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.