Writing about weddings has allowed me to live vicariously through the best and worst of brides’ and their guests’ stories. Every girl deserves a perfect day, but no one can plan for everything–there are always details out of the bride and groom’s control. Which is why elements that can be planned and cared for beforehand, like the bride and her party’s dresses, are of the utmost importance.

So where does a gal begin to make her checklist of necessary steps? Wedding planners and friends are great resources because they’ll be able to share what worked for them, and–most importantly–what didn’t. And when it comes to caring for the most beautiful–and chances are, most expensive!–garment of your life, Davis Imperial is one name that tends to pop up repeatedly, since they offer an extensive list of quality services many brides don’t even know are available. Below is a quick snapshot of how they can help make your day as dreamy and stress-free as possible.

1. Fit and Style
–Unless you had your dress custom made for you (lucky lady!), it will need some alterations. Davis Imperial’s wedding gown coordinator works in collaboration with a seamstress to provide –in meticulous detail– whatever minor or major alterations are needed. Whether it is a simple hem or a complete restoration and re-styling of a vintage piece, they’ll care for your dress as though it were a priceless heirloom–which, with the right care, it will be some day.

2. Appearance
–It’s your big day, your girls are gathered around, and suddenly you realize the dresses you picked for them look perfect…except for the fact that they wrinkle easier than tin foil. Davis Imperial not only offers pressing services for the entire party, going so far as to deliver the gowns to the event location, but they also offer on-location experts that can tend to all the dresses in the party whether it’s right before you walk down the aisle, or right before you walk into the reception.

3. Preservation
This is one of the lesser-known (or anticipated) steps for newly-engaged gals, since it happens after the ceremony, but it is one of the most important, and could make or break the chances of a dress surviving the test of time. When it comes to cleaning your dress and ensuring it will look brand new for your daughter or granddaughter someday, Davis Imperial’s trademarked MuseumCare™ Preservation is second to none. And they’re recommended by the Chicago History Museum–an entire brand whose identity relies on ensuring dated items retain their quality.

Their Clean Room Preservation Laboratory and Museum Inspection Area–located on site–allows their technicians to carefully inspect every inch of a garment, identifying areas soiled by stains detrimental to fabric if ignored. Stains such as white wine and champagne that dry clear and are invisible to the naked eye are located, identified and hand cleaned by Davis technicians that have been with their company over 35 years. This meticulous procedure prevents the dreaded yellow stains that would eventually surface, and gradually darken to black, completely degrading the fabric.

After hand cleaning, the gown is hand-ironed following the designer’s line and drape, and then packaged in 100% acid-free (including the wedding chest!) archival quality packaging. White cottons gloves are included with the preservation (in order for the bride to be able to handle her gown without transferring oils and salt from her hands to the gown). No sealed boxes with little windows here! Preservations are accomplished the same way that the Museum Conservation Institute of the Smithsonian Institution and The Chicago History Museum preserve textiles. This type of preservation is classified as an open preservation, which allows for natural fibers to breathe, and allows viewing of the gown over time.

To learn more about the full list of Davis Imperial pre- and post-services available to the bride and her wedding party, click here.

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