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How to Transport your Wedding Dress

How to Transport your Wedding Dress

It is vitally important that the wedding dress makes it to your destination in the best possible condition. Transporting the wedding dress is often an after thought and we get many emails from brides in a bit of a panic because they hadn’t given any consideration to getting it to the destination and are only a few days from jetting off. Ideally, you want to be as prepared as possible and so today’s Blog For Bride Guide is all about preparing, packing and transporting the wedding dress.

photo by Lilli Kad Photography


Before you buy any boxes or speciality bags, contact your airline if you are travelling by air and find out what their policy is on carrying wedding dresses on board. Most brides will naturally be nervous of putting their expensive wedding dress in checked luggage and we ourselves would always recommend bringing into the cabin if you can. If you are going transatlantic, chances are the airline will have suit closets on board for you to hang your dress. Some airlines within Europe will also offer this facility but it really does depend on who you are flying with.  For the most part though, you will be required to box it and store it in the overhead bins. If there are vacant seats on your flight, a polite smile and a quiet word with one of the air hostesses might award your dress a free seat, allowing you to take it out of it’s box to lay flat. Just make sure it’s also in a bag as you do not want to discover stains from the seats have transferred when you land. If your dress doesn’t fit a box of the required dimensions and you really don’t want to chance having to put it underneath in the hold, be prepared to have to buy an extra seat for it. This is especially true if you are flying with the likes of Ryanair in Europe. Moral of the story – be in the know before you land at the airport.

photo by Donny Zavala


Maybe your taking the Eurostar to France or hiring a car at the airport. Your dress needs to be packed away carefully as it is likely you will have a car full of other luggage and items. You can follow our packing guidelines below for storing it in a box or else you can keep it in it’s waterproof bag and drape it across the rest of your luggage as flat as you possibly can. Make sure you don’t lay anything else on top of it and be extremely careful when taking it out of the car.


Travelling by ferry is the easiest of the three as you will simply have more space. Even if it’s not an overnight sailing where you won’t have your own cabin, you can simply grab a corner and hang it up on a hook or railing. Just be sure to keep an eye on it, especially if it’s busy on board.

photo by Fabrizio Viganò


We are not really fans of this idea ourselves. There is just too much you can’t control like delays because of the weather and items getting lost or damaged because they weren’t handled appropriately. I know that shipping with a reputable company should be relatively safe and reliable but I don’t know, this one makes us nervous and we would advise you to proceed with caution. If you have no other option, then make sure you ship it with plenty of time to someone you can trust. Make sure it’s a reputable company and that you keep track of your precious package. Whoever receives the dress needs to be briefed on how to handle it when it arrives and whatever you do, make sure you have insurance.

photo by Pretty Photography


Your dress should come in a waterproof protected bag and if it doesn’t, insist that it does. If you let the designer or boutique know that you are going to be travelling overseas with it, they will be able to advise you on how to best care for the garment and they might even offer to pack it especially for your trip – it will cost you nothing to ask anyway. If they can’t pack it for you then at the very least, find out what sort of tissue paper you can use to protect the embellishments (usually uncoloured acid free paper) and whether or not the material will be safe to press or steam or iron on arrival.

If you know in advance that you are not going to be able to hang the dress, then you need to buy a protective wedding box or use a sturdy suitcase in addition to the protective bag and this is especially true if you are flying. Don’t pack the dress to early into the box as you want it to be in it for as little as possible to avoid tough wrinkles. When folding the dress to fit into the box, use something with a curved edge (polystyrene in a cylindrical shape or rolled up tissue paper) and place it into the folds of the dress  so that a sharp crease won’t form in the fabric. If you use the protective bag while doing this, then it won’t really matter what you use as you will be placing it on the outside and will be protecting from stains. When we were touring and had to abandon our bus and take a flight to get to the venue, we often had to pack our silk and organza dresses for the show this way. I used to use rolled up T-Shirts and it worked quite well but the dresses was cranberry red so I never had to worry about colours transferring.

photo by Lauren Fair Photography


Before you even jet off on your destination wedding, arrange for your dress to be pressed at a professional dry cleaning company on your arrival. Your hotel or wedding planner should be able to help you find and organise this for you.

If you are in a remote location and these services simply aren’t available then you will need to carry on with Plan B. The dressmaker will hopefully have provided you some instructions on how to get rid of any wrinkles but as a first step, hang the dress up high so that it’s not touching the floor. Find out whether or not the hotel or your planner has a steamer available. If they do, then great. They require little effort and are easy to use. Just make sure you clean the head of the steamer thoroughly before putting it anywhere near your dress.

If you can’t get your hand on a steamer then you wil need to move to plan C.Check out your ensuite for somewhere to hang your wedding dress nice and high, well clear of the floor and away from the walls if at all possible. Close all windows and turn off the fan. Run a very hot shower and close the door behind you. Take the dress out of the bag and after about 10 minutes, bring it into the bathroom and hang it securely, making sure that it isn’t near any water pools and that it can’t fall to the floor. Leave it there for about 15 -20 minutes, allowing the steam to ease out the wrinkles in the fabric. Remove from the bathroom and hang it back up in your room, out of the bag.This used to work quite well for me, depending on the size of the bathroom and the amount of steam that built up and the type of dress I was trying to decrease.

photo by Alice Ahn Photography


It’s important to know how to get your dress there in the best possible condition but it’s equally important to know how to get it home too. The last thing you will want to do after the wedding is figure out the logistics so have them planned before you leave.

If possible and if you have enough time, arrange to have the dress dry cleaned the day after the wedding. If it can’t be dry cleaned, ask the dress maker how to treat stains by hand the following day. Take care in following the guidelines for cleaning on the dress and ensure you have enough time before you have to move on from your venue to wait for the dress to dry

Simply pack your dress in the same way as you did for the trip over

That time is on your side, it might be a good idea to arrange to have it shipped back home. If you are not comfortable with this, ask a relative if they could carry it back for you. Just don’t spring your request on them last minute, they will have their own baggage to consider tooHave the dress dry cleaned as soon as it arrives back home. If you are going on honeymoon and the dress is arriving ahead of you, ask the person who carried it to do this for you. You can collect it as soon as you return.

Like our post on packing for your destination wedding yesterday, the key to ensuring the run up to your destination wedding is stress free is careful planning. Don’t leave anything to chance and assume nothing. If you have any particular questions about transporting your wedding dress, don’t be shy. We would love to hear from you. Have a great day girls!

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  • Great post! Something that most brides who have a destination wedding don’t think about, what with all the additional stress and planning that comes with a destination wedding. However, it’s certainly important and hopefully it’ll help some brides avoid dress + traveling drama.

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