Hang straps and tissue paper are your friends!

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bridesmaids gathered around hanging wedding dress ball gown
Credit: Erich McVey

Your final wedding dress fitting will likely take place anywhere from two weeks to a few days before the big day. Brides, this is what we call the home stretch. But once your tailor has ticked off all the boxes to ensure a perfect fit, it's up to you to take your wedding dress home and keep it safe until the ceremony. As it turns out, there is a right way-and a wrong way-to store your bridal gown in the days leading up to your wedding.

Packing is important.

Thankfully, your seamstress should handle this part. "Your gown should be freshly pressed, hung by the hang straps, packed on a bust form or tissue paper, and enclosed in both a plastic and fabric garment bag by your tailor," says Erica Chasco-Smith, director of stores at Lovely Bride. "If one of these items is missing, do not hesitate to ask!"

Hang straps are your friends.

Those pesky hang straps might drive you crazy on your everyday clothes, but trust us, you're going to want them on your wedding dress-at least leading up to the big day. "Ensuring that the weight of the dress is being supported by hang straps rather than a delicate neckline or straps will keep your gown from stretching or becoming misshapen," Chasco-Smith tells us, adding that if brides notice they are missing, they should ask their tailors to sew them in.

Location, location, location.

"Find a spot in your home that is cool, dry, and dark," Chasco-Smith says, such as a closet or a second bedroom that's not accessible to children or animals. "While we love tiny hands and pet paws, be sure to place your dress out of their reach to avoid stains and snags."

To hang or not to hang.

Most dresses can be hung (say it with us: by the hang straps!) for a few weeks. However, the form of storage ultimately depends on length of time and fabric type. "If your wedding is months away, find a place where it can lay flat and out of sunlight," Chasco-Smith suggests. "A gown that is heavily beaded, cut on the bias, or a very open lace-think crochet, battenburg, or guipure-should be stored laying down for any period of time to avoid stretching." Ask your seamstress if you're not sure.

Bon voyage!

Whether you're jetting off to a destination wedding or driving a short distance, you'll want to take steps to ensure your dress travels safely. Start by layering acid-free tissue paper around your gown and between the folded layers to avoid any fabric friction, Chasco-Smith says. "When traveling by car, lay your gown across the back seat or on top of any heavy luggage," she continues. "When traveling by plane, call ahead and ask if you'll be able to store your gown in the first class closet. Even those can be snug, so a great second option is purchasing a travel garment bag made of a durable fabric. This can be hand-carried or folded compactly into a carry on for extra protection so that it never leaves your side and can fit safely in the overhead bin above you."

Now all that's left is some last-minute steaming-oh, and marrying the love of your life.


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