Today, I want to talk a little bit about one of your main wedding budget categories and likely one of the most expensive items of clothing you will ever own: your wedding dress. For some, finding “the one” is almost as emotional as getting engaged in the first place. And after your wedding day has come and gone, that beautiful gown will go back to hanging in your closet, and you’ll ask yourself, “Now what?”
Brides for decades have elected to preserve their wedding dresses, but I’m willing to bet that many new brides out there don’t quite know what goes into this process, how much it costs, and why you would want to do it in the first place. So, let’s break it down together.
What is wedding dress preservation?
Wedding dress preservation is a special method of both cleaning and packaging your wedding stress so that it retains its beauty and integrity for decades to come. Experts pay extra-careful detail to any foreign substance, from cake sugar to a grass stain, on your dress as they meticulously clean it for storage. Next, they wrap the gown in acid-free tissue paper and place it in an archival box that seals along every seam to prevent dust, dirt, or bugs like moths from reaching the dress.
How much does it cost?
Seeing as wedding dress preservation is far more extensive than a simple dry cleaning (which should be done regardless after your wedding day), it’s important to factor it into your overall wedding budget. Depending on the intricacy of your gown and the area in which you live, wedding gown preservation can cost as little as $250 and as much as $1,000. I know, it’s a pretty penny.
Should I preserve my wedding dress?
The short answer: It depends.
Many people who preserve their wedding dresses do so for sentimental reasons or because they hope to pass the gown on to a child, friend, or another family member at some point in the future. It’s also helpful if you have hopes of repurposing elements of your dress into things like a blanket for your first baby or a “something old” detail for a future bride in your life. But if these events seem far off into the future, it’s best to preserve the dress now.
On the other hand, if you plan to wear your dress again soon for a second wedding celebration (hello, COVID-19 and the age of the minimony), a thorough cleaning will suffice just fine. Or if you hope to convert it into a day dress for more casual wear, you don’t need to shell out the extra hundreds of dollars for the artfully sealed box. Lastly, if you plan to donate or resell your dress, you don’t need to pay for preservation — just a good cleaning.
Do you think you’ll be preserving your wedding dress? Why or why not? Share your story with me and your fellow brides in the comments below.
Happy Wedding Planning!
Sarah Keenan, Photographer
Westland Farms Studio, Knoxville
Nashville, Asheville, Tri-Cities + Chattanooga
Travel + Destination Wedding Photographer