Sandals Wedding Insider Q & A: Flying with A Wedding Dress
We often get questions about flying with a wedding gown. Here’s how:
Your dress is as precious to you as your engagement ring but rest assured, you’re not the first bride to travel with a Monique Lhuillier original and you won’t be the last. Getting your wedding dress to your destination location may seem like a nail-biting task but these tips will make travelling with your wedding gown a cinch!
Question: I have to check my wedding gown (eek!). Now what?
Answer: The first thing you want to do is call around to competing airlines to see if you can find one that will let you bring your gown on-board and store it in the first-class airplane closet. Unfortunately, most airlines insist you check your gown with your other luggage so unless your gown is very informal you will need a large box or an extra suitcase to protect it. We suggest finding a wedding gown specialist in your city or online that offer special kits that fit into the overhead space above your seat. Most come complete with acid-free tissue, packing instructions and a shipping carton with a handle for easy carry on and carry off.
Question: How do I pack my wedding dress?
Answer: First find out what your gown is made of. Some fabrics rest and fold better than others and it will benefit you to know this. Second, decide if you are using a dress box or a travel garment bag. If you purchase a kit from a wedding dress specialist, then they can pack it securely for you. But if you’re like us, you want to wear your dress a few times before the wedding trip so we’ll teach you how to pack it yourself. Remember: the trick to packing your dress is proper folding; avoid cramming your dress at all times.
Using a Box
- Using a large dress box (about one-third of your gown) with that acid-free tissue paper that stores tend to pack gift items in, line your box with tissue paper first and then center your gown in the middle of the box ensuring the back is laid out very smoothly. At this point only the middle of your gown should be in the box. The top and bottom of the gown should be hanging out over the top and bottom of the box.
- Add more tissue to cover the top and then beginning at the side seams; fold the skirt of your gown lengthwise over bunched tissue until the skirt is no wider than the box. Then add more tissue and fold the bottom of skirt into the box.
- Yep, you guessed it; add even more tissue and fold the top of the gown over into the box. The top of your gown should now be facing up. The best way we can explain it is to picture yourself lying on your stomach with your legs folded over backwards while your head and shoulders are lying on top of your legs–facing up.
- Last but not least use more tissue (you should probably buy a lot of tissue paper) to stuff the bodice and cushion anything else such as bows or sleeves that should be protected.
- This step is the most important- DO NOT MOVE, SHAKE, AND/ OR REMOVE YOUR DRESS. We mean it! We know it’s very tempting to want to peek at your dress or shake it to hear if it’s still in there; it is. If your mother insists that you try it on one last time for your dear old aunt Clara to see, gently tell her that you want to surprise her with how smashing it looks on you on the day of your wedding!
Using a Travel Garment Bag
- Ensure that you have a sturdy, waterproof travel garment bag. For the price and sentimental value of your wedding dress, it’s worth it to spend on a quality bag.
- Hang your dress inside the bag with a hanger heavy enough to support the weight of the gown. We suggest a sturdy silk hanger made specifically for gown.
- If necessary, fold the train once at the bottom so it fits inside the bag.
- Using acid-free tissue paper or plastic dry cleaner bags stuff your dress and remaining space in the bag. This helps your dress retain its shape. The bodice and sleeves are the area’s most likely to suffer from crushing, so they should be stuffed until almost full.
- Once stuffed, enclose your dress in one or more plastic dry cleaner bags inside the larger garment bag. We know, we know…it’s a lot of bags, but the dry cleaner bags provide extra protection from moisture and damage during transit and TSA inspections.
Question: What do I do with my wedding dress once I arrive at my destination?
Answer: Before you do anything, unpack your dress and hang it up in the closet. The weight of the gown will begin to slowly straighten out any wrinkles and most of them will fall out within 24 to 48 hours. No matter how well you or anyone else packs your dress, it may wrinkle. If your dress still has deep creases or wrinkles after a day, call your front desk, concierge or butler to arrange for laundry personnel to take a look at your dress and let you know what your options are. Don’t fret, it will definitely be taken care of!
*Travel Tip: Most airlines suggest arriving to the airport 2 hours ahead to ensure a hassle free check-in process. With a wedding dress in tow, we suggest 3 hours. Chances are securities personnel may have to open or (heaven forbid) unpack your dress. While they won’t take it out, shake it and spin around with it a la a Disney princess, they may want to search around in the bag a bit (not that you look suspicious or anything.) Adding 30 minutes to an hour onto the recommended check-in time should be enough time in case you have to repack your dress.
We hope you found our answers about flying with a wedding dress helpful. Let us know in the comments below!
(Photo Credit: Jim Jordan Photography)