The Destination Dress Dilemma: Ship, Pack or Carry?

Destination Dress Dilemma
Rebecca Moses

Whether you’re going halfway around the world or just to the next state, getting your wedding dress there safely is a priority.

Destination weddings continue to grow in popularity. Whether you're going halfway around the world or just to the next state, getting your wedding dress there safely is a priority.

Having the dress out of your sight, even for one day, is not a preferable scenario. (Sorry FedEx, nothing personal). We did a little investigating and found that most brides do not like the idea of shipping their wedding gown.

So, here are a few popular ways to get your dress to its big debut:

Pack or Carry...

  • For weddings that require air travel, either pack your gown into a carry-on bag or take your dress on board in a garment bag in the hopes that a flight attendant will be delighted to hang it in the closet for you.
  • You might want to inquire with your carrier about travel insurance before you fly. Keep in mind that putting your dress in a checked suitcase is not ideal and we, along with the TSA, do not recommend putting anything extremely valuable and irreplaceable in a checked bag.
  • Most airline websites will tell you that they don't make special allowances for wedding dresses and we're not suggesting you take any particular risks, but many airlines are more than pleased to store your dress in a closet or in an overhead bin. However, since it's not always prudent to rely on the kindness of strangers, we suggest the safest route would be packing your gown in a thin plastic bag or a lightweight garment bag and putting it in a secure carry-on bag that fits into the overhead bin. Folding layers of tissue paper in the dress will help to keep the wrinkles at bay.
  • If you pack your dress in a bag, you might want to also bring a travel steamer. Just make sure it's clean so that the steam comes out clear and won't stain the fabric. Do a test run on any white fabric before you use it.
  • Another fantastic trick for eliminating wrinkles is to hang your gown in the bathroom, turn the shower on full blast with very hot water, shut the door and let the steam naturally ease the wrinkles out. Just be sure to keep it away from the water. Shaking the dress back and forth helps to move the process along. This method works on any fabric, from airy silk chiffons to heavy satins.
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I've been on literally hundreds of photo shoots around the globe and I can tell you that when you can't plug a steamer into a wall socket because your hotel is 200 years old and the concierge threatens you with destroying their entire electricity system (true story), you find an alternative, and this one really works.

Buy It a Plane Ticket

One bride we chatted with, Lindsey Unterberger, Senior Online Lifestyle Editor at Glamour Magazine, found her own creative solution to traveling with her gown. Last August, Lindsey married her college sweetheart Aaron Perlstein in Columbia, Missouri, where they attended school together. Since the couple lives in Manhattan, the challenge of transporting her dress presented itself.

Lindsey's dress, by her own admission, was huge-a big princess ball gown with layers and layers of organza. Did she ship it? No way. She confessed she's always had bad luck with mail of any kind. Did she pack it? Nope, it was way too big to fit into a suitcase.

Did she carry it on board hoping to have it stored in the closet? Nope. She didn't want to take any chances because of the sheer size of the dress.

Instead, she purchased a separate airplane ticket for the dress! Sound crazy? Well for $167, this decision gave her priceless peace of mind and with the dress safe and secure in window seat #18E next to Lindsey, it arrived at their destination in pristine condition. Not so crazy after all.

In fact, the wonderful sales associate at the salon where she purchased her gown stuffed the inside of the dress to help keep its shape, so no pressing was necessary.

We asked Lindsey if she would recommend this to brides and she adamantly stated, "Absolutely! If I had to do it all over again, I would definitely do it exactly the same way. I would recommend this to every bride. But I would also suggest that if you want to follow suit… don't travel alone. It's easy to get distracted, so travel with someone who can help you."

--Juli Alvarez

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