Monday, August 18, 2008

If Brides Only Knew

In my previous life (you know, when my career was my life, and I was able to take a shower without a toddler opening the curtain) I owned a Bridal Store. I learned very interesting things in this business, and some tricks that are just worth sharing.

My sister Jenn called the other day, asking for my “Professional Wedding Gown Advice." This topic always seems to challenge my memory because part of me has tucked away those bad memories in a very, very, safe place, the other part of me feels like that was such a lifetime ago, (okay, like three years ago) do I really remember anything? Well, the mind is an amazing thing. Even after you have had a baby and been vacationing on a teeny tiny island in the middle of nowhere for the past two and half years, you can STILL REMEMBER STUFF.

Here’s the situation in a nutshell: Her friend bought a wedding gown. The wedding gown is dirty. How does she clean it? Well, the answer is very simple. You throw it in the washing machine. What? You’re gasping too? I forgot how sharing insider information about the bridal business can make someone have an instant brain aneurysm. YES, YOU TURN THE GOWN INSIDE OUT, AND WASH IT ON A DELICATE CYCLE IN COLD WATER WITH LIQUID DETERGENT.

Now I must make a disclaimer, this is for MOST wedding gowns. There are a few fabrics out there for which this would not work. Like silk-satin for one. However, if you paid less than $1,500 for your gown there is a 99.9% chance the tag on your wedding dress says POLYESTER, (regardless if it feels like Italian Matte Satin, or Satin, or whatever. Polyester is made to look and feel like a lot of fabrics. Again, don’t gasp when you find out you actually wore polyester to your wedding.) and it is safe to throw it in the washer. Now, this may be a shocker as well, but almost all Bridal Stores have a washer on site, in their back room. I know, this seems deceitful and wrong, but lets face it, do you really care how your dress was cleaned?

To prove the truthfulness of this crazy concept to my sister, (who had a mild heart attack over the phone when I explained how to how clean the dress) I sent her some photos I took while visiting a major factory in China that produced most of our gowns. It shows them washing BRAND NEW WEDDING GOWNS IN A WASHER. How do you think we learned this great trick? From “the people in the know” of course! Here is a peek into what goes on in a Chinese factory:



The worker is hand washing one gown in a RUBBERMAID CONTAINER. Check out the washer, and the other gowns just hanging out in their very own Rubbermaid containers.

So please, if you have a stinky old wedding gown in your closet just sitting there waiting for you to justify spending $200 on dry cleaning it, WAIT NO LONGER. Go get your dress, AND WASH IT TONIGHT. It will feel like you saved a TON OF MONEY.

11 comments:

Eileen said...

This blog is such a great idea! Trust Andrea to think of it. I can't wait to see more.

Ashlee Dunlap said...

That is fabulous info! I wore my gown 2 years ago (I had it hand made by a friend of my mother's)..and my sister just wore it 2 weeks ago. We had it cleaned then, and it needs it again before ..yet another sister will wear it in about 5 months from now. They all love my gown so much, what can I say! I'll have to pass this info along! Thanks!!

Andrea said...

Great tips Emily. My sister is borowing my cousins gown, and I am sure it needs a cleaning. I will have to pass the news on to both of them.

Krysta said...

Your post made me laugh. I can't wait to read more of what is talked about on this blog!

Lindsey and Nick said...

Wow, that is amazing. I had no idea. My wedding dress is still sitting in my closet from 4 years ago. I know thats bad right? I just never wanted to pay to have it cleaned. Do you think that it has been too long or would it still come clean?

Emily said...

Don't worry about how long your dress has been dirty. Just clean it now! :) Another trick to get REALLY dirty spots out (you know, the visible dirty spots)is to take a wet, white wash cloth and put liquid ivory soap (the hand dish detergent) on it and then apply it to the dirty spot. Rub the ivory soap over the spot and watch it disappear before your eyes. It's like magic. :) We spot cleaned dresses all the time and this formula will take out make-up, dirt, lipstick, greasy finger marks, etc. Good luck!

Donna said...

What a savings! Thanks for the idea. I will share it with my family and friends. I will also pass along info on your wonderful site.

Vanderbeeks Images said...

I will have to pass this onto all those brides that we photograph before the wedding day so they can display a huge portrait of themselves as people enter their reception.

terahreu said...

I was just thinking of doing a 'Trash the Dress' photoshoot until I saw your post. My dress has been sitting in a closet, and has been all over the world...dirty and unkept. I will give this a try, if my machine is big enough! Thanks for the tip.

Melanie J said...

Emily!

I totally know you! I stumbled across the blog through Mormon Mommy blogs and I thought, "That picture looks awfully familiar." I think I worked with her at the Limited. Then this wedding dress post confirmed it. How the heck are you?!!! I'd love to catch up with you. You can email me at melanie53 at hotmail dot com. Or you can track me down through my blog. So fun to find you!

Brad Wike said...

You got a point there, Emily. Self-cleaning your own wedding gown can save you more money than having it dry-cleaned. You just got to be gentle on doing it. Anyway, it’s good that your sister’s friend found her gown’s condition earlier. Otherwise, self-cleaning her dress on her big day would be hard.

Brad Wike