How to Prepare Your Wedding Dress For Sale

Now that you’ve decided to sell your dress, there are a few more steps you should take. Improper storage, along with not having your wedding dress professionally cleaned of the many visible and invisible stains that occur on your wedding day, are the two biggest factors in future fabric yellowing, stains setting in – and even worse – eventual fabric decay.

Clean It

One of the biggest mistakes brides make with their wedding gowns is putting off having them cleaned. With most of our clothes, we may wait a week or even longer before we do a load of laundry, so it feels relatively normal to wait a while before having your dress cleaned. But it's important to remember that your wedding dress is not an everyday garment. It is made of very delicate materials, and the longer stains sit on your gown, the more they can damage the fabric. There may even be spots that you can't see yet, but they may become apparent over time if the dress oxidizes. 

If at all possible, it's best to have your dress cleaned the day after your wedding. 

Inspect It

Whether your dress has been preserved or not, you absolutely need to do a thorough inspection top to bottom!
Unfortunately, we have experienced many of our sellers discovering blemishes/stains/damage when they take out their preserved dress, that was not disclosed by the cleaners or even occurred during storage.

You can always include pictures of your dress in the box, and then remove it and put it on a hanger to take a couple of extra shots to show how it looks currently. Wash your hands and do not use hand lotion before handling the dress as body oils and lotions are what can stain and damage the dress.

The concern for your dress yellowing is important when stored long-term. Since you are looking to sell your dress we do strongly suggest removing it from your preservation for images before placing it back in the box while we wait for a buyer to reach out; the exposure to air will not cause the dress to yellow in the short term.
Thoroughly inspect your dress for any stains, yellow discoloration, tears, holes, runs, loose threads, missing beads or buttons. Review these areas in bright, natural lighting:
  • Straps, sleeves, under the arms
  • Neckline, bust and the front of the bodice
  • Zipper/lace-up and buttons on the back of the bodice
  • Skirt and train hem bottom of the dress
  • Lace applique
  • Bustle

If you find any issues, consult your tailor about repair costs and either have the repairs done or include the cost to repair in your description.

Store It

Ask your bridal boutique, or any local one, for a breathable fabric bag made out of cotton to store your wedding dress in for the short term (up to 6 months). Plastic storage bags can speed up fabric yellowing due to the colorless, odorless fumes they emit as they break down.  

Don’t have a cotton storage bag available? 

  • Machine wash a queen-sized cotton bedsheet
  • Machine dry without any fabric softener
  • Cut a hole in the exact center of the bedsheet
  • Place the hanger top through the hole.  This will be suitable for a breathable cotton storage option, 100% better for your wedding dress than plastic.

Store it somewhere cool, with low humidity and avoid sunlight - all of these things can cause and quicken the yellowing of your dress material, as well as other signs of damage.

Avoid storing your dress in a regular box - the chemicals in a traditional shipping box may leach into the delicate fabrics of your wedding dress. This can cause fabric scorching and ugly staining that will become more visible over the years if left untreated. Use a lignin-free, acid-free cardboard storage box, the one you receive when you preserve a gown.

Dress Hanging Tips to Reduce Damage

We don't recommend hanging your dress if you can help it, but if you must please follow these tips:

  1. Use a padded hanger: better than a non-padded hanger
  2. Avoid thin hangers: avoid these as they will place stress on the fabric
  3. Utilize the hanging straps: your dress most likely will have the sewn-in hanging staps in the underarms which will take the pressure off your dress material
  4. Hang the train: dress trains can be 3 pounds of fabric (or more) which can add additional stress to the fabric when hanging - consider using a second padded hanger to reduce the pull on the hanging straps

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