Two women examine a wedding dress hanging on a wooden hanger. The dress is a white off-the-shoulder gown with long semi-transparent sleeves, a lace-embroidered bodice, and a long tulle skirt. The woman on the left is taller with long dark hair; she holds the end of one of the sleeves between her hand, as if to feel the fabric. The woman on the right is shorter with long dark blonde hair; she has a red measuring tape around her neck and holds an open notebook.
Some small businesses create mementos out of bridal gowns by preserving the dress itself or creating keepsakes out of parts of old dresses. — Getty Images/standret

It’s no secret that weddings can be costly. The Knot 2022 Real Weddings Study found that the average price tag for a wedding is $30,000—and that’s not including the engagement ring!

All of the money, time, and energy spent on a wedding culminates into a single day, and for the happy couple, it’s over in a flash. But it’s a special investment for their celebration of love, and the memories are priceless. Here are some businesses that try to freeze that point in time, specializing in repurposing those handpicked bouquets, restoring meticulously tailored dresses, or capturing a pivotal moment from “the big day.”

Everbloom Preservation

Haley Cunningham was inspired to make bouquet keepsakes after getting married and learning more about the art of resin from her husband, Dylan. In 2021, she founded Everbloom Preservation in Utah Valley. Her mission is to help brides keep their bouquets, boutonnieres, and wedding flowers in mint condition forever.

Everbloom Preservation offers a variety of ways to encase a newlywed’s floral arrangement including bookends, serving trays, coasters, jewelry dishes, ring holders, Christmas ornaments, and decorative blocks in an array of shapes and sizes. Cunningham dries the flowers for each project in a silica gel to maintain their color and shape. She uses VOC-free resin, making it a nontoxic product.

Customers can mail in or hand deliver their floral arrangements or whatever else they might want included (a piece of jewelry, lace, pin, etc.). Cunningham hired her first employee in June to help process incoming orders and shipping logistics. It’s safe to say business is blooming.

Elegance Preserved

After his wife’s wedding dress was stained by a red feather boa that was draped over her shoulders, Sean Gilmore took the dress to his "Master Dry Cleaner" who made it look brand new. This event inspired Gilmore to get into wedding dress preservation himself.

The team at Elegance Preserved is dedicated to cleaning, restoring, and preserving brides’ cherished wedding gowns. Combined, they have over 80 years of expertise in this specific area and utilize different methods to remove any stains or signs of age. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company even offered preservation for delayed weddings.

Since 2010, Elegance Preserved has been endorsed by the Association of Bridal Consultants and is a member of both the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists. The company is based in the Bay Area with two locations in San Francisco and San Carlos, and has recently expanded into Southern California with a third location in Beverly Grove, Los Angeles.

By discreetly snipping some lace from the mother or grandmother-of-the-bride’s wedding dresses, the bride and/or groom can wear a part of their heritage on their wedding day.

Monika Knutsson — The Gilded Lace Collection

New York–based Monika Knutsson transforms bits of antique or heirloom lace into artisanal jewelry. She invented The Gilded Lace Collection by dipping lace into metals such as 24k gold, sterling silver, platinum, white gold, or rose gold. She and her team honor the lacemakers’ craftsmanship by essentially fossilizing their handiwork, in turn making special keepsakes and one-of-a-kind accessories for their clients.

A specific sector of her business caters to brides and grooms. By discreetly snipping some lace from the mother or grandmother-of-the-bride’s wedding dresses, the bride and/or groom can wear a part of their heritage on their wedding day. Knutsson makes everything from earrings and necklaces to cuff links. This puts a spin on the traditional passing down of the dress and can also serve as an alternative for a bride who may not want to save her entire wedding gown, but rather just a snippet of it.

Knutsson also takes custom orders and has pieces for sale on her website. Her designs have been worn by stars such as Beyoncé, Whoopi Goldberg, Christina Ricci, and Idina Menzel.

Torregrossa Fine Art

Another way to preserve your wedding day is through the art of painting. And what’s more compelling than live art? Stephanie Gaffney of Torregrossa Fine Art is a live event artist who specializes in weddings and commissioned portraits.

Unfulfilled by her graphic design desk job, Gaffney left corporate life in 2015 to paint full-time. She started out doing pet portraits, anniversary paintings, and a variety of commission requests. One day, a friend got engaged and told her, “You have to paint at my wedding!” Gaffney did 15 weddings in her first year and 50 the next. Since then, she’s been recognized by Southern Bride, People Magazine, and the Knot as one of Louisiana’s best live wedding painters.

“My goal is still the same as with custom paintings, but the duty is even sweeter: I have one chance to capture a newlywed couple in their happiest of moments, while also entertaining their guests and creating a masterpiece that they will cherish for a lifetime.”

Because Gaffney paints with such realism and wants to bring the bride and groom’s visions to life, she plans with them to make sure she captures the most important people and details. She does travel outside of New Orleans with an added travel stipend.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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