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For Wedding Planners: How to Choose a Wedding Gown Specialist

For Wedding Planners: How to Choose a Wedding Gown Specialist

Trust is the essence of love and a successful, worry-free wedding. In the same way that a bride puts her trust in an ABC wedding planner to relieve her stress, you want to be able to refer a wedding gown specialist you trust who will make sure your bride is ecstatic about her gown so she can bask worry-free in the beauty of her day.

Based on our 31 years of bridal gown care and thousands of successful gown fittings, cleanings, and preservations, here are ten recommendations that can help you find the ideal wedding gown specialist:

  • Plan Ahead. Encourage your brides to budget upfront for wedding gown services
    Include a line-item estimate in your bride’s initial wedding budget to insure her gown’s legacy and value are preserved. When brides plan and budget upfront for pre- and post-wedding gown care, financial surprises are avoided and gown repurposing options for anniversaries, future generations, or resale are assured. Every gown is unique, so take the time to answer a few questions over the phone or fill out an online estimate request to determine the cost for the services needed. Here’s a sample of our form. (http://www.margarets.com/Bridal-Estimate-Request.html)

  • Schedule an appointment with a gown alteration expert as soon as a bride’s dress is selected. Fitting appointments and pre-wedding pressing services are as time-sensitive as every other wedding service.

  • Interview the bridal team for sensitivity to your bride’s personal preferences. When a bride comes in for a fitting, our seamstress’ goal is to make the bride feel as special, excited and relieved as the day she found her dress. We strive to pay extraordinary attention to her details, affirm her personal preferences, and keep her and/or you in the loop as much or as little as she would like.

  • Look for specialty services that are all handled in one location to prevent details falling through the cracks. Not every salon provides all-in-one gown services. There are often many moving parts for gown care that need meticulous tracking including alterations, gown cleaning and pressing, gown delivery and pick-up, preservation and storage.

  • Have the gown pressed a few days before the wedding and delivered to the venue. Prearranged pressing and delivery assures a beautiful gown for photos. Your brides can receive a Bridal Emergency Kit for day-of-wedding needs, including safety pins, make-up mask, needle and thread, fashion tape for potential wardrobe malfunctions and the magical “Janie Stick” to camouflage or remove stains.

    Bridal Gown Pressing and Preservation by Margaret's the Couture Cleaner

  • Use gown specialists that engage in environmentally sustainable cleaning and preservation techniques. With our Legacy preservation services, your bride’s gown is inspected in a multi-spectrum light room, repaired, cleaned in one of 99 proprietary solvents (always fresh, never recycled and specific to fabric), and preserved in an acid-free museum quality archival box accompanied by a preservation inspection report with before and after photos and long term care instructions.

  • Arrange for next day pick-up of the gown at the wedding location, the bride’s home or from someone you trust. You and your bride have enough to think about, much less worry about after-wedding gown details. Next day pick-up takes the worry out of dealing with stains or damages the gown may incur at the wedding from all the fun your bride is having.

  • Choose a gown specialist who has a lot of experience dealing with last-minute wedding oops! When things don’t go as planned, you want someone you can count on to save the gown while you save the day. As an industry leader and trusted resource for bridal gown alterations, cleaning and preservation services, Margaret’s expert bridal team has seen and saved gowns from all kinds of last-minute surprises including a guest spilling red wine down a bride’s gown skirt; a dog peeing on a bride’s gown; a bride rushing to us the day before her wedding when another cleaner iron-burned the front bodice of her gown and a bride who let her “trash-the-dress” silk gown sit in the back seat of her car in the sun for three weeks while she was on her honeymoon and the stains dissolved the fabric. Fortunately, all these gowns were rescued and lived happily-ever-after.

    Bridal Gown Preservation by Margaret's the Couture Cleaner

  • If you’re planning a destination wedding, inquire about clean-by-mail services and how shipping and storage of gowns are handled. A guaranteed delivery tracking service is critical to timely delivery. With preservation, museum-quality archival boxing and storage facilities for long term preservation will protect your bride’s gown for generations to come.

  • Seek out members of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists (AWGS) for continuing education, innovative best practices, and museum-quality archival preservation products and certified services. Margaret’s is a proud and grateful member of AWGS. 


We treasure our relationships with our wedding planners and are always looking for ways to make your job easier and wow your brides. If you have any questions or comments, please email us at bridal@margarets.com. We’d love to hear from you.

To learn more about Margaret’s Cleaner’s Couture Bridal services, go to  www.margarets.com/bridal/drawing.

Join us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/margaretscouturebridalcareInstagram (www.instagram.com/margaretscouturebridal).

Watch our new video (http://www.margarets.tv/margarets/Margarets-Introduction-Video.html ) because. . .

A wedding dress isn’t just a dress, it’s a love story worth treasuring.

Are Your Sweaters Ready for Sweater Season?

Are Your Sweaters Ready for Sweater Season?

Clothes need to breath, especially knits and leathers. Avoid overcrowding your closets. Crowded closets with minimal airflow and dark spaces can promote mildew growth and create nesting places for insect larvae to feed on fabric. Worn and stained clothing provide a homing signal for insects. Consider donating, reselling or utilizing off-site storage such as Garde Robe, to free up space in your closet, as discussed in the “Long-Term Storage” section in this newsletter.

It is doubly important that items be stain-free before returning them to the closet. Recent or fresh stains may be easy to remove, however soiled items returned to the closet may not be discovered for months. This makes stain removal difficult and sometimes impossible. Carefully inspect the item for soil in good lighting before storing. Be sure to have stained garments cleaned before returning them to the closet.

