For the majority of brides, their wedding dress is one of the most important aspects of their special day. It is also among the most memorable, especially because it gets immortalized through wedding photos. Because of this, many brides choose to preserve their wedding dress, the first step to which is getting it cleaned.
Professional wedding dress dry cleaning services cost around $100 to $200. However, that is only the base price. Factors such as the type of fabric used, the presence of stains, the complexity of details, and the age of the dress will influence the final cost.
The seven factors that influence the wedding dress dry cleaning cost are explained below, followed by reasons why you should get your wedding dress dry cleaned. Lastly, some tips to remember regarding wedding dress dry cleaning are also given.
Factors That Affect Wedding Dress Dry Cleaning Cost
The dry-cleaning cost of wedding dresses usually falls from $100 to $200. While the starting prices may vary across different dry-cleaning facilities, the final cost is influenced by several factors. However, remember that any price beyond $500 is too expensive; it is best for you to look for a different dry-cleaner.
1. Type of Fabric Used
Lace dresses are typically more expensive to dry clean. Some fabrics are also sensitive and delicate, such as silk, taffeta, and organza. Delicate materials do not react well to common cleaning detergents and equipment, hence the need for specialized equipment that dry cleaning companies have.
2. Presence of Stains
If your wedding dress has some small, insignificant stains, the price may not be affected at all. Stains that are easy to remove include grass and dirt stains. However, if removing the stains will be complicated, the company will increase the price. For instance, removing oil stains from your body on your wedding gown may cost an additional $15 to $50.
3. Complexity of Details
If your dress is customized with crystals, beads, and other embellishments, it will make the dry-cleaning cost considerably higher. Heavy beading, in particular, can raise the dry-cleaning cost to about $500. Furthermore, dresses with beads and sequins are not compatible with perchloroethylene, which is a common solvent for dry-cleaning fabrics.
4. Storage After the Dry-Cleaning Process
After your wedding dress has been dry cleaned, the facility may offer to put it in a box instead of a bag. Getting a box is the better option if you want to preserve your dress, but you may have to pay an extra $50 to $125 to do so. However, you can always retrieve the dress in a bag then put it in a box yourself.
5. Cost of Living in Your Area
Simply put, some areas are more affordable to live in than others. You will find that companies based in metropolitan areas and city centers often charge higher for the same service than those in rural or suburban areas. This difference in cost accounts for varying management prices, such as rent, maintenance, and utilities.
6. Age of the Dress
If your wedding dress was bought and then altered leading up to your special day, this factor will not be of concern. However, if it was passed down to you by your parent or relative, you may need to take this into consideration. Specifically, some dry-cleaning companies may charge more or recommend a different procedure — restoration — if the dress was worn at least 20 years ago.
The majority of wedding dress dry cleaners will already have insurance included in the base rate. However, some companies may charge extra for insurance. This is a safety net for the customer in the worst-case scenario that something bad happens to their dress.
Should You Get Your Wedding Dress Dry Cleaned?
Do You Want to Preserve Your Wedding Dress?
Many brides want to preserve their wedding dress in its best condition for multiple reasons. Besides the fact that it is a highly sentimental keepsake present across all wedding photos, they can also pass it down to their children in the future. If done right, even their grandchildren can use it.
If this is what you envision for your wedding dress, then you must get it professionally dry cleaned. Not only will professional dry cleaners be able to remove stubborn or hidden stains, but they will also neutralize the fibers of your wedding dress to ensure that no yellowing of the fabric will occur.
Do You Want to Re-Sell Your Dress?
Firstly, there is no shame in wanting to sell your dress after your wedding. In certain circumstances, selling your wedding dress makes sense — finances might be tight, there is no room for it in your place, or the dress has become associated with negative memories. Regardless of what your reason is, you are more than welcome to sell your wedding dress.
If you want to re-sell your dress, then you should get it dry cleaned. Dry cleaning is one of the safest, quickest, and cheapest ways to clean your dress. It is also courtesy toward the next bride-to-be who will buy your dress.
Benefits of Dry Cleaning Your Wedding Dress
- Removes stains, both visible and not-so-visible. Some stains are not easily observable, and they may appear after some time has passed. Getting your dress dry cleaned takes care of both the visible and not-so-visible stains.
- Protects your dress from discoloration. The color of your dress may fade or change over time. White, cream, and ivory dresses may eventually become yellow, and gowns in other colors may lose their vibrance. These effects are exacerbated if the dress is exposed to sunlight or not cleaned.
- Eliminates the stretching of fiber. Dresses left hanging in a wardrobe are at risk of fiber stretching. Putting the dress in a box after having it dry cleaned removes this risk.
Do I Have to Do Anything Before Going to the Dry Cleaners?
No, you do not. Professional dry cleaners may even urge you not to do anything to your dress before handing it over, as you may accidentally damage it.
However, if you still want to be involved in the dry-cleaning process, you can examine your dress and take note of what needs special attention. While doing so, you are advised to use cotton gloves while inspecting the dress. Likewise, make sure that the surface you will lay the dress on is clean.
Things you need to look out for include stains, dirty spots, and whether the trim should be dry cleaned. Additionally, take note of how the decorations, embellishments, and customizations are attached to your dress. Once you have the information you need, you can let the dry cleaners know; you can also use it as a reference once you get the dress back.
