Wedding Plans in 2015

It helps to visualize your desired wedding. Women have long planned their ideal wedding day, but with the strong influence of celebrity marriages the modern fashion for weddings has spread far and wide, and is no longer limited to the vastly rich. The choices you now have are amazing, and many old traditions are being ditched or refined for more modern day ones. So where do you start?

Well, there have been plenty of movies to watch for inspiration or ideas; The Knot, Love actually, My Best Friends Wedding, even TV hits like “Friends” had its share of weddings. These are great, but these weddings are about particular characters and personalities. They are fine to poach ideas that you can build on and refine, but ultimately…

Start it with YOU! That’s right, think ‘huge ego’, ‘no limits’ and start at the top! Pretend for a moment you have a bottomless pocket and go ahead and draw up your ideal wedding because you are about you!

So design it all on your pad, look and learn from the best weddings that inspire you- from the wedding dress to the ceremony and on to the reception(s). Yeah that’s right, you can have more than one and it does not even have to be one day either as some weddings go on all week. It’s a one-off special day for you and there will be no others to match it.

So now you have a rough ideal wedding planned right? Well, maybe your budget is a consideration, so time to start making your dream wedding work for your realistic wedding. Keep in mind your dream wedding though as it may be possible for to overlay some of it onto your realistic one. Hopefully, you have months until the big day so maybe think about starting with the easier stuff first; things you can go and find right now and work into your budget. In a wedding there are things you must have, things that should be there (but not essential) and things that you can easily afford to lose, especially if it does not work for you.

The wedding dress and the venue are the first to arrange. Put yourself in an imaginary white room and visualise your dream dress appearing on you. Next imagine the white of the room turning into your venue. So which one looks better, cheaper, and functional in your mind? A Church or a registry office… ?

WEDDING THEMES

Themed weddings are a current trend in 2014, and from what I am seeing as a photographer there are also popular colour and food themes. If a favourite colour is important to you then this could be start of your theme. Since the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William, a new traditional style benchmark was set and also since the movie “The Great Gatsby” there has been a definite move towards the 1920’s look.

Now themes do come with a price tag, but will certainly stand out for years to come. For theme inspirations take a look online and see what catches your eye.

THE DRESS & THE SHOES

wedding shoes
The choices out there are more varied than ever before, and ultimately you your dress and shoes are going to be the centre of attraction and remembered. Your photographer bases the wedding images around you. Everyone else who brings their cameras are going to be pointing them at you as well. Therefore, one thing to keep in mind: place your dress and shoes at the top of the budget list.

So what’s current right now? Functional dresses that can be used again and again? Or something that sparkles glamour and taste?

“Less is More” 1855 poem “Andrea del Sarto

Wedding dresses in colours other than shades of white are certainly something different – creative and bold. They can be used again and again. Blush colours, like pink or peach are making a comeback. A stylish, pale, shimmering pink is certainly something to consider but in my opinion you cannot beat white. The classic white dress still sits at the top and has done for hundreds of years.

Wedding portraiture

Depending on where you have your ceremony, there are some considerations to keep in mind. A church wedding traditionally means hiring a special car to get you there. You should also think about the time you have in the day as well; how long will the journey be from A to B and then to C. If you’re having a professional photographer, make sure you plan with him/her where, how long and what type of photography you would like.

What’s hot right now is total coverage, and I find the most interesting photos are the pre-wedding ones: the bridal prepping photos of the make-up artist at work, the hair being styled, the wedding dress hanging up ready to be worn, the shoes, the brand new sparkling jewellery. As a society, we are now, more than ever interested in the who, how and what went into making a big event. Look at any popular movie on DVD and Blu-ray today and you will often find the making-of documentaries are actually longer than the movie.

Preparation
Preparation

We like seeing the leading actors in between takes, behaving naturally and offering a little insight into their real personalities. The same applies to you, your bridesmaids, the Groom and grooms men. You really are going to be a celeb for the day and seeing the bridesmaids having a little fun getting ready is exactly what you are going to want to look back on… no matter how old they are.

A ceremony in a hotel may mean no car is required, and you can relax a bit more because everything’s central; all roads point to one venue for everyone involved. Also guests can book rooms for the night so your reception does not have to have a set finish time.

Now let’s not forget some key details either, have you thought about how the ring gets presented during the ceremony? A favourite at the moment is a decorated pillow with pins on the rings, or the family dog carrying it down the aisle on call. Just be creative, it’s the little things that add that speciality.

Some churches and registrars have rules you need to be aware of and this is made clear when you are booking with them. They usually insist on only one official photographer being allowed to photograph the event. This is not intended to be mean or too controlling but it is a data protection issue and in some cases a copyright issue as well with regards to the venue. For example, when it comes to the signing of the official register no photography is allowed – full stop. This is a policy all officials will follow. But once this formality is completed the photographer is free to capture the happy couple signing a fake book instead.

