A Return To Former
It’s the gown that all eyes are on when you make your journey down the aisle, on your way to pledge your love and commitment to your partner. Abundant with precious memories made alongside family and friends, your wedding gown is unlike any other garment in your wardrobe – and requires utmost care to ensure it not only looks incredible on the wedding day itself, but maintains its aura in years to come – especially given you might wish to pass it on to a family member. Here, Bethany Hayes seeks the wisdom of Dynasty Drycleaners’ managing director Gavin Evans, on how you can ensure your wedding gown maintains its former, rightful glory in every sense of the word.
Image courtesy of Unsplash
Whether your wedding gown conjures up images of cascading tulle, an elegant, stretching train or something figure-hugging with a swooping low back, it will certainly need a little tender love and care following your wedding shenanigans. From joyous photos in the great outdoors, to surviving your first dance, and meandering in and out of wedding cars – there’s no doubt that your gown is going to look a little more worn and well-loved than when it first caught your attention. Restoring said gown back to its glory days, however, need not be complicated. For Gavin Evans, who has more than thirty-four years of experience in directing one of Perth’s most prominent drycleaners, the key to wedding dress success is choosing a reputable retailer with quality gown fabric.
Before The Big Day
The process of taking care of your wedding gown actually begins long before the wedding itself – as early as once you have picked it up from the designer or store. “Cover the gown only in a nonwoven polyester wedding bag, or a natural fabric such as cotton or linen,” Evans explains. “Don’t ever store [the gown] in plastic, as this encourages acidity build-up, which will result in oxidisation.” Placing your gown into a plastic garment bag can also cause a chemical reaction or yellowing, which is created from the interaction between the fabrics and chemicals in the bag itself. If your wedding is less than a year away, Evans’ advice is simple: leave the gown hanging up, which will prevent difficult-to-remove creases. If you have a silk, acetate, viscose or rayon gown, Evans recommends doing so within three months. “Longer periods might require a gown box with acid-free tissue – [however] that will mean your gown will need pressing prior to the day.”
On The Day Itself
They’re called your bridesmaids for a reason, and letting them assist with your gown on the wedding day can certainly pay off in the long run. To avoid
an unsightly dirty hem, Evans recommends having your bridesmaids “lift the train off the ground between photo shoots, and prior to the ceremony”, which will minimise its time potentially collecting dirt on the ground. “Keep away from any naked flames [as well]. A candle on your table can easily be knocked over by guests congratulating you,” he notes. At the end of the day though, your wedding is all about enjoyment – and Evans even affirms that most gowns he and his team work on “will have a degree of makeup and soiling around the train”. “In wet weather, some train bottoms are almost black in colour when we receive them,” he continues. “Occasionally we see torn tulle, tears around the bustle, or stiletto holes.” The one thing that does pose a challenge for his team of experts however, is spilt drinks which transfer into the gown. “In most cases these conditions aren’t an issue for us, yet our greatest challenge is when drinks spill on a concrete floor, and this soils the train,” he says. “Even in the absence of concrete flooring, metals picked up on shoes from a gravel and bitumen carpark, particularly on a wet day, transfer from guests to the reception floor. [This is where] alcohol will assist in transferring elements to the train fabric.”
The Restoration Process
After your wedding day celebration, even if your gown remains in relatively like-new condition, there is still likely to be a multitude of hidden stains that you may not even notice – and this is when the professionals step in. If you want your gown to remain as white as it was on the wedding day, it’s important to still get it professionally cleaned to avoid discolouration over time, or any holes. “Even an invisible stain containing a source of sugar or salt will look fine now, but oxidise over time, or quickly at higher temperatures,” the expert explains, also flagging the danger of leaving your gown in the car on a hot day. “The area will turn yellow over time, then a rusty colour, and then holes will appear.”
When a bride brings her gown in for dry cleaning, Evans mentions that there are many things the experts behind the desk would be assessing, including the age of the gown. “We have a lengthy checklist, which starts with the bride’s details,” he affirms. “[From there we] identify soiling that is potentially problematic, examine damage or potential damage through servicing, advise on the likely results of the gown, explain the packaging options (a gown bag for selling the gown, a box with acid-free tissue or preservation with a lifetime warrantee), as well as asking for any special requests.”
The good news is though, more likely than not, your gown will absolutely be likely to resemble its new self at the end of its time at a professional drycleaner – and it pays to leave it to the professionals! Evans advises brides against any home remedies, even with accidental spills on their wedding day, to avoid doing more harm than good to the dress itself. “Unfortunately, if a stain has the wrong treatment applied, out of sequence, there’s risk of permanent damage,” he agrees. Dabbing tap – not soda – water on the stain is your best bet, before your gown can make it into the safe hands of the professionals.
Having brought countless gowns back to their former glory, when asked, one particularly astounding restoration that comes to Evans’ mind is from two years ago. The fifty-five year-old gown with oxidisation soiling was brought into the store, and was able to be fully recovered and preserved, despite it being decades old, a testament to what can be done when the right team is onto it. Ultimately, your wedding day is all about being around those you love – and especially that one person you the love most! Take with you the assurance that the professionals can restore your gown back to its former self, and truly “have the best day ever!”