Follow these easy instructions to pack and store your wedding gown in an acid-free box, just like museums store their precious textiles and costumes.
An acid-free box is used to store textiles such as wedding gowns, quilts and coverlets. Purchase an acid-free box and acid-free tissue from an archival supply company. Purchase at least 20 sheets of acid-free tissue.
Line the box with tissue. Depending on the height of the wedding gown, you may have to fold it several times.Calculate how many times you will have to fold it so that in the end the front of the dress will be facing up.
For a dress without a train, begin by placing the hemline of the dress face down at the far end of the box. Lay the skirt face down until you reach the other end of the box. You will only need to fold it once, approximately at the waist. A long train will require multiple folds for it to come out correctly. Place one sheet of tissue between each layer so that any decorations, such as beading or sequins, do not come in contact with another area of the wedding gown.
Take one or two pieces of tissue and make a long tubelike shape to soften and pad the areas where the dress will be folded. Repeat this step as you lay the dress into the box, making sure that no part of the dress will be sharply folded in a crease. Sharp folds can create weakened fibres over time and can eventually result in a spot that will be more likely to rip or tear.
Once the bodice is laid on top, use acid-free tissue to pad out various areas of the wedding gown, including the chest, sleeves and collar. Be generous with the amount of tissue.
Place a layer of acid-free tissue over the top. Lay the veil on top of the tissue. Veils are fragile and should not be stored underneath the dress, to minimize stress on the tulle.
Close the box. You may want to label the outside of the bos with your name and any details about your wedding, including the date and location.
You may want to purchase additional acid-free boxes of various sizes to store your shoes, headpiece, floral arrangement and other mementoes. Polypropylene bags can also be purchased in a variety of sizes to safely store jewelry. These bags look like Ziploc bags but are made of inert materials that will not degrade over time.
The general rule of thumb for storing textiles is to keep them where you are comfortable. You should avoid extreme heat or cold , as well as exposure to moisture. A good place is under the bed in a guest room.
Keep the memory alive by regularly viewing your dress. There is no need to keep it packed away forever in a box. Even try it on once a year — maybe around your anniversary.
Compiled from source files from Ottawa Wedding Magazine.
This article originally appearing in the Fall/Winter 2013 print edition of Ottawa Wedding Magazine.