Respect and Social Media

Something to consider is the release of guest photos onto social media on the night of the wedding. You may or may not have an opinion on this, but some couples ask their guests to hold back their photos and not post them straight to social sites till the official ones are released to in order maintain their ‘exclusive’ quality. What I suggest is to ask everyone on their invites to send their photos to the bride and groom afterwards, and let them be the first to see their own wedding.

Now I must point out a few facts here: amateur photographers are everywhere and most people own some pretty good cameras that can rival the photographers own equipment. Does this mean that uncle David is going to get the same photos as your hired photographer? Do you really need a photographer at all?

I can honestly say I have never been wowed by these snaps. People do get lucky sometimes with maybe 1 in 50. I have however seen most of them end up online in social media sites with titles like; top 100 worst wedding photos though.

The point is, you need a professional for quality and peace of mind. Like Jamie Oliver cooking a Wedding Breakfast or Maggie Sottero designing a special dress, professionals in their field have the correct equipment and skills to deliver. A professional photographer knows what to look for and where to be. You cannot expect a family member or friend to take on such a responsibility. The professional brings back-up facilities so no image is lost. He/she has the skills to process your images and store them properly afterwards. Your hired photographer will have be versed in adjusting your images, sharpening and cropping them to fit industrial print standards ready for printing.

DETAILS OF THE RECEPTION

Hunger – After a ceremony, most guests are hungry and thirsty. When planning your wedding reception it might be wise to offer canapĂ©s/appetisers with any reception drinks. These will revive any flagging guests, and potentially prevent any early inebriation.

Wedding reception

Cake – The wedding cake is a tradition that people seem to be re-vamping and modernising. Recent weddings I have attended have seen the cutting of the traditional iced fruit cake take a backseat and sometimes just not appear at all! This can be seasonal choice, for example, winter tastes veer towards chocolate and rich flavours, whereas in summer I have seen light sponges, lemon cake or even just a good old cheesecake. Wedding fairs are currently promoting ice-cream cakes that double as a dessert for the Wedding Breakfast, or layered tiers of frosted cupcakes that can be distributed on the big day without the need to cut the cake.

Messages – The traditional way is a guest signing book, it’s a great keep sake to take home. But there are already new ideas out there. How about a wishing well that guests can put little notes into? Once you’re finished with it after the wedding, stick it in the garden and let nature grow around it.

Presents – A great way to make the speeches more interesting is giving out presents to those that have helped and been there for you, you could even try a fun raffle or give out lottery tickets.

Kids – If there are children present, you can be sure that they will be bored and ready to start running around, having fun and generally getting under your feet. You can plan for this too, by having bubble blowing bottles available to hand out. It looks good on the photos too and is such fun even the adults join in!

Staff – If you’re having a large themed wedding, it’s worth checking with the caterers if they have some form of uniform. A suggestion here is request staff wear white gloves, they just look classy and clean.

Food – The modern take on the Wedding Breakfast is less traditional with more spicy cuisine on the menu. Styles vary but, over the years peoples tastes have certainly changed. The more creative your food the more memorable your day will be, and depending on how much time and money you have, how about trying an 8 course meal? It’s all about the taste.

Music while you eat – If you go to any wedding fair you will find some great musicians to choose from. They can accompany your meal playing the piano or harp and will often play anything you request. At one wedding I covered recently the theme was rock, so the pianist was playing hits from ACDC, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Queen, Slip Knot and many, many more. It was different and cool!

Up lighting effects – Hiring some lights for the evening is a great way to completely change the mood of your event and give it an amazing look. Up lights point at the walls and ceilings and can be set to a colour to match your theme. White fairy lights can create a pretty background on your night photo’s and are particularly effective after dark.

Night Music – Cover bands are popular at the moment and there are some great groups out there that specialize in weddings. They will play your favourite tracks on request. Disco’s, well do you need a disco? Technology is good enough now for you to pretty much create your own custom playlist that blends into each track from a laptop or iPod/iPad. Just plug that into the band’s amplifier and click play. You can alternate your own music with the band to give them a break. By the way… don’t forget to feed the band!

Flowers – Real or Fake? its a tough one to decide upon, and it can be quite nice to have flowers to hide parts of hired halls. For others its something to maybe forgo and forget altogether. It really matters on how much importance it has for you.

By James McConnachie
(c) 2015

Ideas For Small Weddings – Good Things Come in Small Packages

Looking for ideas for small weddings? Perhaps we can help. Some people have different thoughts on small weddings. Some say a small wedding is where you invite no more than 20 guests. Others say a small wedding is no more than 100 guests, including the wedding party. It’s really up to each individual couple to decide what a small wedding actually is.

If your goal is to have a small wedding, this article will give you some ideas for small weddings.

If you are looking for ideas for small weddings, then chances are that you are determined to plan a wedding within a certain budget. There is nothing wrong with planning a small wedding and you need to remember that when people try to talk you into spending more money or inviting more people than you had planned. Remember this is your wedding.

