Whether you’re having a destination wedding far away from home or just need to drive five minutes down the road to your venue, every bride wants to make sure their wedding dress is cared for so it stays beautiful and clean for the big day. But between crowds of people, the busyness in airports, and cramped cars and spaces, that wedding dress can surely take a beating unless it’s treated well.
“When a gown is taken home, it’s in a garment bag with a bust form, so it’s long and an awkward shape,” Laura Calderone, owner of Laura & Leigh Bridal, told POPSUGAR. “Most gowns are about 60 inches in length, or more, meaning that the gown is going to need some space to travel.” To make sure you’re able to walk down the aisle and dance the night away in that beautiful dress you saw yourself in in the store, here’s a guide on how to safely travel with it, no matter your preference in transit.
1. By Plane
If you’re traveling by plane, there are two options. The first is to ask the airline if they can hang the gown for you somewhere safe, like a flight attendant’s closet on board. “That’s the best and easiest way to go,” Laura said. “That way the gown gets the space it needs and lowers the risk of wrinkling. The second option is to have the place you’re picking it up from package it in a carry-on and make sure you have a good boarding place in line so you can get overhead bin space.”
Note: Never check your wedding dress! “I’ve had instances where bags have gone missing, which means the bride either needs to find a dress off the rack on short notice, or she won’t have a gown for her wedding,” she said. “If you do put your gown in a carry-on bag (the framed roll kind is preferable), make sure you ask the person altering your dress how to press out wrinkles and confirm that there is a way to press out the wrinkles when you arrive at your destination (if there is an iron or steamer to use).” A framed wheel bag is best, not a duffel or something too soft, as it will give your gown added protection for the whole trip.
Even if you had your gown pressed, there will definitely be wrinkles after traveling, so you’ll want to make sure to leave time to get those wrinkles out before you walk down the aisle, too. If they don’t have a portable steamer at your hotel or venue, buy one and bring it with you. “They usually aren’t that expensive, and it’s better to spring for one up front than risk not having one at all,” she explained.
Lastly, if you have some extra dough, think of your dress as a kid. “Some brides have even purchased an extra seat next to them to sit the dress on the seat,” she said. “To me, it’s probably not necessary to do this, but if you’re nervous about it and you don’t mind springing for the extra seat, it may be worth it.”
2. By Car
If you’re traveling by car, the last thing you should be doing is placing a gown in a trunk, so don’t go stuffing it back there before a long six-hour ride. “The best thing to do is to clear out the back seat completely (meaning no random items at all) and lay the gown flat with the hanger on the hanger hook or grab handle in the car,” she explained. “Then, when you arrive at the destination, immediately carry the gown out of the car and get it hung up.” If that means you can only travel with your partner, so be it. Other members of the party will need to find another ride over!
Also, don’t put anything on top of the dress or have food nearby. You don’t want anything to spill or get it dirty. You should also keep windows closed, just in case something comes into the car from the outside.
3. By Train
“I would treat trains the same way as planes,” Laura continued. “I would suggest keeping the dress with you at all times, and because trains tend to be tighter quarters, I would actually put the gown in a roll bag like you would if you were putting your bag in an overhead bin on a plane.” It’s hard to predict how much space you’ll get on a train, so bringing the whole garment bag may be a little cumbersome, FYI. So you might want to consider a different plan of transportation if possible.
4. Final Tips
While you might want to take a peek or try it on again, keep your dress in the garment bag from the seamstress until your wedding day. “Don’t take it out, especially if it’s in a bust form,” she said. “I know it’s tempting because you’re excited, but too often there’s risk for damage if you take it out.” You also probably don’t know how to properly package a dress the way a presser would, so if you take it apart, you may not be able to repackage everything. And no bride wants to deal with that on her big day.
If something does happen while you’re traveling (accidents can arise!), call the bridal shop or seamstress right away, or even a local shop. Don’t try to fix things on your own without talking to a professional. “We also don’t recommend traveling alone with it,” Laura said. “It’s best to have a friend or someone you trust help you carry the dress.” This way if you’re tired of holding it or are nervous, you have someone there with you to help. It’s also safer, as there’s always someone watching it. It’s better to be overly cautious than not at all, because frankly, that dress is pretty irreplaceable!