Sunday, March 9, 2014

My experience with Heritage Garment Preservation

As you know, Heritage Garment Preservation did a lovely little blog feature on my wedding dress story. I am now finally getting to share about my experience with them! 

The little blue flower (top right) was dirty before I sent it in to be cleaned.
I did a lot of research on wedding gown cleaning and preservation before deciding to go with Heritage. I had a couple suggestions from different friends and vendors, but ultimately, after reading this article from the Wall Street Journal, and comparing many options, I felt the most comfortable with Heritage. For me, it was important to be able to see that my gown was clean and properly preserved. For some reason, only being able to see the top half of it in a box that I couldn't open just didn't feel right to me. My best friend and MoH, Emily, told me that when she got her gown back from one of those "box companies," she couldn't figure out where the rhinestone brooch from her garter went. After staring at the box for the longest time, she finally saw that they had stuck the brooch right in the middle of the gown. *Shudders* She couldn't unseal the box to fix it, so now it's stuck there and the beautiful garter is just plain and brooch-less. *Sigh*

What I Chose
That being said, I decided to go with Heritage, and I am very glad I did. I decided on the Heritage Select™ Museum Method. I got an instant online estimate for my dress, which was considered Average size. I also discovered their Payment Plan, which helped a lot financially! I ordered a shipping kit (to send the dress to them), and added extra insurance, a Custom Preservation Label, and a Bouquet Preservation Box which I plan to use for my silk bouquet and other items (hair flowers, garter, ring pillow, etc.) that I want to keep archival safe.

The Process
At the beginning of November, they sent me the shipping kit with instructions and a pre-paid label. I put my dress and veil inside and shipped it off to them. Carmina, the contact person, was great communicating with me and answering all my questions and concerns via e-mail and phone. They let me know when they started working on my gown, and told me that due to the unique fabric (organza), they felt their hand cleaning process was perfect for it. I received my gown back the first week of February. (Keep in mind, the process doesn't generally take that long, but I chose to use their Payment Plan, so they didn't send me back my gown until payment was complete...which I knew would be the case ahead of time.)

The Results
When I finally had the chance to drive back to my parents' house in Maryland (where I am storing my gown), I opened the box for the first time to see the gown. It was very well packaged, and the cotton preservation bag itself was wrapped nicely in another vinyl garment bag (for protection). The cotton preservation bag was great--it was clean and sturdy, and I feel comfortable storing my dress in it. I immediately admired the Custom Preservation Label, and the white gloves they included for handling the gown. I put those on and opened the preservation bag, and was happy and relieved to see my gown there, clean, and pristine. I checked the skirts, which were packed in acid-free tissue, and was ecstatic to see that it was clean. When Olga made the bustle for my dress, she added a small blue flower in the skirts which had gotten very dirty by the end of my wedding night. The small blue flower was all clean! 

The Cost
I would say the cost is in the mid-price range. I did a lot of research and found some really affordable options as well as some really unaffordable (expensive!) options. You can check their Current Discounts or Facebook pages for ongoing promotions. (Right now for the month of March, they are offering $50 off using coupon code Couture50off.)

Final Words
I am happy that I have my gown back, and I'm even happier to know that it's clean, that it's safe, and that it's protectedHeritage has wonderful customer service, and did a quality job on cleaning and preserving my gown. I cant wait to show it to my daughter some day.

the Bride

I was not compensated for this post. Heritage approached me to ask me if they could write a blog feature on my wedding dress story after I had already decided to write about my positive experience with them.


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