Our Process | Happily Ever Dress Preservation - a guide to dress cleaning

A Detailed Guide to the Dress Preservation Service

When an order is placed on our website.

  • An email is sent to the customer to confirm the order and the address for shipping.
  • A shipping kit is sent to the customer.
    • The kit contains a shipping box, a shipping label, a protective bag, the Gown Detail Form and instructions.
  • The customer packages the gown for shipment and takes it to a FedEx location.
  • Tracking emails are sent to confirm FedEx's receipt of the package and delivery to our facility.

The package arrives at our facility:

  • Each gown and its accessories are checked into our inventory with control tags.
    • Your order number, is the inventory control number used throughout the process. We use the order number for every step including shipment. This gives universal access throughout the process to locate and control inventory.
    • Each item is photographed for inventory control, including accessories.
    • The Gown Detail Form is reviewed and any specific instructions from the customer are added to our inventory control software. We encourage your input on the form.
    • The gown is now checked in to our system and an email is sent to confirm its arrival.
    • Repairs are performed prior to cleaning, as well as post-cleaning when needed. Minor repairs are included with our services (up to $15 value). Should repairs exceed $15, we will contact you with an estimate before proceeding with your order. 

      Cleaning Service

      • Our goal is to provide each gown with the highest level of care. To ensure quality, Greg and Jeff Schwegmann, owners of Happily Ever After Preservation, The Knot's trusted cleaning and preservation provider, personally oversee the cleaning and preservation process of every gown.
        • All gowns are cleaned individually. All gowns are pre-treated for spots and stains. The hem lines and underarms are specially treated, and a black light is used to find invisible stains such as white wine stains.
        • The gown is inspected post cleaning. Additional spot cleanings are performed as needed.
        • Once cleaning is complete, the gown is moved to our finishing department for steaming and pressing.

          Pressing and steaming:

          • The gown is hand-steamed and pressed.
            • After pressing, the gown is inspected again. We check that all requests notated on the Gown Detail Form have been addressed, that all stains that can be removed are removed, that after pictures are sent (taken by request only), that repairs are performed. Once our inspector is satisfied, the gown moves to our preservation department and is ready for preservation.


              • The gown is moved to a climate-controlled room for the preservation process.
              • All materials used for preservation are acid free and of archival quality, and all gowns receive white-glove service.
              • The completed gown is placed on a bust form to maintain its shape and display its beauty. The gown is placed in a preservation box with a viewing window.
              • The box is sealed to protect the gown from the elements.
              • Nitrogen is injected into the box to create a sterile environment.
              • The completed gown is placed in an outer box to protect the inner box.
              • Lastly, it is placed in an outer box for additional protection.
              Delivery to customer:
                • Once preservation is complete, an email is sent informing the customer that the order is complete. The customer is asked to confirm any changes to the shipping address.
                • The customer receives a tracking email when FedEx picks up the package.
                • We require FedEx to obtain a signature for delivery. We can arrange shipping to another address, or your package can be picked up at a local FedEx facility. We do not waive signatures for wedding gowns. 
                • The customer receives an email once FedEx indicates that the gown has been delivered.

                  Additional information:

                  • Minor repairs, such as buttons, seams, small tears and more, are included in the service. Major repairs will be addressed on an individual basis.
                  • Photographs during the cleaning and preservation process are available by request only. You can make this request on your Gown Detail Form, or email us. There are no extra charges for photographs, just remember that we are not professional photographers.
                  • There are no additional charges for restoration or multiple cleanings.
                  • We only use sustainable GreenEarth Drycleaning solvent.  We do not have any other dry cleaning solvents in our facility. We highly recommend that you only use a GreenEarth dry cleaning facility. Learn about the GreenEarth dry cleaning solvent here.
                  • Please allow 4 weeks for cleaning/preservation including shipping.

                  Have additional questions? Feel free to contact us anytime via phone, email, SMS, or live chat.

                  800.232.0792 <---- Call or Text

                  Call or text Happily Ever After Preservation