Can I Do It Myself?
It is possible to dry clean your wedding dress at home. However, if you do not have prior experience, you are discouraged to do so. You might not have the necessary equipment and skills to remove all the stains, clean the entire dress, all while maintaining its condition. You also run the risk of ripping or destroying the gown. If you have the budget, it is best to avail of the services of professional dry cleaners.
Tips to Remember for Wedding Dress Dry Cleaning
How Long Does the Dry-Cleaning Process Take?
The process of dry cleaning your wedding dress can take anywhere from a few days to an entire month. The factors influencing the wedding dress dry cleaning cost also influence the amount of time it will take to finish.
Additionally, the dry cleaner may have a lot of orders they need to attend to; your wedding dress may need to wait in line. Furthermore, some dry cleaners need to transport the dress to another facility. This may be due to a lack of proper equipment at that specific branch or that branch only gathers the clothes to be sent to their cleaning facility.
Refer to the Care Label
When you buy your wedding dress, it will come with a care label that outlines what you should and should not do to it while cleaning. It also contains important information, such as the fiber content of your dress, where it was manufactured, and the name of the manufacturer.
You must not lose the care label of your wedding dress; it may tell you that you cannot get your wedding dress dry cleaned. Overall, the care label is the best resource for determining what is the right way of caring for your dress.
Ask a Lot of Questions
Your wedding dress carries a lot of emotional meaning and significance; it is only natural for you to want the best for it. Its sentimental value makes it intimidating to hand over to anyone, even a professional dry cleaner. To offset this anxiety, ask questions regarding their certifications, processes, and inclusions. Here are a few questions you can consider asking:
- Do they perform the cleaning on-site? Some dry cleaners do not have the necessary equipment to handle the fabrics and materials of your wedding gown. If that is the case, they have to ship it to another facility. Not only does shipping run the risk of damaging your dress, but you may also have to cover its costs.
- Do they offer a warranty? Ask the dry cleaners if they can show you a certificate of guarantee. If they do not, that is an immediate red flag; it is best to look for a different dry-cleaning service provider.
- Do they have insurance?
- Do they have referrals? Talking to past clients or hearing their reviews can assure you of the quality of a dry cleaner’s work. Likewise, it can also tell you that they might not be the best person to hire for the job.
- How is the dress packaged after cleaning? As mentioned above, some dry cleaners will offer to put your wedding dress in a box after cleaning. This is the better option for preservation. Make sure that the box and tissue paper are both acid-free.
- What experience do they have? Gowns with intricate designs and delicate fabrics necessitate more experience on the dry cleaner’s part; for instance, materials such as beads and silks require more attention and care. They need to know what they are doing to ensure that your dress stays in the best condition.
Get the Dress Dry Cleaned as Soon as Possible
Ideally, you would get your wedding dress dry cleaned on the day immediately after the wedding. This ensures that stains will be removed, and the overall quality of the dress will be preserved. Letting the dress stay dirty for an extended period may degrade its condition.
If it is not possible to get your wedding dress dry cleaned quickly, place it in a room that does not have a high temperature or humidity. Do not put them into plastic containers or vacuum-sealed bags, as doing so may make your pristine white dress turn yellowish.
Shipping Your Wedding Dress to the Dry Cleaners
On rare occasions, you may have to ship your wedding dress to a location that can dry clean it for you. It may seem very intimidating, but there are a few ways you can ensure that your wedding dress will not get damaged on its way:
- Place your gown in a garment bag.
- Add layers of tissue in the folds of the dress. This will lessen the damage and wrinkling that could occur while your dress is being transported.
Consider Your Options
Traditionally, brides have gone to physical locations to get their wedding dresses dry cleaned. Instead of hiring the first dry cleaner you come across, you should survey the area and compare their offered services and prices. This gives you an idea of the average cost and allows you to make better decisions.
You can also look into hiring an online wedding dress dry cleaning service provider. This option is highly convenient, as you can simply wait for an insured shipping box to be mailed to you. Once you receive this box, you can carefully place your dress inside and ship it back to the company. If you are considering going with this option, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Look into the company’s business practices and history. Ideally, they would have been in service for a considerable amount of time.
- Read reviews from previous customers. Gauge whether the reception is positive, negative, hit-or-miss, and so on.
- Ask if they can accommodate additional items, such as your veil, shoes, purse, and other accessories.
- Ask the same questions you would to physical locations.
- Ensure that they are not ripping you off. Even the most complex and bespoke dresses will not necessitate over $500 in fees.
- Ask if the two-way shipping costs are covered by the company. Ideally, this would already be included in the dry-cleaning package.
Ask to See the Dress Before It Is Stored
Sometimes, the dry cleaner may pack your dress for storage. Besides asking if the box and tissues are both acid-free, you must also inspect it for any remaining stains or missing parts. Some brides have shared stories of not doing this step, only to find out that their dress or accessory had either been misplaced or damaged.
Though there are other options available, dry cleaning your wedding dress is one of the safest methods for getting it cleaned. It increases your chances of having a wedding dress that you can cherish for a lifetime and pass down to your children; likewise, if you want to sell it, dry cleaning is a great way to ensure that its value is still high.