Since It All Begins With The Dress...
Don't Let It End After Your Wedding Night!
"I didn’t know about preserving wedding gowns 40 years ago when I got married. I wish I had because I can’t tell you how great it would be to hold that gown and remember walking down the aisle as I “swished” along. My sister-in-law, Margaret, made that dress. I wish I still had it.
I have the memories of the first dance with my new husband. All the pictures, the family and friends. The hugs and kisses that day were incredible. How young we were. What a wonderful day! But I’d love to hold my gown one more time. Memories will fade over time…but your gown can keep your memories fresh.
I didn’t have my gown cleaned and preserved. What a dumb decision! It eventually yellowed, the seams were all stretched out, and without much fanfare, it found its way to Goodwill, the trash…gosh, I don’t even know exactly what happened to it. But I remember seeing how old and yellowed it looked. I feel like part of me died…"
---Sherry Whitehurst, Wife of David Whitehurst, a Certified Wedding Gown Specialist and Owner of Champion Wedding Gown Specialist
Since your wedding is built around your lovely gown, you can keep these memories alive for years to come by properly cleaning and preserving your gown. Perhaps a younger sister or eventually a daughter or even a granddaughter might, one day, wear your gown on her wedding day.even more of a reason to keep this dream alive by cleaning and preserving your wonderful wedding gown.
Champion Wedding Gown Specialist uses the safest, most effective methods ever developed for cleaning, preserving and restoring wedding gowns and other special garments. Using MuseumCareTM Cleaning and Preservation methods, your gowns will look great for years to come. And we have an International Guarantee and our own Satisfaction Money Back Guarantee to stand with us.
Why Clean and Preserve Your Bridal Gown? Keeping your wedding gown in the best possible condition should be your primary concern. Let’s face it. Weddings can be hard on a gown. You may be dancing and moving around. The people attending your wedding want to talk with you all the while everyone is eating, drinking, dancing and just plain having a good time. Your wedding gown is exposed to all sorts of abuse. The hem may drag the ground…dirt and grass stains are common. You might step on the hem and tear the seams or bustle. You might close the limo door on the gown and get grease on it. There are so many calamities possible that it is difficult to avoid them all. For these reasons, you need to address the care for your gown as soon after the wedding as possible.
Spills containing sugar, salt and acid will usually dry clear and invisible to the naked eye and will turn yellow or brown over time. Our unique anti-sugar stain treatment, featured in Modern Bride and Brides, ensures that all sugar, salt and acid, seen or unseen, are removed.
After a wedding, many bridal gowns are returned to the plastic garment bag you received when you bought your gown just to get it home. And there it sits…for months or even years. Maybe you planned to get it cleaned and preserved right after the wedding…but perhaps “life” gets in the way of these good intentions. So what can happen to this gown?
Oxidation of Stains. The first problem is oxidation of stains. Just don’t make the mistake of keeping your gown in a plastic bag for any extended period of time. This includes plastic bags from you dry cleaner or even the thicker bag that came with your gown when you bought it. Gowns placed in plastic bags are exposed to chemical fumes that are quite harmful to the long-term maintenance of any garment. This is a common mistake but one easily corrected. These bags are intended to protect your gown during transport and for short periods of a week or two. Some gown cleaners will recommend cleaning and vacuum sealing the gown. Avoid this at any cost. It will damage your gown over the years.
What are the most common problems in cleaning and preserving your bridal gown?
Mold and mildew
Removing your gown from the plastic bag, getting it professionally cleaned and preserved by a Certified Wedding Gown SpecialistTM, and using totally acid-free materials to package your gown are the best protections against yellowing.
Having your gown cleaned and preserved is the best method to avoid oxidation spots that usually appear within a year. These stains typically result from sugar, salt and acid deposited on the gown from food, perspiration and makeup. The sooner these are discovered and addressed, the more likely is your chance of success in correcting this problem.
The best way to protect your gown against mold, mildew, light and dust is to clean and preserve it. Boxing your cleaned gown in a totally acid-free environment is the best method of preserving your gown successfully. Acid will contribute to discoloration of a gown over years, so it is important to use totally acid-free tissue and boxes. Some boxes are represented as acid free when all they have is just an acid-free coating. Don’t be fooled. Acid-free coatings are not the same as totally acid-free and can lead to discoloration. So how do you know? It’s difficult for the consumer to be sure. The best way is to be able to trust your gown care specialist. Champion Wedding Gown Specialist uses totally acid-free packaging. Guaranteed! Our acid-free, museum quality, archival wedding chest is the best in the business.
We can also seal the box (with totally acid-free tape, of course). This doesn’t mean that you cannot remove the gown. We provide white cotton gloves in your box to keep body oil from your hands off the gown. Body oils can cause a gown to yellow. And since we pack tissue extensively around the folds in the gown to prevent permanent creasing, you must re-pack the gown with the same extent of packaging in order to avoid these problems down the road. Proper boxing with tissue to cushion the folds has proven quite effective in preventing permanent fabric creases.
What is our process? All gowns have their own unique composition requiring knowledge of fabrics, weaves, construction and components such as lace, embroidery, beading, and other endowments. And of course, stains, seen or unseen are always an important consideration. We evaluate all of this information in designing a treatment plan for your gown.
