Your wedding may not be taking place immediately, but you will probably think about preserving your wedding gown after your ceremony. The important thing is being informed and educated about your options, so you can deal with the task when the time comes.
The good news? Your gown does not have to be cleaned immediately after the wedding or while you are on a honeymoon. You have a little more time than that. Most newly-wed ladies take or send their gown out for preservation treatment sometime during the first several months of marriage.
Since I knew little about cleaning or preserving a gown, I thought perhaps many others were not sure what steps to take either. So, I interviewed Rhonda Wernick, of Oakwood Cleaners right here in Nashville.
A Little History
Alan and Rhonda Wernick became the proud owners of Oakwood Cleaners in April of 2011. Carolyn and Surendra Kumar developed this well respected “greener” cleaners 20 years ago and were ready to move on to the next chapter in their life. Alan and Rhonda were looking for an opportunity to add another chapter to their life and hence, both families’ full filled a dream! Alan’s expertise in business finance and software development and Rhonda’s creative art profession was the perfect “marriage” to take this already respected and established business to the next level.
So what are they doing to create the “next level”? Not changing anything! Same certified “Green Earth” process, same certified 5-Star Couture Cleaners and Wedding Gown Specialists and best of all, same un-paralleled production staff, and customer service specialists. “Our wedding gown department excels with expertly trained staff to alter your gown, then clean and preserve your special memories after that special day,” says Rhonda.
My Interview with Rhonda Wernick of Oakwood Cleaners
Oakwood was already taking wedding gowns when we took over the company. We were already Nashville’s only members of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists and still are. I love taking in the wedding gowns and helping the bride preserve the memories she made on the day of her wedding. It is such a great feeling when we hand the bride her clean gown or open the preservation box and show her how artistically it is packaged. It is always a special moment.
Is there a lot of demand for the service?
There is a high demand for wedding gown cleaning. I would say 60% clean and preservation and 40% clean and press. Some brides are interested in sharing their gown with a friend or selling the gown. We offer a certificate of cleaning for those that are interested in selling.
And is the customer-base mostly local?
Yes, 95% of our customers are from Nashville or the surrounding area.
Tell the reader about what your preservation service involves? What you do, what the bride receives, etc.
Oakwood, Nashville’s only “Certified Wedding Gown Specialist”, offers MuseumCare™ gown preservations which include hand cleaning, anti-sugar stain treatment featured in Modern Bride and Brides, acid-free tissue and a completely acid-free archival-museum quality wedding chest. An international guarantee honored by Certified Wedding Gown Specialists™ and endorsed by the Association of Bridal Consultants accompanies each preservation. When you bring your gown in, please expect to spend at least 20 minutes with our customer service specialist as she inspects your gown with you. You will be asked to fill out an acceptance form and give us a form of payment at drop off. Cleaning and preservation takes approximately 4 to 6 months depending on how many gowns are ahead of yours. We use environmentally non-toxic cleaning solvents and the gown is boxed in a museum quality, acid free, ph balanced box. It will be stuffed with acid free tissue and wrapped in an un-bleached muslin blanket inside the box. The box is then placed in a muslin bag for extra protection.
Tell a bit about the preservation certifications you have. Those are prominent on your website.
We are Nashville’s only members of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists
We are endorsed by the Association of Bridal Consultants as a premier wedding gown specialist. We donate to the Carbonfund.org with every preservation. We continually get the Couples’ Choice Award on Wedding Wire and are recognized on The Knot as a premier destination for wedding gown services.
Any tips for the bride before she wears her gown?
All brides have this much in common--they love their wedding day! And it always goes by much too quickly. Of course, there is not a lot that bride can do to make your wedding day last longer, but there are things you can do to make sure the beauty of your wedding gown will last--if not forever, then at least for a very long time. Wedding gown care begins when you bring your gown home from the shop. Take your wedding gown out of the garment bag and hang it somewhere safe from little children and pets--perhaps in a spare room or from a hook you put into the ceiling for that purpose. If it will be several weeks until the wedding, you can protect your bridal gown from dust with a clean sheet or freshly-washed unbleached muslin. Cut a hole in the center of a king size sheet and put the hanger through it. This will allow the sheet or muslin to drape gently around your gown without causing wrinkles.
It is important to know whether your wedding gown is made from a natural fiber such as silk or linen, or an artificial fiber such as polyester or nylon. Then if you spill something on your wedding day you will know whether you can try to remove the stain. Water or club soda can remove coffee, tea, mud, or blood from polyester, but silks and rayons are water sensitive, and you may make permanent spots if you put water on them. If the stain is grease, lipstick, or another cosmetic that is not water soluble, you can try using a handi-wipe on polyester (test it on an inside seam first to be sure it will not disturb the color of your gown) but NEVER on silk! On silk it is probably safer to camouflage spots with something white and relatively harmless such as baking soda, cornstarch, or baby powder. Most important of all: remember that no matter how much you love your wedding gown, your family and friends share your happiness on your special day; they will be looking at you and not at any spots or tears on your bridal gown.
What does the bride need to do with her gown after the wedding to ensure better preservation results?
Have someone designated to be in charge of your gown. Make sure they know where your wedding gown bag and hanger are. If your gown got wet, let it dry before putting it in the bag. (Never put a wet wedding gown in plastic and stuff it in the trunk of your car). Your gown will be okay until you get home from your honeymoon. Yes, even if red wine spilled down the front or you got stuck in the rain and mud. Just remember - leave those stains alone. If you try to remove them yourself you can do more harm than good.
Can the bride wait until after the honeymoon to get her gown cleaned?
Does the wedding gown come to you usually from the bride herself or from her mother? And, generally, how long after the wedding?
Most of the time the bride brings in her gown and it is usually within 3 months of the wedding. Every now and then a friend will drop it off. When that occurs, we inspect it and wait for the bride to return from the honey moon to go over everything with her personally.
Do all three of your locations accept wedding dresses?
Yes. See the Oakwood Cleaners website for phone numbers and addresses. http://oakwoodcleaners.com/bridal/
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