How to look after your valuable outfit before, during and after the wedding…
Whether you plan to wear it again, give it on to a loved one or simply preserve it as a cherished memory, your precious lehenga or sari is worth all the care and attention you can give it. Follow our guide to taking care of what’s likely to be the most important garment you ever wear – and probably the most expensive!
Before the wedding
- Once you have brought the outfit home, hang it up to avoid any creasing.
- Stuff the sleeves and bodice with paper or fabric so they keep their shape.
- Ensure that there are no loose crystals, beads or threads that may unravel or fall off on the day.
- Put your outfit on at the last possible minute to minimize the risk of creasing or spills.
- Handle the lehenga or sari carefully to avoid treading on the hem or pulling the trim.
- Be sure to cover your blouse and chunni with a towel or cloth if you refresh your make‐up just in case something spills. A tissue over your lips will protect the inside of your blouse from lipstick when you dress.
- The pins used to hold in place the hairstyle, jewellery or flowers on your head, should have smooth edges, to prevent rips and tears in the delicate fabric of the chunni.
During the wedding
- A heavy lehenga can be difficult to handle when sitting down or getting up, particularly if you’re having a traditional ceremony that requires you to sit on the ground. Have your sister or friend to assist you and to adjust the fabric so that it doesn’t get caught in the embellishments causing them to come off.
- Some real flowers can seriously stain fabric. Ask your florist to remove any powdery stamens and any blossoms that are likely to stain.
- Know the fabric of your outfit. The shop where you buy your outfit from should be able to advise you on fibre content and what to do in case of a spill. When you spill something on artificial fibre, it is much easier to get rid of the stain than if you spill something on a natural fibre such as silk. Natural fibres are hollow and absorb the spill.
- If you spill food or drink on your outfit, lightly dab with a white cloth or plain kitchen paper, rather than a coloured serviette as it could leave a mark.
- Don’t try to dilute a stain on silk with water or you might end up with a disfiguring watermark.
After the wedding
- It is important to take your bridal attire to a specialist drycleaner for cleaning within a month after your wedding. The longer you wait the more likely it is that the stains will bond to the fabric.
- The dress should be given individually rather than in combination with other outfits.
- Alert the dry cleaners to any stains and delicate parts such as embroidery or sequins and get their assurance that a cleaning process will be used that does not damage these.
- Always ask to inspect your outfit personally after dry cleaning
- Avoid storing your outfit in the attic or basement where there are extreme changes in conditions. Ideally it should be stored in an area with an even temperature and low humidity, such as a dark, dry cupboard.
- Do not store your wedding outfit in plastic covering as this will prevent the fabric from breathing and will eventually cause a dulling of the fabric’s colour.
- For storing it is best to fold rather than hang the outfit. Wrap in a clean, white, all cotton sheet or muslin cover and place in a wooden chest or a large box lined with acid‐free paper.
- A single duvet cover is ideal for covering the lehenga if it’s hanging in a cupboard – just fasten the poppers over the hanger. Do not use a wire hanger, instead a padded hanger will help the dress hold its shape.
- Add some lavender sachets or dried neem leaves to keep moths away, then seal the chest or box.
- Take the lehenga out of storage at least once a year, preferably in dry weather and hang it in the sun for a few hours. If you have a fabric cover, this should be washed and dried thoroughly before being put back on.
- Check your outfit for marks or damage and re‐fold it to prevent the fabric from weakening at the creases.