The first thing you need to do after you set the date is decide on who will attend. You both need to sit down and talk about this to make sure you agree on who should be invited and who should not be invited. Depending on the amount of guests you plan to invite, you will have to select an appropriate location. If you want to invite more guests than what your backyard or home can comfortably accommodate, you may need to rent a church or another location.

There are a number of places that you can have your wedding and the reception in the same place. When you plan a big wedding, this may not be the case. You might have to rent a hall of some sort if you invite too many people.

Here are some ideas for small weddings and receptions in the same place.

o Beach wedding
o Remote park
o Bed and Breakfast
o Backyard of your home

When you plan a small wedding the flowers expenses will be a minimal because you won’t need that many. Your cake will also be smaller than if you had a big wedding. You may be able to hire someone to make the cake rather than going to a bakery and worrying if it will come out right.

Most people decide to go with one if these ideas for small weddings because it gives them the opportunity to have a small gathering with the ones they love on their special day. Another reason for planning a small wedding is so that you can spend more money on the honeymoon or purchase a new home. These ideas for small weddings mean you will spend less on the wedding and have more money to put down on the perfect home for you to start your new life together.

If you are planning a wedding, consider some of the ideas for small weddings listed above. Regardless of your reasons for planning a small wedding, the key factor is to make sure you enjoy it and always treasure the memories of how special it was for both of you.

Simple Centerpiece Ideas for a Wedding That Add Beauty to the Table

These unique centerpiece ideas for a wedding will leave a lasting impression on everyone that takes part in your ceremony and reception. Every bride wants her big day to be incredibly special, and creating a unique wedding that everyone remembers fondly is the ultimate goal of most engaged couples.

One of the first decisions that a bride and groom must make together is the season in which they’d like to get married. After all, winter weddings are typically much different than spring and summer weddings, so it’s important to select the time of year that’s right for you. After the season has been narrowed down and an official wedding date has been chosen, it’s time to begin selecting wedding colors!

The wedding color palette is crucial because it must be incorporated into all aspects of the wedding such as the bridesmaid dresses, the floral arrangements, the ceremony and reception decorations, and often times the wedding cake, too! Once a color or group of colors has been chosen, you should begin thinking of ideas for your wedding reception.

wedding centerpiece idea Your wedding is supposed to be a beautiful event, not one that makes you want to rip your hair out, so you should try your best to avoid stressing out! That’s why these simple yet elegant centerpiece ideas for a wedding will come in handy.

Round reception tables are the norm at most wedding receptions, and they typically have some sort of tablecloth or table linens. Tablecloths in a basic, muted shade such as cream or light beige will work best with these centerpiece ideas for a wedding. Depending on the size of the table, six to eight place settings will most likely be present. Set a tall clear glass wine goblet in front of each plate and stuff a cloth napkin inside each so that it puffs out and looks like a flower. Use cloth napkins that are the main color of your wedding – for example, napkins that are the same color as the bridesmaid dresses. The colored napkins will add emphasis to your table, especially since you have such basic-colored tablecloths. These “floral glasses” are simple yet elegant, and they are also completely functional because they are composed of two items that need to be on the table anyway.

Place a round mirror in the middle of the table, and set a glass bowl or vase filled with a floral arrangement that includes flowers which are the same color as your napkins. For an extra bit of “oomph” you can scatter flower petals on the table as well. These simple ideas are stylish, unique, and classy, and your friends and family will be sure to remember your special day!

Pink Wedding Table Centerpiece Ideas

Flowers and candles have always been popular wedding table centerpiece ideas, but if you can’t make up your mind between the two there’s no reason you can’t have both! There are countless ways of combining floral arrangements and candles into stunning wedding centerpieces, and with a little thought and little effort you can create some of the prettiest wedding reception table decorations that you’ve ever seen. In fact, the blushing bride may wind up sharing the spotlight with her reception centerpieces on the big day!

Pink has always been a fashionable wedding color because it’s so romantic. Pastel shades of pink symbolize youthfulness and innocence while bright pinks and hot pinks give off a trendy, up-to-the-minute vibe. Whichever shade of pink you prefer, including pink flowers in your wedding centerpieces shouldn’t be a problem because there are so many pink flowers to choose from! Dahlias, pansies, daisies, gladiolas, lilies, and peonies are just a few… and let’s not forget the all-time wedding favorite, roses!

Your wedding florist should be able to help you choose the perfect combination of flowers and greenery for your centerpieces, and you’re going to need some clear glass vases in which to display the floral arrangements. Square or rectangular-shaped vases are great wedding table centerpiece ideas! Place the pink floral arrangements in the center of your reception tables. wedding centerpiece idea Set them on top of round mirrors in order to create a bit of shine.

