Any woman who has ever owned anything white knows that after time, the white wardrobe turns to an off-white wardrobe or a dingy yellow wardrobe. Yuck! The thought of that happening to your incredible wedding gown is too much to bear, especially if someday you would like that have your daughter or granddaughter have the opportunity of re-wearing your gown or reworking it into a gown of her own.
Take your gown to a professional who does dress cleaning and preservation—get an evaluation and a quote, ask for references, and meet with their specialists before your relinquish your treasured gown. They will first clean your gown, treat stains, repair tears, and then put in a bodice form to keep the shape before placing it in a special box (free from acid, sulfur, and other toxins that contribute to aging the fabric and discoloration). If you choose to store it yourself, make sure your box repels moisture, humidity, and moths.
There is a less of a rush to bring in your gown for preservation than your bouquet, but the sooner the better, especially if there are stains (or stains you may not see) that need to be tended to. Years after your wedding, if you didn’t get your gown preserved and you change your mind, you can bring it in for restoration (as opposed to preservation), but I always say—planning now is better for later!
If you are not partial to your gown enough to preserve it (or even keep it) I do suggest selling it or donating it to a special shop or website that resells pre-worn wedding dresses. Gently used wedding gowns can also be donated to a church, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army. Your gown will be resold at an affordable price to someone in need, and all profits support these organizations’ ongoing work. Additionally, all donations are tax deductible. All these wonderful charities that provide pre-worn dresses for good causes would love your bridal and bridesmaid dresses. Think of all the good marriage karma that will bring you!