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

Wedding Planning Tip: Post-Wedding Inventory

Mother of the Bride, one of the smartest things you can do in the days following your daughter’s wedding is to take inventory of all the décor and supplies you have left. If you are planning to save items for another daughter’s wedding or for friends or family members’ use, a list of available items will be a lifesaver.

If you make a detailed list, you won’t have to waste time looking for things and unpacking them in order to get a count. When it comes time for your next daughter’s wedding or when a friend asks to borrow something, you’ll know exactly what you have left and how many of each item. What a huge help and timesaver.

To take inventory, simply make your list as you go through the leftover supplies when you’re preparing to store them after the wedding. When you and your helpers packed up everything as you left the reception, things most likely got disorganized. Instead of storing them like that, group like items together and take a count as you go.

Make note of how many white rose garlands you have left. Jot down the number of crystal candle bases you have available. Write down everything. You never know what might be useful to someone later.

Yes, MOB, there are a few duties to attend to after the wedding and taking inventory is one of them. Give yourself a few days reprieve and then dive in. Don’t neglect it. It will end up being a blessing to you and to others as well.

*You might also like to read After the Wedding: Thank Top-Notch Vendors and Prediction: A Special Memento for the Couple.

*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 May. One lucky subscriber will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble 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.)

*Hope this slightly revised encore post from February 2014 was helpful to you today!

*Flickr photo by DoNotLick, Creative Commons License

Wedding Day Checklist: Containers for Leftover Cake


Mother of the Bride, here’s a short and sweet Wedding Day reminder: Don’t forget containers for the leftover cake!

Yes, it’s hard to imagine that your guests might leave some of that wedding cake yumminess uneaten, but they sure do. Chances are you planned for more than enough cake because cake is one thing you don’t want to have in short supply at the reception. Also, not everyone will eat cake. Hard to believe, but true!

Check with your wedding cake baker to see if he or she provides boxes for the leftovers, and if not, be sure to bring your own containers. Something like the inexpensive food storage containers above works perfectly. These are even better than boxes because they’re air tight.

So, MOB, add containers to your wedding day checklist. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to indulge in extra bites as you pack the leftovers away! :)

*You might also like to read Comfy Shoes—Add This to Your Wedding Day List and Wedding Day Tip: A List for the Photographer.

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 16 post on my home page and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 12. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

*My photo

Midweek Morsel: The Great Exchange


Consider this scripture passage from Zechariah with me today. It’s a small portion of his account of a vision he had. As you read, imagine the scene in your mind’s eye:

“Then he [the angel] showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD . . . Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’

Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.’” Zechariah 3:1a, 3-4

Even though this vision was about a high priest and how he represented the sinful nation of Israel, as I read it I immediately pictured what Jesus does for us his children.

As we call on Jesus, asking him to forgive our sins and be our Savior, he removes our filthy sin-stained clothes. He forgives us, cleanses us, and dresses us in the rich garments of his salvation and righteousness. He puts on us the royal robes worn by the family of God. He performs the great exchange.

What great love and forgiveness Jesus extends to all who come to him in faith! Praise and thank him with me today, won’t you?

“. . . ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow . . . ’” Isaiah 1:18

*Have you received the royal robes of the family of God yet? If not, why not ask for His forgiveness and cleansing today!

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is underway. Details are in my Oct. 16 post and sign-up is to the right under “Free For You.” Deadline is 6 p.m. Nov. 12. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

*Flickr photo by Douglas Brown, Creative Commons License

Feelings of Unworthiness: A Tactic of the Enemy


Have you ever heard that voice inside your head say who do you think you are to be ________. You fill in the blank. That old and ever-on-the-job enemy of ours, Satan, likes nothing better than to cause us to doubt ourselves and walk away from the work God has given us to do. That’s right, that voice is his and that of his cohorts.

Satan has tried repeatedly to get me to give up writing. When he wants to undermine my writing ministry and work, he’ll say things like, “Who do you think you are to offer spiritual help or words of wisdom and encouragement? You’re not worthy of such a task.”

And you know what? Apart from the grace of God and his forgiveness and cleansing, I am indeed unworthy.

The fact is I mess up. I have issues. At times I struggle with doubt, confusion, and pride. Sometimes I blow it with sinful attitudes, harsh words, and selfishness. My relationships are not always all they should be. And because of these failures, Satan would have believe I’m unworthy to write and share God’s truth and messages of life. He wants me to believe that I’m not worthy of my task of Refreshing Spirits, Nourishing Souls.

But who, in fact, am I? I’m a child of the King. A servant called by God to write of the hope we have in him. Satan wants me to forget that. He wants me to quit writing of God’s love and hope and joy and truth. 

And even though the enemy delights in reminding me that I’m far from perfect, God’s Word tells me that I am forgiven, that I am loved. I’m called and equipped by God. And because Jesus paid the price for my sins and washed me white as snow, I am indeed worthy—worthy to be in God’s family, worthy to do the work he’s called me to do.  

And so, I will keep on writing for him. The enemy loses. I am a worthy child of the King.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

*Do you ever struggle with feelings of unworthiness? What does Satan want you to think you are unworthy to do or to have?

*Flickr photo by PetteriO, Creative Commons License