Now it’s time to throw some candles into the mix. You can find tea light candles and small glass candleholders at just about any discount store in town, and they’re relatively inexpensive. Place two candles on top of the mirror beside your pink floral arrangement. White candles will add a bit of contrast to all of the pink, but pastel pink candles will work as well – it’s up to you!

Providing guests with wedding favors to take home with them is a tradition that most brides enjoy, and incorporating the color pink into these little gifts can also help you think of wedding table centerpiece ideas. Place small candies, such as mints, Jordan almonds, or M&Ms into individual pink pouches or bags. You can tie them with pink ribbons and attach a small tag that includes the bride and groom’s name and wedding date. Place one of these pink wedding favors in front of each place setting in order to add even more pink to the reception table.

The use of pink floral arrangements, small tea light candles, and pink wedding favors is an easy way to incorporate the color pink into your wedding table centerpieces. Whether you follow these plans exactly or tweak them to make them your own, you’ll be sure to have attractive reception tables!

Outdoor Wedding Reception Centerpiece Ideas

Whether it’s at the beach or in your own backyard, our wedding reception centerpiece ideas will come in handy as you plan your outdoor wedding. Outdoor weddings usually take a bit more planning and effort than indoor weddings because of their location, but your reception centerpieces don’t have to be difficult to make! Even if you decide to hold your reception indoors once the wedding ceremony is over, you can give your wedding centerpieces an outdoorsy feel that goes along with the overall theme of your special day.

Weddings held on white sandy beaches automatically have a tropical feel to them, and using seashells and palm branches as table decorations are wonderful wedding reception centerpiece ideas. Place a few pieces of palm on the center of each table, beach wedding centerpiece and set a large conch shell on top. You can then scatter a variety of smaller seashells around the large shell. Surround your tropical creation with white candles in clear glass jars that have been wrapped with strands of twine. This is an easy centerpiece that can go along with a tropical beach wedding or simply add a tropical vibe to a wedding held in your own backyard.

Speaking of which, backyard weddings are growing in popularity as more and more people decide to scale down and save money by holding inexpensive weddings and receptions at home. Patio tables and picnic tables are a great place to eat dinner and socialize during a wedding reception, and you can easily decorate them with great centerpieces. Small metal buckets full of wild flowers may be all that you need, but if you’d like to skip the flowers altogether you can use food as centerpieces. Red and white checkered tablecloths and homemade apple pies can give your backyard reception tables a “country” appearance, and baskets of fruit can act as both decoration and healthy alternatives to sweet desserts.

Gardens can provide a quaint, romantic setting for outdoor weddings, and many also have adequate space for outdoor receptions. Tables can be set up among gorgeous trees and flowers, and additional floral arrangements are easy outdoor wedding reception centerpiece ideas. Vases of flowers that grew in the garden add charm to the reception, and you can even scatter additional flower petals on each reception table for an extra touch of romance.

Outdoor weddings and receptions may involve a bit of extra work, but coming up with ideas for your wedding reception centerpieces should be a fun process. Save money by creating them yourself, and work together with your fiancé to create special memories together. Be sure to remind your wedding photographer to take a lot of pictures of them!

Complete Details for Wedding Gown Cleaning and Preservation

Complete Facts on Wedding Gown Cleaning and Preservation

Getting your wedding gown cleaned and preserved as soon after your wedding as possible helps to give you the very best possible results. You can still have your gown cleaned and preserved years later, but the delay can cause problems. Which of the three wedding gown preservation methods is best?

There are many wedding gown preservation companies that all claim their particular method is best. It doesn’t need to be confusing when you have the facts. This special report is designed to educate you, so that you can understand for yourself the three methods with their various pros and cons.

When you’ve competed this report you’ll have the facts you need to decide which method you want to use for your wedding gown preservation.

What you’ll find inside this Wedding Gown Preservation Report:

Chapter 1
The 5 Top Reasons to Have Your Wedding Gown Cleaned and Preserved:
-Remember your special day
-Celebrate an anniversary
-For use by a family member
-For a christening dress
-For a bassinette cover

Chapter 2
How should your wedding gown be cleaned:
-Dry-cleaning
-Wet-cleaning

Chapter 3
The three types of wedding gown preservation:
-Boxed method
-Sealed Boxed method
-Bagging method

Chapter 4
Debunking the myths, misinformation and out right lies:
-Boxed vs. Bagging
-“Museum” storage
-Cloth bag storage
-Boxed storage
-Sealed boxed storage
-Examining the dress
-Mold and mildew growth
-Insect infestation
-Allowing the fabric to breathe

Chapter 5
The goals of wedding gown preservation:
-Yellowing
-Permanent creases
-Brown spots and oxidation

Chapter 6
Upgrade offers:
-What’s included in an upgrade
-What’s the value of an upgrade
-Why is an upgrade offered

Chapter 7
Wedding gown cleaning and preservation summary.

