Whether you live far from your family and want go wedding dress shopping in your hometown or are planning a destination celebration, some brides-to-be simply have no choice but to fly with their wedding dresses. Boarding a plane with what’s likely the most important (and expensive!) article of clothing you’ll ever wear in your life can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to cause unnecessary stress. Flying with your wedding dress can be a breeze—if you know what to do.
Here, everything you need to know about air travel with a wedding dress. The goal is for your gown to arrive safely at your destination with as few hassles, travel mishaps, and wrinkles as possible.
Related: The Art of Traveling with Your Wedding Dress
Call the airline in advance.
If you want to have a positive experience when traveling with your wedding dress, you can’t just show up for your flight, dress in hand. “Most airlines are flexible when it comes to a bride traveling with her precious cargo, [but] you can’t just assume they’ll be all smiles when you show up to board the plane,” says Michelle E. Fernie-Oley, executive planner and founder of Michelle Elaine Weddings, Inc. Call the airline early and ask about traveling with your dress. Can you bring the dress as a carry-on? Does the plane you’re traveling on have a closet where you can hang the dress? If the dress is large, will you need to purchase an additional seat in order to bring it on the plane? Getting clarity ahead of time will ensure everything runs smoothly. Whatever you do, don’t put the dress in a checked bag, Fernie-Oley says. “If your bag gets lost, so does your dress—and that’s not fun for anybody!”
Send your soon-to-be-spouse through security first.
“If you’re carrying your dress on the plane, be prepared in case security needs to do a further search, meaning opening your bag and viewing the contents,” says Fernie-Oley. “You certainly don’t want your significant other to see your dress when they open it.” So, if you’re traveling with your soon-to-be-spouse, send them through security first to keep your gown a secret.
Take precautions before and after you land to avoid wrinkles.
If you want your dress to stay wrinkle-free, you need to take precautions before and after you fly. At your final dress fitting, let your boutique know you’ll be flying with your dress so that they can pack it appropriately with extra tissue and plastic garment bags, says Fernie-Oley. “There is no way to avoid all wrinkles,” she adds, so you’ll want to make sure there’s a steamer waiting for you at your destination. “Call your hotel in advance and be sure they have an industrial steamer. If they don’t, pack a travel-sized steamer,” says Fernie-Oley. In a pinch, you can use the shower method. “A little trick I like to do is put on a hot shower in the bathroom, close the door to steam out the room and hang your dress. You will see wrinkles magically disappear after about 15 to 20 minutes.”