Inspection - Our process begins with a careful inspection, preferably with you present. Your knowledge of the gown including any “accidents” that may have happened is always helpful at this stage. We will look for signs of sugar, salt and acid stains and use special blacklights to carefully examine the gown. We will inspect the hem to look for soil and wear as well as loose hems and seams. We will carefully inspect the gown and determine the fabric content since the fabric determines the exact cleaning treatment required. We will also check the gown for tears, which are not uncommon, especially with full-length gowns. We expert seamstress available to consult about repairs to your gown. It is your decision whether or not to repair the gown at this time.
It is important to understand that every wedding gown is cleaned individually with a treatment plan designed for that gown alone. We are not in the mass production business!
We will gladly provide a FREE EVALUATION of your gown or family heirloom and provide an estimate of our charge to clean and preserve this special memory.
Spot Treatment – We begin treatment by cleaning specific problem areas of the gown. We soak the hem line to remove soil and treat specific areas. We will hand-clean the sugar, salt and acid stains. We then inspect the gown again and will treat these same areas again until we are convinced that everything that we can do has been done to cure the problem.
Cleaning – Depending on the fabric content of all parts of the gown, we will either dry clean or wet clean the gown. We always test to identify the fabric content of the gown. Some gowns may be 100% silk, some may be 100% polyester and others may have both silk and polyester or other fabric components. Some gowns are not properly labeled so we always test to identify the fabric with near 100% certainty…with or without a care label. Your gown may have more than one care label it different components are made of different fabrics (for example the built-in slip may be polyester while the outer gown is silk). Beading and other adornments will also influence the exact treatment required. Needless to say, our experts will give your gown exactly the right cleaning treatment.
Following the initial cleaning, we give the gown another inspection and look at all of the trouble area. If needed, we will clean the gown again until it is as right as we can get it. Please understand that your wedding gown has been worn and, in some cases, seen rather harsh treatment. We cannot promise that we can restore the gown to its original look. But we can commit to getting it as near perfect as possible.
Bride’s Inspection - At this point, the gown is ready for your inspection. If it is possible for you to visit us, we will be glad to offer you an opportunity to personally inspect your gown before packaging. Any further touch ups or corrections will be made as needed.
Preservation - Only when you are satisfied will we carefully layer your gown with acid-free tissue and fold it into an acid-free, archival-quality wedding gown chest. Your wedding gown will not yellow and there will be no latent stains that might eventually develop into dark brown or yellow spots because we have taken the extra steps to ensure that all stains, both seen and unseen, are removed from your bridal gown. This is our promise and it’s backed up by an International Guarantee. The museum quality chest we use is actually rated to last many lifetimes when stored properly.
International Guarantee – We are committed to the lasting beauty of your bridal gown! By cleaning and preserving with Champion Wedding Gown Specialist, you may return your preserved gown to any of the more than 500 participating Certified Wedding Gown SpecialistsTM around the world who will inspect and press your bridal gown without charge. The International Guarantee of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists is as follows:
“100% International Guarnatee against caramelized sugar stains or yellowing of gown. Return gown to any participating Certified Wedding Gown SpecialistTM, who will inspect and press the gown at no charge. Improper handling of the gown without the supervision of a Wedding Gown Specialist may cause damage and compromise the true preservation of your gown.”
- By the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists.
Our commitment to quality bridal gown cleaning, preservation and restoration has earned the endorsement of the Association of Bridal Consultants. A blind test of four nationally-known gown preservation services conducted by the National Bridal Service proved our MuseumCareTM gown preservation the cleanest, provided the safest museum quality packaging environment, and offered the most comprehensive guarantee.
Champion Wedding Gown Specialist also extends an unconditional 30 day money back guarantee. No questions asked. If you aren’t completely satisfied and you return the chest in original condition, we will refund your cost of cleaning and preserving.
Please give our General Manager, Ric Pevey, a call to discuss any questions you might have about your gown care or our services at 205.588.4120.
Owner and Certified Wedding Gown Specialist
Recommended by 77% of couples
L · Married on 08/01/2009
Champion helped me out with my wedding dress twice, and I was very happy both times. I bought a dress at a sample sale that needed to be cleaned before the wedding. Champion was very careful with the delicate beading and netting (I think that's what you call it) on the top layer when they cleaned it. Then a few months later when I decided the 1st dress was not right for me and bought another one, I took that one to Champion to have it cleaned and boxed after the wedding. I used the Vestavia location the first time and the Hwy 280 location the second time, and both experiences were great.
Amy Latham · Married on 11/16/2018
Champion steamed my wedding dress and veil, they both looked perfect for the big day!
Rick · Married on 11/04/2017
My daughter is getting married in November and I wanted to have her use my Mother's bridal handkerchief as something old. It had discolored from 63 years of being stored and had many intricate beads. I went to many cleaners around the Chicago area ( yes Chicago ) and nobody would touch it. I contacted David and explained my situation and he said to send it to him and he would look and advise. David is a miracle worker! It came back to me just like I envision my Mom walking down the aisle with on her wedding day. Please call him even if you are far away as he will take care of you.
Champion can make sure your beautiful wedding gown is cleaned and preserved so that years from now, you can pass it down to your daughter or granddaughter. They do a GREAT job!