It would be wonderful if we could choose exactly when and how we make our memories so they would all be delightful. Certainly every bride does her best to plan a perfect wedding that will turn into perfect memories, but for good or ill, there is always something that goes awry. At my daughter’s wedding, everyone received the gift of a giant orchid because the florist mistakenly ordered catalyas instead of cymbidiums. At my son’s wedding, the florist was incredibly late, and we all had to wait while the tables were dressed. Still, each wedding was lovely and unique.
In this year of the pandemic, even when plans go amiss, it’s especially important to appreciate the lovely and the unique, to find a way to enjoy the happy things, and to keep safe.
Have you postponed your wedding? Worried about keeping your gown safe until the new date?
If it’s not more than 18 months until the new date, discolouration should not be a problem if:
1. Your gown is stored in an opaque, breathable bag that keeps out light. Be sure to get rid of all plastic—whether it’s the very thin plastic used by dry cleaners or a bulky plastic bridal bag. If nothing else is available, wrap your gown in freshly washed muslin or an old sheet.
2. Your bag is NOT stored somewhere it is extremely hot or extremely damp.
3. Your bag is hanging in a non-smoking environment; the smell from heavy cigarette smoking will penetrate the bag.
Of course, your gown will need to be pressed after it has been in a bag for any length of time. That’s why many specialists and some bridal shops are offering postponement packages that include pressing—and even alterations–when you are ready to wear your gown.
What can you restore or discoloured family gown or veil?
If your mother’s gown (or even your grandmother’s gown) is yellowed and stained, there is a way to remove discolouration and old stains. Ordinary dry cleaning won’t help, but members of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists have a special process that will. Some fabrics are more difficult to treat than others, and it’s best to look at the gown together with your specialist. Your specialist can often give you some idea of what can be done by looking at a photograph.
Whether your vintage veil is a beautiful lace or a net decorated with lace appliques, it can be returned to the true colour and sewn onto a comb so that it goes perfectly with your new gown. The exception is silk illusion, but even if your veil is a crumbling silk illusion, the lace trimming can be removed and sewn onto new net that complements your gown.
And what could be more unique than wearing a lovely family heirloom for your wedding?
About Sally Conant: Sally Lorensen Conant, Ph.D., is executive director of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, an association of cleaners In five countries who focus on caring for specialty gowns. She also owns Orange Restoration Labs in Connecticut, consults with museums and historical societies, and is often featured in wedding books, magazines and websites. She received the International Drycleaners Congress’ Makoto Igarashi Award for Restoration in 2005 and is recognised by the Association of Bridal Consultants as a Master Wedding Vendor.