Is it safe to display your wedding gown?
I've had several brides ask me about the safety and wisdom of displaying their wedding gown in a frame...
From a bride’s perspective, I certainly understand the appeal of being able to look at and appreciate my most favorite garment EVER where I could see it and show it off. My wedding was in 1992, and my gown cost $750; which is still alot of money now; certainly not something I just want to stuff in a box after wearing it just once! So, I understand the question.
However, as a textile specialist, there are several cautions I want to share. In order to be safely stored, any fabric needs to be protected from several things. One of most important elements is light. Any fabric that has light on it day after day will rot and eventually fall apart. (Remember Grandma's living room drapes?) Even specially-treated glass cannot protect against all light. Gowns also really need to be stored flat. The methods shown above, although the folded gown is much better off than the hanging gown, will result in stretched and distorted shapes. The gown will never be able to be worn by another bride.
In a conventional gown preservation, your gown is stored carefully folded and protected from light, dust, bugs, and any stress on the delicate fabric. Plus, you can get your dress out if you so desire and inspect the entire thing. Every week I get to inspect wedding gowns that have been stored for 20, 30, over 50 years. Some were stored in a cedar chest, many hanging in a closet, and many were lucky enough to have been cleaned and preserved professionally. The latter are always in the best shape and we have the most options for the bride who wants to wear it now or for the family who wants to display it at Grandpa & Grandma's 50th Anniversary Party!
So what do I tell brides when they ask about framing their gown? I strongly encourage them to have their gown cleaned and stored properly in a preservation chest by a professional who will guarantee that gown against excessive yellowing and other damage that comes from improper storage. Then splurge on a gorgeous photo of your gown (ask about our Rock the Frock package) , or perhaps a sketch from the designer and frame that in a special place in your home. Know your gown is resting safely for the next time you sneak a peek or pull it out to show your little (or not-so-little) ones!