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After spending months and months shopping for and trying on wedding gowns to find exactly the one to make you look like a princess on your wedding day, you were finally married and now you are left with this magnificent dress. Perhaps you want to save it for your own daughter to wear someday on her magical day. Maybe you just want to keep it for sentimental reasons. Regardless of why you want to store your wedding gown, you need to preserve it properly to ensure it does not fade or fabric does not age.

First, once your wedding is over, you should not wait too long before you do something with your dress. Instead of hanging it away in a closer where it will soon be forgotten, you need to have it cleaned within the first six months after the wedding. This will start the preservation process.

After having your gown cleaned by a professional, you need to have it stored in a box or container. Lay it flat or rolled up and place it carefully inside. Secure the lid and then store in a dark, dry place. You should not store your dress on a hanger since the fabric could become stressed, which cannot be fixed. Also, do not store your dress in anything plastic as this can release gases that cause the fabric to yellow.

If possible, check your local phonebook or on the Internet for a preservation expert. This is not the same as a dry cleaner in that these experts focus on special care for wedding gowns and formal wear. The problem is that many dry cleaners use some degree of bleach in the cleaning process, which is very damaging. If you cannot locate this type of expert, be sure the dry cleaner you use is reputable, licensed, insured, and has lots of experience in cleaning wedding gowns.

Specific questions you should ask that could save your wedding gown from being permanently damaged would include the following:

How many years have they been in business and how many wedding gowns do they clean every year?

What exactly does the warranty include and for how long? For instance man warranties for wedding gowns will only guarantee their work if the box in which the gown was sealed is left unsealed. Once the seal is broken, the warranty expires. The reason is that the box or container is filled with oxygen when the seal comes off, which over time, would damage the gown. Additionally, most warranties do not cover the dress if it has been unfolded.

If you are asked to sign a disclaimer stating that any damage to your gown due to cleaning is dismissed, then you should go to another dry cleaner.

Ask about the damage policy to ensure any damage will be covered. This is especially important if your gown has any sequins, beading, or intricate detailing that might require special care.

You also need to make sure the dry cleaner uses only acid-free products for their services.

Stay away from a dry cleaner that puts your gown in a box with what is called a viewing window. These windows are made of plastic so you can see through them and again, gases are emitted that can cause the gown to become yellowed.

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