Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Post-Wedding Dress Cleaning

After the wedding, I started to get concerned about what to do with my dress.  More specifically, would I keep it or sell it?  I'm a very sentimental person, so I always thought I would keep it.  But for practical reasons I wasn't sure if that would be the best option, especially considering I could probably make a decent amount of money if I sell the dress.  But regardless of what I decided to do, the dress needed a serious cleaning.  I specifically remembered dropping poutine somewhere on the skirt and the bottom was pretty dirty since we had trekked around outside in the rain to take photos.

I know Mrs. Funnel Cake has an excellent tutorial on how to clean your wedding dress yourself, however being the non-DIY person that I am, I didn't want to take on such a massive project and potentially ruin my dress.  At first, I was just going to bring my dress to the dry cleaners but after doing some research, I wanted to make sure I put my beautiful dress in the hands of someone who was an expert specifically in wedding dress cleaning (as I've heard and read horror stories about bringing it to a regular dry cleaner).

My Pronovias Benicarlo--the second love of my life / Photo by Sarelle Photos
So after a quick search on Google, I came across Orange Restoration Labs, a company that specializes in wedding dress cleaning.  And better yet, it was just about 20 minutes south of where I live in Connecticut.  So I set up an appointment and brought my dress to Sally, the owner of the company.

She was wonderful when we met, thoroughly explaining to me the "green" process (which included using carbon-neutral products) in which they use to clean all types of wedding gowns and specifically what they would do for my dress.  Once the dress is cleaned, they use acid-free tissue paper to carefully package the dress in a high quality box and a guarantee that the dress will never yellow if handled properly.  When it was time for an estimate, I thought it was going to cost a fortune, but it was actually very reasonably priced for the amount of work and the quality guarantee for the dress.  I didn't have a specific due date that I needed the dress by, so I let her know it was totally fine to take their time with it. 

When I went to go pick up my dress about a month and a half later, I was stunned by the results.  It looked like it had the day I picked it up from Pronovias!

All photos personal.
The dress looked brand new
I wish I had taken a "before" picture of the bottom of the dress--it was now spotless!
She then took out the box that the dress would be stored in.

And then began to carefully pack the dress into the box--I opted for the larger one that was about 3 feet tall since my dress is huge.

After the dress was in the box, she made a few last adjustments. 

My favorite part of the box is the see-through window--I can open the top flap and look at the dress whenever I'm feeling nostalgic!

I absolutely adore my dress and I'm happy I decided to spend the money to get this cleaned--it deserved to be cared for in a professional way.  For those of you interested in getting your gown cleaned in this way, Sally belongs to the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists which includes hundreds of cleaners who utilize this method of cleaning and storing the gowns.  They are not just located all across the U.S. but there are also international members as well (like Canada and now even Australia).

And another great feature is the guarantee seal that they include on the backside of the box.  Not only is the dress 100% guaranteed to never yellow (if stored and handled properly), but if I ever move to a different state or country, I can go to any other local cleaner within the association who will press the gown for free.

The Association of Wedding Gown Specialists logo on the top flap of the box

Would you consider getting your dress cleaned by a professional or will you DIY?


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