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After the wedding, you’ll have the thank you letters to write, storing the wedding presents, taking back the hire suits and all the upheaval of the change of names to cope with without even thinking about your wedding dress.

The wedding dress is the most important and usually one of the first purchases when planning a wedding. Aftrewards if you decide to keep and store the dress there are guidelines to ensure that you keep the dress in the best possible condition:

Never use ordinary plastic bags, PVC zip covers or cardboard boxes to store the dress. Chemicals within these packages will leach out over time and cause the fabric to discolour. This can be accelerated if there is little air movement. Storing the dress in a wooden chest has the same effect. The yellow discolouration which will appear over time is permanent and cannot be removed.

For long-term storage use an acid-reduced cardboard box and interleave the dress with acid-free tissue paper. The paper is sold widely in department stores – you must ensure that it is acid-free and colourless. Do not use an ordinary cardboard box. Place the box in a cool cupboard, away from damp, direct sunlight and heat. Inspect the gown every 18 months and re-fold the dress to help prevent permanent creasing.

Another option is to have the dress vacuum packed. The process involves the storing the gown into a polythene bag which has had all the air removed and relaced with nitrogen, like shrink-wrapping. Using this methiod of packing should preserve the dress for at least 25 years. You will not be able to move the dress – once the vacuum seal has been broken the preserving properties can be lost. The main disadvantage of this method is that leaving the dress in a fixed position can cause permanent creasing.

Folding the dress into an Acid-Reduced Cardboard box
1. You must have the dress professionally cleaned. Even if you can see no stains or marks there may be coulorless stains (such as alcohol, perfume and perspiration), these will just grow if left and will be harder to get out over time. Ask at your local dry cleaners for their advise. They may even be able to clean it for you.
2. Folding the dress: Detatch the hoop or underskirt if they are bulky or stiff and store separately.
3. Line the base and sides of the box with overlapping acid-free tissue paper.
4. Start from the hem and work upwards.
5. Fold in a contertina fashion, interleaving with layers of acid-free tissue paper.
6. Place rolled layers of tissue along each of the folds.
7. Insert tissue inside the bodice, sleeves, shoulders and inside any bows.
8. Finish with layers of tissue and cover with lid.