Chapter 1

5 Top Reasons to Have Your Wedding Gown Clean and Preserved.

1. The first and foremost reason is obviously because it is your wedding gown. It is the most expensive dress you’ll ever own and it’s part of the celebration of the most important day of your life. It is the dress in all of your wedding pictures. It is one of the things you’ll remember most about your wedding.

Sure you have your pictures, but to actually be able to see your actual wedding dress beautifully preserved will always bring back a flood of wonderful memories.

2. You may want to wear it to celebrate your 5th, or 10th or 25th wedding anniversary. You could put it on a mannequin and display it for an anniversary celebration.

3. Wedding gown preservation keeps your dress in perfect condition so your sister or your own daughter or even granddaughter can wear it on their wedding day. (It happens more often then you may think and is a wonderful opportunity for you and the lucky girl who wears it.)

4. Many brides are making a christening dress from their wedding gown. Being able to make your wedding gown into a dress that your precious daughter will wear on this important day is something to look forward to. It can start a great family tradition and heirloom.

5. Something that is beginning to take off in popularity is making a bassinette cover made out of it. This can easily be done and provides a wonderful reminder of your special day and the special little one inside the bassinette.

No matter the reason, wedding gown preservation is important. You may not think so now, but years from now you don’t want to regret that you missed the opportunity. There will be a time when you’ll want your wedding gown in beautiful condition again.

After the wedding many brides just leave their dress in the plastic garment bag thinking they’ll get it preserved “sometime”. There is always good intentions, but that “sometime” turns into weeks or even years. By procrastinating you may be in for some serious risks to your gown.

You know your wedding gown has some stains on it. There is the dirt, grass stains, and sometimes asphalt parking lot oil on the hem of your dress. Then there is the underarm deodorant, the perspiration, the body oils, the make-up, the spray tan that gets on the dress. There may even be a wine spill or two.

There can also be stains that are not easily visible, like soda, champagne, or cake frosting. Stains caused by any liquid will oxidize over time and turn brown. The longer any stain sets, or oxidizes the more difficult it is to remove. It’s important to have your wedding gown cleaned and preserved to prevent this from happening.

Keeping your gown in a plastic bag is probably the worst storage situation possible. Plastic is made from petroleum and gives off fumes. These chemical fumes causes yellowing in your dress. That’s also why you should never take your dress to a dry-cleaner and leave it in the plastic bag it comes home in.

Hanging your dress can cause additional problems. Your wedding gown is very heavy and hanging it will stretch the fabric and the seams. If your dress has sleeves then the weight of the dress will stretch the seams in the sleeve. If it’s strapless or you hang your dress by the side-seam hanging loops the manufacturer provides you’ll stretch the fabric and the side-seams. And for those dresses with a long heavy train the same can be true of the hanging loop for the train.

Wedding gown preservation done right can protect your treasured keepsake.

Chapter 2

How should your wedding gown be cleaned?

There are two types of cleaning methods: dry-cleaning and wet-cleaning.

Dry-cleaning really isn’t dry at all. Dry-cleaning refers to not using water for cleaning. It is cleaning with a petroleum solvent as the cleaning agent. The most common agent for dry-cleaning is perchloroethylene – “perc” for short. It is an excellent degreaser and can be used on all fabrics including silk, acetate, rayon and polyester. It can cause damage to some sequins and beads. It can melt the coating on some beads and melt the glue if the beads and sequins are glued onto the fabric.

Stoddard solvent is not as popular because it is more expensive and it has more regulations for it’s use – like it cannot be used in a facility in a strip mall. It is an excellent degreaser but has the added advantage that it will not harm beads or sequins.

Exxon DF-2000 is also a petroleum based solvent. It will not harm beads or sequins, but is not as good of a degreaser as Stoddard solvent. It does have fewer regulations so it is more popular for some dry-cleaning establishments.

Cleaning should be done with what is called “Virgin Solvent”. Virgin solvent is solvent that has been specially cleaned and filtered before each use. Many dry-cleaners use the same solvent over and over which means the solvent can retain residual oils and “dirt” which can be re-deposited on your dress. Dirty solvent will also leave a “dry-clean” smell on your dress.

Wet-cleaning, using water to clean your dress has several advantages. Water is best for removing any type of sugar stain, food stain or plain dirt on the hem. It is a poor degreaser, (but petroleum solvents cannot remove sugar or food stains.) Wet-cleaning also removes the sizing in fabrics (sizing is a starch like substance that is used to give “body” to the fabric by the manufacturer). Sizing in fabrics attract mice and insects. Proper wet-cleaning will not leave any odor in your gown.

The care label inside your wedding gown should indicate which method is recommended by the manufacturer.

Experience is the most important criteria to consider in selecting who should do your wedding gown cleaning and preservation. Asking questions is the most effective method to determine their experience. How long have they been in business? Do they specialize in wedding gowns, or only clean them once in awhile? Do they examine each dress individually or just place it in with all of their regular cleaning?

Chapter 3

The 3 Types of Wedding Gown Preservation

The three types of wedding gown preservation are:
1. Plain Boxed method
2. Sealed Box method
3. Bagging method. Let’s examine each.

