Post-Wedding Decision: Bridal Gown Preservation

To preserve or not to preserve—have you and your daughter had this discussion yet, Mother of the Bride? The answer will depend on whether or not your daughter wants to keep the gown in good condition for possible use by her future daughter or for another relative or friend. And it will also depend on which expert’s advice you listen to. I found two vastly different viewpoints.

First let’s look at what The Knot has to say. They offer some great advice in an article called Preserve Your Wedding Dress. Be sure to read the entire piece for all the details you’ll need to know, but I’ll give you a snapshot look in this post.

Here are a few of the highlights:

*Cleaning the gown is the most important part of the preservation process. All stains—even hidden ones like sugar—must be removed.

*Have the gown cleaned while the stains are fresh. It can wait until after the honeymoon if need be but don’t wait much longer.

*After cleaning the gown, a reputable specialist will wrap it in acid-free tissue paper or muslin and place it in a museum quality archival box. All storage materials should be clean and completely acid-free.

*Get referrals for a preservation specialist. Many dry cleaners claim to clean wedding gowns, but they are not specialists. If you go with a dry cleaner, they should process at least 100 gowns a year. (By the way, that number seems pretty high to me.) Try to find a professional gown preservationist with a good track record.

*Will the preservationist company guarantee their work? How will they reimburse you if you discover damage after a number of years? Will they reimburse only for the cost of the preservation or for the gown itself?

*If you open the box and handle the gown, be sure to wash your hands first or wear clean white gloves.

*Beware of those who quote a price before seeing the gown. Different gowns will require different treatment depending on the fabric and type of stains, etc.

*Expect to pay $250-$700, maybe even up to $1000 in metropolitan areas.

The authors of Bridal BargainsDenise and Alan Fields, express a different view of gown preservation. Again, I will give only a snapshot of what they say in the book. I recommend reading the entire section on gown preservation to get a thorough look at the authors’ findings and conclusions.

The Fields reference one horror story in particular and offer a statistic from the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops regarding preserved gowns that are brought in to be sold. They stated that 80% of the gowns are found to be dirty. They go on to call the gown-preservation-box scheme a rip-off and then recommend that brides don’t do it.

The authors suggest cleaning and preserving the gown yourself or selling it as soon as possible after the wedding. They claim that most wedding gowns can be washed and offer a few how-to tips and also recommend storing it in an acid-free box. They say it can be wrapped in a clean white cotton sheet and stuffed with acid-free tissue paper if desired.

For those who don’t want to try to clean their own gowns (that would be me!), the Fields do give some advice on using a dry cleaner. They also go on to recommend two companies for gown preservation, even though they first advised against it. Of note, when I compared my copy of Bridal Bargains, the 7th edition put out in 2005, to my friend’s copy of the latest edition (11th) put out in 2013, I noticed the information on gown preservation had only been changed slightly. It makes me wonder if the 80% statistic given is still accurate. I also felt like they could have used updated examples.

I know it’s confusing to hear two different recommendations by those who specialize in all things wedding, but I hope this helps in some way, MOB, as you and your daughter decide what to do about the gown. Remember to examine the more in-depth info found in the article from The Knot and in the book Bridal Bargains itself. Good luck!

*If you have any info or insight or personal experience to add, please share in the comments. Everyone reading is all ears, I’m sure!

*You might also like to read Wedding Planning Tip: Post-Wedding Inventory.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Photo by Will Flowers

Simple Wedding Attire Expense Tip

Mother of the Bride, on your MOB journey, you’ll constantly be making decisions about how much to spend on different aspects of your daughter’s big day—wedding attire included.

Questions like is it okay to spend a little more than I wanted to for this pair of shoes and should we go with the less expensive veil will pop up on a regular basis—and sometimes even play havoc with a good night’s rest. That’s understandable. Like any good mother of the bride, you’re always looking for ways to trim wedding expenses.

Here’s one simple guideline to use as you decide when it’s okay to spend a little more for one wedding attire: If it’s an item you or the bride (or someone else in the wedding party) will keep wearing for a long time, go ahead and buy the more expensive option if you’d like. A better quality product will more than pay for itself if you’re able to get several years’ use out of it.

Shoes? If you’ll wear them for a long time, by all means get the better ones. The veil? Unless you have other daughters that might use it, that’s pretty much a one-day use. You can find gorgeous options at reasonable prices.