Hang all recently worn items to dry before placing them back into your closet. Fabrics retain moisture and it may take a day or two for them to dry to the relative humidity in the house. Leather and suede garments can retain excessive amounts of moisture and can take up to three days to dry out. However, do not accelerate the drying process with a hairdryer or by placing in a dryer. Let the garment give up its moisture naturally. Do not expose items to direct sunlight as excessive exposure to UV light can be detrimental to the garment as well.

Fold and shelve knits to help them keep their shape. This is particularly important for seasonal and long-term storage. Knits hung under their own weight suffer from the unequal distribution of support by hangers. This can cause distortion and result in a garment that no longer retains its original fit.

We recommend the breathable sweater bag (pictured), first introduced to the dry cleaning industry by Margaret’s Cleaners. This unique invention provides a breathable environment for knits and also creates a barrier to prevent insect damage. The bag has a window for quick identification of the garment.

Use the proper hanger for knits that are hung for short-term storage. A padded or broad shoulder hanger will prevent the telltale “rabbit’s ear” signature of a wire hanger. Clip hangers for skirts provide better support than safety pins. Folding a long dress at the waist over a suit strut hanger may be easier on the knit than hanging from the shoulder.

Sweater bags by Margaret's CleanersNever store clothing in plastic bags. The poly bags from the dry cleaner are great for packing in wardrobe bags for travel and the vinyl zip-up bags from department stores are convenient for travel. However, neither provide breathability, and plastics can outgas, resulting in fume fading or yellowing of the garment. Store all your finest garments in zip or snap-closure breathable bags. A variety of bags perfectly suited for storage is available from Margaret’s Boutique Wardrobe Products. The ideal storage bag is breathable, has no digestible protein for insect consumption, has a zipper or snap closure, and a transparent window, so that the contents can be seen without opening the bag. As previously discussed in the “Wearing” section of this newsletter, be absolutely sure leather and suede items are completely dry before placing them in the closet for seasonal or long-term storage.

For more information and tips on sweater and knit care, download our free “Guide to Knit Care.”

Chanel Handbag Restoration Before & After

Chanel Handbag Restoration Before & After

We know how much you invested in your favorite purse or handbag. Margaret’s has created the tooling, techniques and procedures needed to clean, maintain and even restore its original appearance.

Professional purse cleaning is performed entirely by hand and requires a great deal of skill and experience. Unlike garments, purses do not contain a “tag” that tells you what materials it’s made of, whether they’re color fast, or what type of cleaning they require.

Cleaning techniques vary depending on the construction, materials, and type and extent of the soil. Your handbag cleaning specialist must know how to deal with a huge variety of fabrics, leathers, and suedes.

When a handbag is constructed of multiple materials, such as fabric and leather, cleaning techniques are even more challenging. On top of that, multiple types of stains also add to the challenge. A typical shoe repair company or dry cleaner is not equipped to address the varied materials and soil found on most purses. Margaret’s master handbag restoration experts are and we look forward to bringing your handbags back to life–for life.

We have five locations in Southern California ready to serve you — San Diego, La Jolla, Del Mar, Newport Beach, and Beverly Hills, as well as our efficient and international CleanByMail service.



Enter To Win a Free Gown Preservation

Enter To Win a Free Gown Preservation

Still thinking about preserving your wedding gown? Enter Exquisite Weddings Magazine’s drawing for a free Margaret’s Couture Bridal Gown Care Legacy Wedding Gown Preservation worth up to $1000. Click the link for details. Contest closes November 3. Take action, do it now. May you be the lucky winner!

“Amazing Cleaning and Restoration for our Family Wedding Gown! Dress was first worn 1957 then 1983, and 1986! Dress was restored and the service and skill of Margaret’s was impeccable! Worth every penny!” Elizabeth Pretto Kerekes (www.weddingwire.com)

Learn more about Margaret’s Couture bridal gown services including alterations, cleaning, pressing and preservation.

Photo by Lindsey Middleton Photography

What is Haute Couture, Really?

What is Haute Couture, Really?

The dictionary defines haute as the French word for “fashionable” or “high class.” Couture is “the business of designing, making, and selling fashionable custom-made women’s clothing.”

A quick look on Wikipedia tells us that haute couture “is made to order [clothing] for a specific customer, and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses.”

Margaret's the Couture Cleaner -- Master Care for All Things Couture

Chambre syndicale de la haute couture is the official couture society of Paris. According to its rules, in order to be called haute couture, “a garment must be designed and made to order for a private client with one or more fittings. The designer must have a workshop in Paris employing at least 15 people full time. And twice a year, a haute couture designer must present his collections to the Paris press at the haute couture shows,” says Williams. Sounds like some serious regulations, which is why haute couture items are so prized.

Williams says that some of the oldest and most famous names in fashion, such as Dior, Valentino, Chanel, and Lanvin, produce haute couture alongside their ready-to-wear collections.

Who buys haute couture? It’s hard to know for sure. Forbes.com reported in 2016, “Karl Lagerfeld said that the 2,500 people who buy couture are so rich and so secretive that they’re not even in Forbes,”

Check out The Secret World of Haute Couture on YouTube for an inside look into this interesting, overlooked area of the fashion industry. The segment starting at 9:25 min for on the making of an haute couture piece with Karl Lagerfeld is fantastic!)

Tell us: Who are your favorite couture designers?