The Plain Boxed method. Your wedding gown is cleaned first and then is placed on a cardboard bust form. The bust form and dress are secured in the box. If the bust form was not secured properly in the box, the dress would slide and end up in a messy heap in the bottom of the box. The dress is folded and layered with tissue paper. The box may or may not have a windowed display area. The box is closed and sent to you.

Sealed Boxed method. This method is the same as the Plain Boxed method except it goes a step further in your wedding gown preservation protection. The box is sealed completely. It is sealed to keep out moisture and to keep out insects.

Bagging method. Again the gown is cleaned first and then it is hung usually on a padded hanger and then placed in some kind of cloth bag.

Chapter 4

Debunking the myths, lies and misinformation.

Let’s discuss these methods and debunk some of the misinformation, misunderstanding and out right lies being published on the internet about wedding gown preservation methods.

First, understand that the companies who use each of these methods try and get you to believe that their method is best. But let’s look at the logical and scientific facts.

Boxed vs. Bagging. The Boxed methods provide a convenient sized preservation box that can easily be stored under a bed or in the bottom of a closet. Bagging, depending on the size of your wedding gown can be very bulky and take up a considerable amount of closet space, especially if your gown was fuller or had a train. Consider where you would store your preserved wedding gown and how much storage space you have.

The Bagging method is also referred to as “Museum” storage or “Museum Quality” storage. The pitch behind this is that museums store their dresses in bags and not boxes. That is partially true. Even their own information explains that these museums also store dresses folded in drawers.

Museums do store most of their dresses in bags. Most of their dresses are thin A-lines and regular women’s wear dresses throughout the ages. These can easily be hung, take up very little “closet” space and will only need light touch-up and preparation for display.

It is different with bulky dresses, dresses with trains and wedding dresses. As mentioned before, if they are bagged and hung they take up a considerable amount of closet space. Also if they are hung the weight of the dress can cause the fabric the stretch. Have you felt the weight of some of the wedding dresses?

The dress manufacturer sews a ribbon loop into the seam of the dress and recommends hanging it from those loops. Yes, the loops can be reinforced but still the entire weight of the dress is suspended from the seams and it will cause the fabric to stretch. If the dress is a light weight “destination style” dress then this won’t matter.

If the dress has sleeves and it is hung from the sleeves the stretching can be worse. The shape of the sleeve can be deformed. The hanger can leave permanent marks in the top of the sleeves.
Other advantages this method purports to have is inspection of the dress and no folding of the fabric. When the wedding gown preservation is done with the Bagging method you can open the bag and easily examine the dress. If the dress is short with no train, then it shouldn’t have any folds. If it has a train then the train will be hung by a ribbon loop in its seam and will be folded about half way up the train, this will cause a double fold back for the last 12″-24″ of the train, from the hanging loop to the hem of the train. Remember how the train on your wedding dress was hung in the bag when you took it to your wedding. It will be hung the same way for this method. So dresses with trains will always have at least two folds in them using the Bagging method. (If they really don’t hang the train by the hanging loops then the entire train will be a wrinkled mess piled in the bottom of the bag – there is no place else for it to go).

Lastly, the cloth storage bag that is used in the Bagging method should be addressed. There are two areas of concern in regards to insect infestation when using a cloth bag for storage. Insects can get into the tiniest places and through the smallest cracks and openings. We have all experienced spiders, earwigs, pill bugs and other insects in some pretty unusual locations. The closure area, in many bags it’s a zipper in the Bagging method it is usually tied shut. This can provide an opportunity of insects entering at the ties or in between them. Second is the hole in the top of the bag where the hanger goes through. Insects can enter at this opening and get in a ruin your dress.

Cloth bags do let air pass through but that also means moisture can also pass through to the dress. As the humidity rises there’s more moisture in the air and therefore in the fabric of your dress. It really doesn’t mater much unless the humidity gets too high and that can promote mildew growth on the fabric.

Something else that can happen with the cloth bags. Cats, dogs and mice especially like to “mark” their territory. It has happened where an animal has urinated on the bag to mark their territory. Obviously it can soak through the cloth bag and onto the wedding dress. The dress would then have to be re-cleaned.

OK, now lets discuss the Boxed method. Two types of boxes can be used, one with a windowed display area in the top and the other just plain cardboard box. This is really a personal preference for each individual to decide.

With this method of wedding gown preservation the dress is cleaned first. It is then steamed and pressed. Then it is placed on a shaped bust form to fill out the top of the dress and makes it display better. The bust form is attached to the box so that the dress doesn’t slide around in the box and end up in a heap at the bottom of the box.

As the dress is placed in the box it is folded and layered with acid free tissue paper. This layering is to protect and soften the folds. If it is a plain cardboard box then a final layer of tissue paper is placed on top of the dress. If the box is a windowed display box then this layer is not used so you can see your dress through the display window.

