How to Fly with Your Wedding Dress

One question that keeps coming up in my discussions with current destination brides is: How in the world are they going to get their dress from point A to point B? What is the best way to carry it to their dream destination?

Some of these dresses cost more than the wedding itself, and I do not want them ruined—not on my watch. To make sure everyone and everything gets to your destination safely, I have created a helpful guide with some quick travel tips you can apply while flying with YOUR perfect dress. (I’ve got your back.)

A gauzy white wedding dress hanging from the roof of a beach cabana.

BONUS: Before we get to the tips, make sure to grab our Wedding Day Checklist! Don’t let yourself forget any part of your wedding dress on your big day. Just print out the list and go over it to be sure you’ve got everything covered!


Do Not Check the Dress

First things first, never check the dress. No, No, No… I have seen too many horror stories of dresses getting lost, dresses getting ruined and dresses getting stolen.

So there shouldn’t be any doubt, the answer to this is to always carry your dress on the plane with you. No need to risk putting it in the hands of someone else. Let’s face it, s*** happens. Bags get lost, damaged and sometimes stolen. Plus, your dress will be harder to steam and clean if you have it folded up and stored away in your suitcase. Just don’t.

Carry Your Dress Properly

One way to help with the problem of how to store your dress is a GARMENT BAG. One of our brides' favorites is the wallybag.  This bag is perfect for a carry-on and is very durable, lightweight and water repellent. Tip: Before you hanf dress in garmet bag, line it with acid-free, colorless tissue paper or plastic.

You should get a nice garment bag—your dress probably came with one when you purchased it. But, spend the extra money if you can because you will be able to reuse it for other special clothing you carry in the future. Some shops have special bags designed specifically for travel, so pop into on your local bridal shop or check out a few other options on Amazon. When purchasing, remember to always opt for the larger bag. A 72-inch bag is big enough for the puffiest dress and train.

So, now that you will NOT be checking your dress AND you have a nice bag to carry it on board with you, where do you put it once you get on the plane?

Ask the Airline to Help You Out

Airline attendants come in handy for these types of requests. Milk everything you can out of being a bride and let them take care of you. Most times, they will hang it up for you in a special place—like they did for me when I got married (shout out to Delta). Note: Airlines count the dress as a carry-on item so avoid being caught at the gate with other items like a purse and another bag in hand.

But, maybe you’re not flying Delta, and your airline isn’t all that anxious to pull out the red carpet. No problem! Just wait until everyone has boarded and lay your dress on top of all the other items in the overhead compartment—but make sure it’s flat.

More often than not likely option A will work—flight attendants will help and ensure it is safe. But in case it doesn’t, you know what to do.

A few airlines that let you carry your dress on as a carry-on are:

  • American Airlines (they have hanging closets, as well)

  • Delta

  • JetBlue (no hanging space, but they will help you stow it in the overhead)

  • Southwest

  • United

Make sure to check out specific dimensions and other details via their sites, as well.

Note: The benefits of first class and priority boarding are definitely worth it, especially for your wedding—and this can score you a better shot at a spot in the front closet. I think in this case, it’s definitely worth the splurge! Some brides even go so far as to purchase a ticket for the dress—I am not sure if I am an advocate of this but hey, when in doubt, do what you have to do! It’s your day. (And, if it’s not a full flight, take the safest route and sneak it into an empty seat.)

When you arrive at your destination, make sure to always keep the bag upright through the airport—even if you have to get your other luggage. Have the bag attendant assist you, or get a cart to push it through the airport.

Once you get with your transfer team, make sure they lay your bag on top of the other bags or just hold it with you in the car (sometimes it is better to hold on to it and lay it across your lap inside the car to keep it from wrinkling).

You’ve Made It!

That doesn’t seem so bad, right?

By the way, once you get to the resort, take your wedding dress out of the bag as soon as possible and hang it on a stain hanger in a spot as high as you can go the wrinkles fall out. I also recommend you make sure to have their onsite team give it one last steam (you can also pack a small steamer with you, just in case….or, have a bridesmaid carry it—even better!)

That should do the trick and now you can get to the good stuff, like marrying the love of your life.

Eat, Drink & Carry-On the Dress!

Courtnie
xoxo
 

BONUS TIP:

In case you were wondering what type of fabric is best for a destination wedding or what type of fabric transports easily, I have a few recommendations, as well.

Some travel friendly materials include chiffon and cotton jersey, which steam easily.

Fabrics to stay away from: definitely the satin.

I would also have a little sewing kit in case of any last minute emergencies—it might make a cute bridesmaid gift or welcome bag item, too (wink wink). Enjoy!