Apply the how long will we wear it guideline with each attire purchase decision, MOB, and your decision-making agony will be cut in half. I can’t promise a good night’s rest, though—too many other things can interfere with that!

*You might also like to read Getting the Most Bang for Your MOB BuckBudget Agreement with the Father of the BrideSavings Tip for Bridal and Bridesmaids Bouquets, and Wedding Savings Tip: Borrow!

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by AMagill; Creative Commons License

Wedding Shoes for the Party: Sneakers!

Mother of the Bride, heels look gorgeous for the wedding ceremony, but when it’s time to party, why not break out the sneakers! Just look at the bridal party above. Cute and comfy, too. Those girls look ready for some serious dancing, don’t they?

To make it extra fun—and snazzy-looking as well—the sneakers could all be in a matching style and color. The example above shows the bride sporting one of the wedding colors and all the bridesmaids in a coordinating color, and that looks super cute for photos and also continues to set the bride apart from everyone else.

MOB, why not give your daughter this suggestion for her maids? After all, when it’s time for everyone to let their hair down and party, they might as well let their feet get down in comfy territory, too!

*You might also like to read Comfy Shoes—Add This to Your Wedding Day List and Winter Wedding Favor: Dancing Socks!

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

 *The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*I hope you found this slightly revised post from May 2014 helpful to you today, MOB!

*Flickr photo by soundman1024, Creative Commons License

Fun Gift Idea From Bride to Groom: Snazzy Socks!

Mother of the Bride, here’s a winning idea to pass along to your soon-to-be-married daughter: Gift the groom with a snazzy pair of socks to wear on wedding day. What fun, right?!

I’m sure wearing a tux for hours on end doesn’t sound that desirable to your daughter’s intended. If she can give him some fun socks to jazz up his wedding attire, he will feel touched by her thoughtfulness and also excited at the prospect of flaunting them at some point during the festivities.

If your daughter likes this idea, she could go several different ways in finding just the right pair of socks for her love. She might try to find a pair that matches or coordinates with the colors of the wedding, or she could try to find something to match the groom’s personality or interests. Or she could go with a total surprise—something no one would ever guess.

Yes, MOB, a fun pair of socks can definitely put a smile on the groom’s face—especially if they’re a gift from his dream girl. Let the sweetness of fun gift-giving begin!

*You might also like to read A Fun Gift from the Bride to Her Maids: Nail Polish!, Ten Thousand Villages Gifts for BridesmaidsChristmas Gifts for the Bride, Special Bridesmaids Gifts from Along Came A Box, and Bride and Groom Who Have It All: Suggest Gift to Charity.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Hope you enjoyed this slightly revised post from Feb. 2014!

*Flickr photo by cariberry, Creative Commons License

Wedding Day List: Add Comfy Shoes

Mother of the Bride, your attire for wedding day will not be complete without bringing a pair of comfy shoes. Whether slippers, flip-flops, or casual flats, you need to have a pair of comfortable shoes on hand for some well-timed relief from the dazzling heels you bought to go with your gorgeous MOB dress.

Comfy shoes can be worn at various times—during the pre-ceremony prep, the reception venue clean-up, and also the last couple of hours of the reception when dancing is fully underway. Guests probably won’t start arriving at the ceremony any earlier than thirty minutes prior, but to play it safe, you might want to slip on your MOB heels at least forty-five minutes ahead of start-time.

As far as the party goes, once the photographer snaps photos of the traditional dances, go ahead and get footloose and fancy free and dance in comfort. No one will care, and it will actually add to the fun atmosphere when everyone sees you unwind. Of course, only your closest family members will hang around to help with the clean-up so no worries about looking put together then. Who knows, you may even be barefoot by that point!

My comfy shoe of choice for both my girls’ weddings was my favorite flip-flops. Since they had May and July weddings, flip-flops worked great for me, but if your daughter is getting married in a cold-weather month, slippers may be in order. No rules here, though, MOB. Whatever works for you is the right choice.

So go ahead—add comfy shoes to your list right now while you’re thinking about it. Your tootsies will thank you come wedding day!

*You might also like to read Most Important Part of the MOBs Wedding Day Attire, Wedding Day Checklist: Containers for Leftover Cake, and Wedding Day Tip: A List for the Photographer.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by Wicker Paradise, Creative Commons License