When I got the call that my wedding dress had been delivered to the bridal shop this past May, I should have been ecstatic. However, after postponing my October 2020 wedding a full year due to the pandemic, this would-be exciting moment filled me with dread — what in the world was I going to do with my dress for over a year? My mind immediately went to when my best friend picked up her dress before her wedding and received a long list of strict instructions from the shop such as "avoid cooking until after the wedding" and "keep it in a cool place" — and that was to store it at home for just two days!
To ease my panicking, I spoke with Lindsey Love, a senior brand stylist at BHLDN, for her tips on safely storing a dress for over a year. If, like me, you had to postpone your wedding or your dress came in super early but your shop can't store it, keep reading for tips on how and where to store your gorgeous gown until your big day.
What Kind of Bag to Store Your Wedding Dress In
My first instinct for storage would have been to zip my dress into one of those vacuum bags so that not a lick of air could get to it, but plastic can leech gases over time, which can cause an odour, so it's a definite no-no for long-term storage. According to Lindsey, so is the garment bag it comes packed in from the store.
"Most garment bags that come with your purchased gown are synthetic and better suited for transporting your gown as it helps to repel dirt and moisture – so don't store your gown using that garment bag!" Lindsey told POPSUGAR. "Instead, cover the gown in a natural, breathable fabric like a cotton garment bag or clean white cotton sheet."
The only issue with a breathable fabric is that odours from cooking (especially if you live in a tiny apartment like I do, in which the kitchen is 10 feet away from the bedroom), could get trapped in the fabric. "Your gown, as all fabrics do, will trap scents. You can always take it to a dry cleaner a few months prior to your new wedding date as part of the alterations process." That way, you get steaming, cleaning, and altering from dry cleaning pros in one fell swoop.
How and Where to Store a Wedding Dress Long Term
Once you have your dress covered in a breathable cotton fabric, where should you put it? Lindsey recommends a dry, dark place, like under your bed. Even though your closet may be considered dark and dry, hanging your dress isn't advised. "Storing your gown lying down will help relieve pressure from the straps and keep it intact until the big day!" Additionally, if there are heavy embellishments on your gown, the pressure of those elements would be alleviated as well.
If, like me, you have pets that love hanging out under your bed (cats, amirite?), a high closet shelf could also be an option. It's still dark and dry as long as you have doors on your closet, but keep it far away from any sharp cat or dog nails and dirty paws. Even if your pet isn't "prone to scratching, pet hairs and most bridal fabrics (especially tulle) are not a good combination," Lindsey said.
If neither of those are options for you, Lindsey suggests contacting your local dry cleaner to see if they have storage options for you. "If a local dry cleaner offers storage options, that's a great option to pursue because it eliminates all the variables."
Will a Wedding Dress Turn Yellow If It's in Storage For Too Long?
One of the other worries I had about storing my dress for so long was that the pristine white fabric would turn yellow. It's something I'd heard could happen and always cited it as the reason brides preserve their dresses after their weddings. But actually, Lindsey did some myth-busting for me. "Yellowing or discoloration typically happens when fabrics come into contact with other chemicals (and even sweat). You should not see yellowing on your gown if it is stored away from moisture in general." Hooray for that!
Godspeed, fellow brides, and hang in there! You're going to look stunning, whenever your day comes.