As you can imagine, thinking about what to do with the wedding dress after the big day is often at the last thing on a bride’s mind when planning her wedding. A 2018 survey by Easy Weddings indicated 67% of brides intend to store their wedding dress after the wedding, but many don’t give a thought to cleaning their wedding dress until after the wedding.
Cleaning the wedding dress is one of those things you put to the back of your mind. When the day is over, you move onto the next thing which is usually the honeymoon. The advice that you’ll get time and time again is to get your dress cleaned as soon after the wedding as possible.
That’s the advice we give as well. The sooner you clean your dress, the less time the stains have to set into the fabric. And if you do it straight after the wedding, you’re less likely to forget about it and leave it dirty for years.
In saying that, if you don’t get your dress done asap after the wedding, it’s not the end of the world. MyDressbox Wedding Dress Cleaning Specialists owner, Jasmin Igglesden, says “we have cleaned dresses that have been dirty for years – as much as seven years after the wedding in fact, and they have come out brand new.”
Of course, the results achieved depend on the stains. Jasmin explains that the wedding dress cleaned seven years after the wedding was not extremely dirty. It had dirt stains on the hem from being dragged around the room, fake tan on the inside of the gown, and some grass stains from walking outside.
She says the grass stains were the hardest to remove but at the end of it, it came out amazingly and the bride couldn’t believe it. Moral of the story: it still is worth getting your dress cleaned even if it has been a while after your wedding.
Finding a wedding dress cleaning specialist can seem like a daunting task, but follow these simple guidelines to ensure you get a great result:
1. Start with a business that specialises in bridal gown cleaning
That way you know they only do bridal gowns and let’s be honest, if they only do bridal gowns and they’re not good at what they do, they wouldn’t stay in business long.
2. Look at their reviews, both from brides and bridal stores
Jasmin says in Australia, more so than in New Zealand, brides rely on recommendations from the boutique where they bought their wedding dress. Check that the ratings are positive, and ensure that they have recent good ratings to protect against a change of ownership in the business or a recent downturn in quality. People are pretty honest and they let you know if you’ve done a bad job by generally reviewing them badly, so it’s good to go with someone who has no negative reviews.
3. Affordability; this is a major as the bride has likely just spent a small fortune on their wedding.
Quotes for cleaning wedding dresses can vary a lot based on how big, complex, and dirty the gown is. When meeting with Bridal shops in Victoria, MyDressbox we’re quoted from $400-$1,000+, which required the bride to drop off and collect the wedding dress herself.
If you spent $5,000 to 10,000+ on your wedding dress you might think the cost reasonable, but according to Jasmin, cleaning a particularly big and dirty dress only takes two to three hours longer than a simple, relatively clean one, so the cost need not jump that much.
MyDressbox’s philosophy – wedding dress cleaning shouldn’t cost a bomb. And we stand by this. You’ve spent so much on your wedding dress and the wedding itself that forking out $500-$600 to clean your dress is very hard to swallow.
Sure, Dry cleaners have equipment that they have to buy and then maintain so I guess that’s where the cost comes in. Because we’re specialised and nationwide, we don’t have as many overheads which brings down the price so you’re not breaking the bank. Jasmin says “I think if I wasn’t in my line of work and started researching to get my wedding dress cleaned, I would have just not got it done if I was going to have to pay $500. I would have just left it. We don’t want brides thinking that that’s the answer, we want all brides to know that there’s an affordable option out there that you get all the bells and whistles without the price tag.“
4. Check how the dress will be returned to you
Many wedding dress cleaners offer custom garment bags or storage boxes. We recommend storage boxes as they protect the gown better in storage, and eliminate the risk of the dress being hung somewhere, which can lead to stretching and the dress becoming misshapen over time. All MyDressbox wedding dress cleaning services include storage boxes with a lovely lace trim lined with acid-free tissue paper.
5. Discuss any specific stains or damage to the dress before you commit
Jasmin says most stains can be removed: “We have seen and done it all. Some dresses have come to us black from the knee down, and that’s what can happen if it rains – even if it doesn’t. It’s amazing how dirty a dress can get when you’re only in it for one day. But during the day, that dress does go through a lot. After the day no doubt your dress hem will be brownish/blackish. This is just surface dirt usually and comes off very easily. If you go on an adventure into a forest or gardens, you’ll end up with a bit more dirt than usual. You may have grass stains and generally a lot of twigs. These all come out and we go through and make sure there are no twigs or leaves left in your dress. Most dresses we get back have fake tan and makeup. This can all be removed easily. There’s not much we can’t remove. Tar and mould are the only two things that we can’t remove. In saying that, these two stains do look a lot better after a clean from by us.” But no one can guarantee perfection; be wary of a business who does, especially if they don’t offer a guarantee – make sure you discuss your concerns and have realistic expectations.
Before you choose a wedding dress cleaning specialist, have a good look at your dress and find stains that could be troublesome if there are any. If you find tar or mould (if it has been wet) then talk with them to see if they can remove it. It’s good to let them know that way they can target those areas.
6. Don’t forget about repairs!
Damage to the wedding dress is more common than you might think. Have a look if there any repairs need doing. If so, seek a cleaner that does minor repairs (double-check though, as this can cost extra) as that’s another thing that you won’t have to worry about – especially if you’re selling it afterwards. Or allow for an additional expense for a seamstress to fix the damage after the clean. If you are selling your dress afterwards, we would recommend Only Dream Dresses, it’s a great, easy and reputable platform to sell your dress.
Now you can go and find a wedding dress cleaning specialist with confidence. If you have questions about cleaning your gown or concerns not covered here, you can contact MyDressbox directly anytime.
Jasmin is a bridal dressmaker, bridal shop owner with over 15 years’ experience making, altering and selling wedding gowns. She started cleaning wedding gowns in 2006 and has hand cleaned literally hundreds of gowns from dozens of brands. She started MyDressbox in New Zealand in 2016 and launched in Australia in Melbourne in 2016. When she’s not cleaning dresses she’s cleaning up after her three boys Lachlan, Jacob and Luke!