The box can then be stored under a bed or in the bottom of a closet.

The Sealed Box method goes through the same process with the added step of sealing the entire box.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to each. The Boxed method says you can open the box see the dress to make sure it’s yours and to examine it. If it’s a windowed display box, you don’t need to open it to make sure it’s your dress – you can see it through the window.

However, there are problems if you think you can just open the box and examine the dress. First, you should never touch a cleaned and preserved wedding gown unless you have white cloth gloves on. You may or may not have clean hands, but your hands will have body oils on them and so you need gloves.

If you have white cloth gloves then when you open the box you’ll discover the bust form is attached to the box, so you’ll need to unattached it. Next you’ll need to unfold the dress, layer by layer to examine the train which will be the bottom layer in the box. Once you are satisfied you’ll need to refold the dress as it was before and reattach the bust form. This sounds considerably easier than it is.
If you actually take the dress out of the box, you’ll find it even more difficult getting everything back in the box properly.

Something else to absolutely make sure of before you open the box and try to examine your dress is the wedding gown preservation company’s guarantee. It may or may not say you can open the box and examine your dress. It may say you can open the box to examine your dress but doesn’t specifically say whether you can take the dress out of the box. If it isn’t specific then you should ask specific questions to make sure of what you can or can’t do that would void their guarantee.

Wedding gown preservation companies must protect themselves from the situation where a bride can take her dress out of the box, wear it, get something on it, put it back in the box and claim that the stain or dirt or whatever was never gotten out in the original cleaning and preservation process and demand it be reprocessed for free.

Don’t assume that just because the box is not sealed that you can open it, examine the dress and or take it out and not void the guarantee… you need to check first.

Boxes that are not sealed are susceptible to insect infestation. Insects love to get into small thin opening and into the fabric to build their nests. Just because the box is closed doesn’t mean insects can’t get in.

The same warning applies to Boxes as to the Bags when it comes to animals marking their territory. Cardboard protects better than a cloth bag but still can be ruined by an animal urinating on it.
Moisture and humidity can also vary in an unsealed box – same warnings apply.

What about the Sealed Box method then? It provides all of the benefits of the Boxed method with much more protection. You don’t have to worry about animals or insects.

What about examining the dress and the question of moisture and mildew in a sealed box? A number of the wedding gown preservation companies site these two reasons as a warning to not use the Sealed Box method.

Let’s address them one at a time.

Here’s the actual science on mold and mildew growth from a publication by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science. Optimal conditions for mildew to grow is 70%-98% relative humidity and 77-88 degrees Fahrenheit. When relative humidity is less than 62% mildew growth ceases completely.

So if your wedding gown is either boxed or bagged but not sealed you run the risk of mildew if you have high humidity and warm temperatures. If you live in an area of the country where the humidity level can be higher than 70% your unsealed exposed wedding gown can run the risk of mildew growing on it. You could also run the same risk of mildew if your box is sealed and you have sealed in that high moisture content in the box and dress.

So for optimal wedding gown preservation you want to have the Sealed Boxed method with little or no moisture sealed in the box. That would mean you need to make sure that your wedding gown preservation company dries your dress and controls the humidity prior to sealing the box.

Another objection some companies have about the Sealed Boxed method is that the fabric should be allowed to breathe. That’s almost comical when you think about it. Fabric doesn’t have any lungs – it doesn’t and in fact shouldn’t breathe. Having the fabric breathe means that air is allowed to flow through the fabric.

The problem with air flowing through the fabric is that the air carries dust, dirt, pollen, mold pores and bacteria. The fabric acts as a natural filter. So if the air is allowed to circulate through the dress then more and more of the contaminants can build up on the fabric. A sealed box does not allow the air to circulate and eliminates this problem. So what some companies pitch as a determent actually turns out in reality to be a benefit for sealing the box.

When it comes to wedding gown inspection with the Sealed Boxed method you simply can’t thoroughly examine the dress. You will want to choose a company that has a windowed display box so can see and verify it’s your gown. You will void their guarantee if you open the box to take your dress out and examine it.

That means you will have to “trust” the wedding gown preservation company that you use to do the cleaning and preservation right.

Check out the company. What type of reputation do they have? Read their testimonials. Are they members of the Better Business Bureau and with what kind of rating. How long have they been in business? Do they specialize in just wedding gowns, or do they do every kind of dry-cleaning? Can you call and get your questions answered personally?

Chapter 5

What do you want your wedding gown preservation to do for you and your dress?

1. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent your dress from yellowing. Yellowing can be caused by several situations. Don’t use a plastic bag for long term storage. Plastic bags give off petroleum distillates that can yellow your dress over time. Storing your dress in a non-acid free environment can also cause yellowing of your dress. This would include a regular cardboard box, or using regular tissue paper instead of acid free tissue.

2. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent any permanent creases in your dress. Make sure that the company you use properly cares for your dress. If you insist on using the Bagging method they should make provisions for your train especially so it does not double fold back on itself in the bag. If you use the Boxed or Seal Boxed methods they should carefully fold the dress and buffer each fold with acid free tissue paper. This buffering will make the folds gentile and keep them from creasing.

(Be aware that some companies will promote the idea that your wedding gown should be re-folded every few years to prevent permanent creases. Although this sounds good in theory it isn’t true at all. First if your gown is stored properly, buffered with acid free tissue paper, the folds will remain folds. Unless there is some force that “squishes” the dress flat, or specifically flattens the folds into creases, creases won’t happen. Folds don’t “automatically” flatten themselves into creases. The fact actually is – creases can be removed from the fabric by proper steaming and or ironing. Seamstresses do this all of the time. If a seam or hem has to be changed they can easily make the “creases” disappear when they steam and or iron it.)

3. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent and mold, mildew or insect growth or infestation. This can only be guaranteed when you use the Sealed Boxed method – see that section under “Wedding Gown Preservation methods”.

4. You want your wedding gown preservation to prevent brown spots or oxidation spots on your dress. Brown spots usually occur when a stain in the dress was not properly cleaned. The stain will oxidize over time and turn brown. This is especially true for any sugar based stain – ones caused from soda, wine, cake frosting or food.

These stains may not be visible when you send your dress in to be cleaned and preserved. It’s important that the company you use not only does a careful visual inspection but also a black-light inspection to reveal any hidden stains. And that the company completely removes all of the stains in your dress.

Chapter 6

Upgrade Offers

Some wedding gown preservation companies offer an upgrade service. The upgrade consists of using muslin in place of acid free tissue paper, additional insurance, and a upgraded storage container. Upgrades can cost anywhere from $40.00 to $100.00 more than their standard offer.

Upgrades are a “rip-off”!

Muslin is a very cheap fabric and offers no added benefit over acid free tissue paper. It sounds great, but it does nothing to make a better storage environment or keep the dress safer or better. Acid free tissue does everything muslin can do – and saves you money.

Most wedding gown preservation companies automatically provide $500.00 of insurance on their cleaning and preservation insurance. The insurance is actually provided for and through U.P.S. (or Fed-Ex). An upgrade increases the insurance to $1,500. You can purchase additional insurance when you ship your dress for $2 per $100 value, so for $10-$20 you can get the maximum insurance.
Remember insurance is provided so that the company providing the insurance can make money. It is a huge profit center for U.P.S. and Fed-Ex. Realize also that insurance companies do not like to pay out on claims and will minimize the payout as much as they can. They will claim your dress is used – (which it is) – that it is in poor condition – (that’s why you are having it cleaned) – that it’s last seasons or older model dress – (which it is, bridal manufacturer’s bring out new dresses twice per year, creating two seasons per year, so your dress is at least 1 to 3 or more seasons old). Get the picture, insurance is for the insurance company. Oh, and as and aside, in 12 years that I personally have dealt with U.P.S. shipping wedding dress for cleaning and preservation they have yet to lose a dress. I guess wedding dress boxes are too big to lose.

The last of the upgrade items is a different storage container. Check and you’ll see that the box is exactly the same except it’s a different color. The size, shape, it’s materials are all the same, the only difference is the outside color of the box.

So is there really any significant value in purchasing an upgrade? Absolutely not. It’s just a great ploy by that particular wedding gown preservation company to get you to spend more – thus increasing their profits dramatically.

Chapter 7

Wedding gown cleaning and preservation summary.

Cleaning summary:

Determine the fabric of your wedding gown. If it is polyester then it can usually safely be wet-cleaned. If it is silk, acetate or rayon then you have a few choices. Does it have beading or sequins on the dress? Percloroethylene (perc) is the most common dry-cleaning solvent but can discolor or melt the coating on the beads and sequins and can dissolve the glue if they are glued on. The better alternative is Stoddard Solvent or DF-2000. These dry-cleaning solvents are still excellent degreasers but will not harm the beads and sequins. Stoddard solvent is the best degreaser of the two.

Read the manufacturer’s fabric care label to help guide you on your choices.

Select a wedding gown preservation company that uses virgin solvent. You don’t want your dress being “cleaned” in dirty solvent that can leave an unpleasant odor in your dress.
Select a company that specializes in wedding gown cleaning and preservation. Choose a company that has been in business for a substantial time, is a member of the Better Business Bureau and has excellent reviews.

It’s also best to use a company that carefully hand inspects your dress and then does a further inspection using a black light. The company should do minor repairs at no additional cost to you. They can fix those loose beads, replace a button or fix a small tear in the fabric as part of their service.

Carefully examine the entire wedding gown preservation method. Select a company that will provide you the peace of mind, where you know your treasured keepsake will be put in an acid free environment, will be protected from unwanted creasing, protected from mold, mildew and insects, and provides a lifetime guarantee.