Just like in most things, it’s better late than never. But let me caveat that by saying that we cannot preserve it unless we clean it. Otherwise it will be like putting a used wool sweater back in the closet without getting it dry cleaned. You’ll pull it out a year later with possible holes from moths.
Same thing with preserving a dirty wedding gown. You might not see the soil and stain, but it’s there, it will linger and get worse and cause problems later on. It will yellow, it will cause mold and mildew.
But back to the question…it doesn’t matter how old the wedding gown is, we can clean and preserve it. The years might already have done damage to the dress, and we do not yet as know how it will hold up when we try to restore it, but it will be better off to protect it from further damage going into the future. We have restored gowns as old as 70 years old with mold damage which survived the restoration.
We have also done gowns that are 50 years old that was taken to a drycleaners prior to taking to us and sustained damage – it came out shredded. (This is why we ALWAYS advise to take your wedding dress to a wedding gown specialist who are trained with specialty fabrics and stains) After all, that’s really what it is, for that dress to be seen for future generations. Restoration. You are restoring a wedding gown so future generations can see it and imagine what that day was like for you or for their grandmother or aunt or someone further up in the family. It is also an heirloom. A family treasure. But above all, a memory.