate beading on the sleeves and bodice, they originally quoted us $700 for the wedding dress cleaning. Yikes. But, ever the negotiator (where do you think I got it from?), she got it down to $500. To clean/preserve it, they hand-washed it, fixed any tears/loose beading, treating any seen/unseen stains with what they call an “Anti-Sugar” stain treatment, and then pressed and packaged it with acid-free tissue paper in a special preservation box. LaSalle Cleaners is part of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, which is a group of certified wedding gown restoration/preservation experts in over 500 cities in the U.S. Click here to find one in your area. On average, you can expect to pay around $400-600 for wedding dress cleaning/preservation, depending on the detailing/fabric on your dress. You can definitely find it cheaper, but I wouldn’t trust any place that doesn’t have a guarantee, or a dry regular dry cleaner who might only do a handful of wedding dresses a year.

Another option, especially if you live in NYC, is Kleinfeld Gown Preservation, a new division of the Kleinfeld bridal store (yes, THAT Kleinfeld from Say Yes to the Dress). While they will definitely work with you if you live outside NYC and want to use their services, the shipping back/forth might get pricey. The cost for their preservation is $595-$795. I got a quote from them, using a picture of my wedding dress as an example, of $695. If I wanted them to clean/preserve the veil as well it would have been an extra $50. The Kleinfeld Gown Preservation includes:

  • Cleaning of the dress using only organic solvents (no harmful chemicals or bleaches)
  • 1 hour of any repair work needed (like broken bustle strings, missing buttons, etc.)
  • 25-year guarantee

Are you planning on keeping/storing your wedding dress after the big day?

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