Preserving the Dress of a Lifetime

Ever considered what will happen to your wedding gown after the reception? Many memories and a substantial investment are tied up in your gown, so cleaning and preserving it is important even if you don't harbor hopes of a daughter wearing it herself someday. You spent so much time searching for the right dress, doesn't it make sense to ensure that it will be picture perfect in the years to come?

Wedding dresses require special attention. Normal dry cleaners may not be equipped to handle their delicate fabrics and decorations. Sugar-based stains from food or alcohol require more than regular dry cleaning fluids. Without special treatment, these types of stains will turn yellow, then brown as they bond with the fabric. Beading, lace, and sequins can be adversely affected by a normal dry cleaning process as well, especially if they are glued on and not sewn. Some cleaning solvents can strip the finish off beads while others may even dissolve them.

Jonathan Scheer of J. Scheer & Co. Fine Apparel Preservation advises all brides to ask these four questions before entrusting their wedding gown to a cleaner or preservationist:

  1. Do your pr-preservation test check for invisible sugar-based stains? Fabric strength? Heat sensitivity of the fabric and the beading, lace, etc.? How the beading and lace are applied?
  2. Do you use "truly" non-acidic materials to package the dress after cleaning? Are they guaranteed?
  3. Do you offer a warranty to guarantee the dress for at least 50 years? Will the warranty only be good in my lifetime?
  4. Does opening the box and handling the dress affect the warranty?


J. Scheer & Co. specializes in conservation cleaning and preservation of wedding gowns as well as other fine apparel. Company President, Jonathan Scheer, has a background in textile chemistry, bringing unique skills to an industry whose task he describes as "much more demanding than dry cleaning." He recommends that brides investigate their cleaners or preservationists by asking their professional affiliations as well as for a contact list of previous clients.

With a little research, you can ensure that your gown is as beautiful on your fiftieth wedding anniversary as it was the day you married. And who knows, someday your daughter may find that her dream dress does exist - and mom had the good taste to wear it first!