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How Long Will a Wedding Dress Stay White?

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Whether it’s before the wedding or after, everyone wants their wedding dress to stay as white and clean as possible. Most brides plan on keeping their dresses forever, so they can eventually pass them along to children or sell them later as vintage dresses.

How long will a wedding dress stay white?

Your wedding dress will stay white practically forever, as long as you preserve it correctly. Storing it properly is a must to avoid yellowing and other forms of discoloration.

You are paying a lot for the dress and want it to look as clean and brilliant as possible. So if you’re wondering how long your wedding dress will stay white, here are some tips on preserving it and keeping it in excellent condition.

a bride's wedding shoes and wedding dress on the bed

Storing Your Dress Before the Wedding

On average, people spend thousands of dollars on wedding dresses. Most of the time, it’s the most expensive item of clothing a person will ever purchase.

After spending so much money on the dress, it’s normal to be extra cautious about who can touch it, how often you can take it out, and where you keep it.

The problem is, you’ll have to wear it before you say your vows. A lot of ceremony is involved in the typical wedding, and much of it requires a bride in a wedding dress.

So whether it’s for pictures or before you walk down the aisle, you’re going to be in it more than you might think.

Storing your dress before the wedding is challenging because you need to move it around.

Typically, the dress you buy will need alterations, and if you’re having a destination wedding, it will need to make it through the airport and a plane ride.

The most important thing you’ll want to do is avoid stains. Everything else is usually fixable.

Surprisingly, pollen and stains from flowers or falling plants are very common. People love taking wedding photos outside, but all it takes is for a single wet bud to hit your dress and you risk staining it.

Tips to Prevent Stains and Damage

Here are some tips on how you can avoid staining and otherwise damaging your wedding dress:

  • React Quickly — If you see a stain from a flower bud on your dress, the best thing you can do is react quickly to blot the dress. Things like stain remover pens that you can buy in any grocery store work very well. Mark the area and hope the dirt or whatever else is on it vanishes.
  • Keep the Dress in a Garment Bag — Whenever you move your dress, keep it in a zipped garment bag. It’s not worth the risk of ruining your dress, even if it’s a short trip. In addition, garment bags are the ideal storage method for the weekend before your ceremony and for long-term storage.
Wedding Dress in White Hanging Garment Bag on the back of the Couch
  • Pad Embellishments With Tissue Paper — One thing you need to worry about with garment bags because it’s easy for damage to happen when the bag bumps into things. The bag’s soft surfaces keep the white color, but they don’t guarantee that embellishments won’t get ruined if something lands on it while the bag is draped over a couch. As an added precaution, pad any decorations with white tissue paper. It must be strictly white. Any yellowish paper could stain your dress.
  • Limit Your Time in the Dress — Don’t spend time sitting around in your dress. Even if you don’t end up staining it, you increase the odds of wrinkling it before walking down the aisle. Instead, putting on your dress should be late in the schedule of wedding day to-dos. This helps you avoid getting makeup or hair products on it.

In general, treat your wedding dress with exceeding care, and it will be in excellent condition on your wedding day.

Storing Your Dress After the Wedding

Yellowing Is Your Biggest Challenge

Elegant wedding dress, shoes and bouquet in room

After the wedding and all the photographs are finished, it’s time to figure out what to do with your dress.

By far, the biggest issue you need to be worried about is yellowing.

Depending on your dress, preventing any yellowing may be impossible — some materials like silk and nylon will yellow more than others.

Also, if your dress is in long-term storage in a box or hanging in a garment bag, you could take it out years later and discover that it’s a shade darker.

Generally, wedding dresses will start to yellow at around six months without proper preservation or cleaning. So if you’re buying your wedding dress well ahead of your wedding, that’s something to keep in mind.

Likewise, keeping your dress requires regular maintenance if you want it to keep its original color.

To prevent yellowing, do the following:

  • Avoid light exposure
  • Keep the dress covered in white sheets in a non-plastic garment bag
  • Clean every six months
  • Follow designer treatment instructions

Hiring a Professional Wedding Dress Preservation Service

If you want your dress to stay pristine white for more than six months, you need to go further and work on wedding dress preservation.

Of course, you can DIY preservation, but if you’ve spent a lot of money on your dress, you may want to consider paying for a professional service.

Luxury wedding dress in white box, beige women's shoes and bridal bouquet on bed

Here are some of the services they offer:

  • Vacuum-Sealed Storage — Companies will vacuum seal your wedding dress and keep it in a special box to prevent any staining or discoloration. If you store it in a container without the seal, any contact in the box can damage the dress.
  • Bagging Service — Professionals will go through your dress, reinforce any vulnerable areas with tape, and hang the dress. The tape relieves the weight of gravity from straining certain parts of the dress and guarantees that it can hang for years. Then, they put it in a cotton bag and use a padded hanger to keep it on a rack long-term.
  • Special Boxes — Preservation services use acid-free boxes for your dress storage. They’ll fold the dress delicately and use acid-free tissue paper on the creases to prevent them from becoming permanent lines in the dress. The box isn’t sealed because it needs to let air in to prevent any damage from lack of airflow.

The Cost of Professional Preservation

White wedding dresses in a bridal boutique

If you are considering going the professional preservation route, you should probably plan to pay around $300-$500 for the service. It’s a lot of money, but you probably spent even more on the dress.

Avoid Extreme Temperature Changes

If you want to keep your wedding dress white for as long as possible, keep it somewhere it won’t be exposed to large temperature swings.

A storage unit, for instance, can sometimes get extremely hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Damage is even more likely if you live somewhere humid where high moisture levels increase the risk of mold.

If possible, opt for a climate-controlled unit to avoid damage.

Final Thoughts

Holding onto your dress and keeping it white helps you relive the unforgettable memories of your wedding and all of the people there. You can keep it as a family heirloom or for someone special in your life to wear when they get married.

Taking special care of your dress will prevent stains and faded colors before your wedding and for years to come.