If your wedding venue is a hop-and-skip away from home, you’ll have to figure out a way to safely transport the wedding dress. Maybe not the biggest problem if you’re donning a sleek, 2012 Jenny Packham Ormlie-esque gown, but transportation may be a bit of a challenge if your look is more similar to a frothy Oscar de la Renta option. No matter what option you choose, bite the bullet and invest in an excellent garment bag—it’ll be worth it.
Many airlines are totally sympathetic to the delicacies of wedding dresses and try to appropriately accommodate. Companies like United Airlines offer a closet space to house carry-on garments, but space is usually limited. If you’re flying via American Airlines or another company that doesn’t have an accessible closet, it’s still ok to keep the dress near as long as the dress and garment bag fits the airline’s carry-on criteria.
Although you’ll have the luxury of making sure the dress gets to where it needs, having a wedding dress in the airport will be a hassle. If you do carry on, make sure to let the flight attendants know prior to boarding to make sure things go smoother.
Probably the most expensive option, you can pack the dress (or have the company pack it for you) and ship it as priority cargo through FedEx, UPS or another shipping company. Although it may be scary to let the dress out of your sight, package insurance and a tracking number will help put you to ease. If possible, ship the dress to a trusted friend or family member that lives near your wedding destination who can sign and confirm the receipt of your dress.
Make sure to ship the dress a few days before the wedding to give the shipping company leeway, just in case the shipment is delayed.
If the dress is not carry-on material, you can check your dress with your other luggage. Because the dress will be treated in the same manner as the other luggage, make sure to use a waterproof bag or container in case of severe weather. American Airlines suggests putting numerous large name tags with the owner’s contact information on the outside of the garment bag, because it will quicken a search process if the luggage was delayed.
Keep in mind that checked baggage may be delayed or misplaced, so make sure to catch a flight to your destination a few days ahead of time to give adequate leeway. Checked baggage may also be the harshest transportation method, so keep that in mind if your dress is an antique or includes fragile lace or beading.
|If you are packing your wedding dress for shipping or checked baggage, make sure to use acid-free tissue paper to protect the dress’s finish.|
Make an appointment at a professional cleaner/salon for the interim between the dress’s arrival and the wedding day. You may want it pressed, steamed and freshened up, even if everything goes according to plan.
|If you’re checking your bag, make sure to have a backup plan ready in case something goes wrong. It’s the method that would most likely need one.|
You can purchase a whole ticket for your wedding dress on a plane if you aren’t comfortable with shipping or the carry-on accommodations the airline provides. Most planes want “Extra Item” on the ticket, so make sure to call ahead and check the airline’s policy.
Photo: Real Weddings Kelsey and Leigh, photography by Carla Ten Eyck Photography
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