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How to Pack Your Wedding Dress: Storage and Travel Tips For Your Bridal Gown

Whether the wedding is across the country or across the world, traveling with a wedding dress can be a challenge. Regardless of how far the bride and groom have to travel to the wedding, getting a bridal gown to the wedding safe and sound requires thinking ahead and careful planning.

Storing The Wedding Gown Before Travel

Most bridal gowns come with a garment bag at the time of the sale. Until it is time to travel, the dress should be stored according to the instructions provided by the bridal salon. If none were provided, simply hanging the wedding dress in the closet should suffice, or lay the dress on a flat surface, such as under the bed.

Storing the wedding gown properly before packing can help reduce the likelihood that any problems, such as loose beads or stretching, will occur prior to the wedding day. If storing the wedding dress on a hanger, the small hanging loops should always be used, instead of the straps on the dress. To avoid mold and odors, a wedding dress should never be stored in the basement, or any other room of the house where temperature and moisture changes may fluctuate regularly.

How To Pack The Wedding Dress For Travel


The way a wedding dress is packed can significantly impact the amount of wrinkles that will occur during travel. To begin packing the wedding dress, find a box that is approximately one-third the length of the gown. Whenever possible, use an airtight, resealable, and waterproof container to help prevent the gown from absorbing any odors or spills during travel.

  1. Line the box with a clean, large, white bed sheet.
  2. Center the gown, with the front side down, over the container. Smooth any folds and wrinkles.
  3. Starting with the side seams of the skirt, fold the dress inward over bunched tissue paper, until the skirt is no larger than the width of the box.
  4. Add more tissue paper, then fold the bottom of the skirt into the box.
  5. Stuff the bodice of the wedding dress with tissue paper, then fold it back, over the skirt of the dress into the box. The bodice is now facing up.
  6. Tuck the sheet around the wedding dress, and close and secure the box.

Traveling With A Wedding Dress

There are different ways to travel with a wedding dress, depending on the mode of transportation. The first step in determining how to pack a wedding dress is contacting the company who provides the transportation.

It used to be that many airlines and trains would be happy to hang a special occasion garment without question, but that is no longer the case. To avoid any mishaps at the check-in counter, the bride should call a customer service agent to determine the proper protocols for traveling with her dress.

  • Traveling by airline – If hanging the wedding dress during the flight isn’t an option, brides may be required to check their wedding dress as a piece of luggage. Packing the dress in a large, watertight container is the best option for protecting the dress from odors and stains. Clearly label the container with the passenger’s name and address, and tape the lid tightly to avoid any mishaps during travel.
  • Traveling by car – Simply hanging the wedding dress may be the solution when traveling to the destination wedding by car. However, if there isn’t room, the wedding dress may need to be packed for travel. An airtight container should be used, to prevent the dress from absorbing any odors from the drive. If space in the car allows, a wedding dress in a garment bag can always lay flat across the top of the other luggage.
  • Travel by ship – Brides who get married on a cruise or ship generally need not worry about their wedding garments. Not only is closet space available to hang the destination wedding dress, but dry cleaning and pressing services are usually available on board.

Regardless of how the bride travels to her wedding, it is also important to think ahead to what happens upon arrival. Most hotels and resorts can provide information for local dry cleaning or pressing services, but a bride may want to consider bringing along her own portable steamer. For mild wrinkles, hanging the dress in a steam-filled bathroom will remove all signs of packing.

If the thought of traveling with a wedding dress is too much for a bride, shipping is also an option. The U.S. Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx all offer solutions for shipping large items, most of which include free tracking of the package. This option has become so popular that many hotels will now sign for the wedding dress as part of their service.