Flying dresses: how to transport your wedding dress via land or air

How to transport your wedding dress as seen on @offbeatbride
Dress by Wedding Dress Fantasy

We recently received this critical question about how to transport your wedding dress to a destination wedding, in this case, to Las Vegas:

I am wondering about tips to get my dress and my partner's suit to Vegas safely. We are going to a Tough Mudder event and have a fair amount of gear as it is. Any help would be amazing!

– Allison

Here's how we'd handle it in a few different scenarios. We'll also be going in depth on mailing your dress in another post, so stay tuned.

Transporting your wedding dress by air

First, contact your airline if you're traveling by air and find out about their wedding dress policy. Trust me, they have one. It's a risky challenge to transport your dress (and/or your partner's outfit) to begin with, so take a few changes as possible.

I'd definitely suggest storing your dress in a flat garment bag as your carry-on instead of checking it. Some airlines have suit closets available for it to hang, but it may have to go in the overhead bin, depending on your airline. An more empty flight may allow you to store it in a vacant seat, but if it's large, you're too nervous, or you have money to spend, consider just buying the dress its own seat. It might sound ridiculous, but if the ticket is $150 or something lower, it may just be worth your mental state.

In any case, your dress will likely wrinkle during the trip, so plan to have it steamed when you land.

TIP: store the dress in a clean bag inside the garment bag just in case there's any stray dirt inside.

Here are some tips from the TSA Blog:

Ideally, the dress can lay flat in its garment bag or other packaging and fit through the X-ray machine. If it can’t, our officers can screen the dress manually, but this will require opening the garment bag. Rest assured that our officers will use gloves for the alternate screening to avoid damaging the dress.

We strongly advise brides to contact their airline to ask about taking their wedding dress on the plane. While some aircraft have closets in first class that can hold the dress, others may not, which could cause challenges in storing the dress above the seat. Airlines will also count the dress as a carry-on item, so be sure to learn about your airline’s carry-on policies to avoid having to check any items at the gate

Transporting your wedding dress by car

If you're road tripping to your wedding destination, this makes things somewhat easier. Carefully pack up your dress and outfits into clean, waterproof garment bags and keep them separate or on top of other luggage so you reduce smooshing, wrinkling, and any chance of dirt.

To minimize wrinkling, take the largest vehicle you can so there's room to lay the dress as flat as possible. Fold the seats down and cover them with a sheet, and extend the garment bag out instead of keeping it folded.

Need more desintation wedding tips?

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  1. At the last minute I transported a friend's wedding dress home after a destination wedding. It was surprisingly straightforward, and it actually felt like I got special treatment from airport staff and security who whisked me expediently through with enormous white garment bag in tow. Flight attendants were very accommodating finding a place for it in the cabin. They all probably assumed it was my dress, but I was impressed with the levels of professionalism. Your mileage may vary, of course, depending on airline and airport.

    • I got so lucky with transporting my dress to my Hawaii destination wedding from Arizona. My Best Lady was going 4 days earlier and flying first class. She had boats load more room in her section then I would have had in economy. Her wonderful husband called the airline and made arrangements to have the dress hung in the first class closet. When they got on the plane the type of aircraft had changed so there was not closet but they were able to stow it in the overhead compartment. They were able to lay it across there carry on luggage. No one complained or bitched. On my flight there was another bride who had her dress with her. No one hassled her as she took up an overhead bin. We even chatted a little and I was happy to move my stuff to make room for her. If you are cool with the people around you on the plane they are usually cool back. And if they are not just get a flight attendant to help. The best part of my experience was that my dress had time to fluff out and there were no wrinkles or any of that mess to deal with on my day. My Best Lady was wonderful to offer to that for me, taking so much stress off me. Oh, and make sure you have a sturdy dress bag for it. Spend the extra money at the bridal shop. So worth the $25 I spent.

  2. Our wedding is in the middle of a large, group vacation. Eleven of us are piling into three cars and taking the three-day drive down to Austin where the ceremony will be. What I am nervous about is getting the dress down there with eleven suitcases (at least) plus all of the wedding decor. I thought about perhaps putting all the fancy clothes into garment bags and spreading them out on the bed of one of the trucks and strapping them down with bungies, but I don't think that would work if it rains. It'll probably just have to be squeezed in wherever fits and hardcore steamed the day we get there.

  3. Fab post. Really enjoyed reading it. Its interesting because not many people think through the logistics of transporting the all important wedding dress.

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