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Transporting Wedding Dress??


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My niece is getting married in February. We are flying Southwest Airlines from St. Louis to Ft. Lauderdale, changing planes in Orlando.


Southwest does not have any closets or any place to hang the dress during the flights. The dress has to fit in a 24x16x10 size carry on or has to be checked. It is a very full dress and I am very worried that it will be ruined if it is checked. Also, I am concerned about the bag being lost when we change planes.


Has anyone ever shipped a wedding dress via UPS to either a hotel at their cruise port or directly to the cruise line? This seems risky as well, but maybe the dress will arrive in better shape?



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I'm just guessing here, but if you ship the dress in a UPS box it would be as scrunched as in your check-in luggage....assuming you planned to dedicate 1 check-in luggage completely for the dress. check if the ship can steam/press the dress before the wedding. they do have laundry service onboard.


Even though your airline doesn't have closets, you might be able to store it laid out or folded once on top of items in the overhead bins.


Another option, get an airline ticket on an airline that has closets and beg the airline attendants to store the dress in 1st class closets. You can always change the existing ticket you have for a small fee (around $75).


I booked my flight to my wedding cruise in 1st class so I could have my dress & his tux stored in a closet...without me groveling from an economy seat for that request. Granted, the ticket was pricey, so I got 1st class 1-way. On the way home, we'll get economy tickets and stuff the gown in a case.


Shipping the dress....

UPS, along with FedEx, don't have a perfect track record and packages do get lost or damaged enroute. I'd gamble stuffing the dress in a hard-case luggage and check it on airplane before I sent it UPS.


On another note, when I was in a high-end wedding dress salon I'd watch couriers come and go with wedding gowns in somewhat small boxes. I think steaming them must bring them back to life.


I know dry cleaners can press and box your gowns usually for post-wedding storage. I'm not sure how the dress would look if you pulled it out of the box after some time.

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Hi, and thanks for the info.


I called SW and they don't have any closets or first-class seats. We are going through them for our group air. Prices are sky high due to the Superbowl game, so there's not much of a chance we can change carriers at this point. I'm thinking carrying on the dress and putting it in the overhead storage is going to be her best bet. We are cruising on Princess and going through them for the wedding, so I'm sure they can assist with any wrinkles that might need to be steamed out.


I will pass on the info. to my niece.


Thanks again!



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I can't remember exactly how much it was to get just my dress pressed on the Caribbean Princess, but I do know the total for getting my dress and DH's tux pressed was only $16.


DO NOT purchase the pressing through TheWeddingExperience. It will cost you $35 for the dress, and more if you want a tux press as well.


My dress was a full length wedding dress, with an additional sheer full length coat. They had no problem with it at all. The only "snag" we had, was we got married the 1st full day at sea, and on embarkation day there was SO much we had to do, that we almost forgot to send the stuff out to be pressed. Luckily our cabin steward was able to get the stuff to pressing and get it back on time.


I too had to fly with my dress. We flew USAir., which did have a small closet I hung my dress up in, but it still wasn't a full size closet, so the dress kinda pooled in the bottom of it anyway. And with transfers and everything, the dress is going to need pressed anyways, so I would suggest being as careful as possible, but not killing yourself over it. Oh and remember, those dresses are HEAVY, so hopefully your traveling with some nice guys to help your niece carry it.


Enjoy the wedding!


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  • 2 weeks later...

I could write a book about my "traveling wedding dress". I was married on board the NCl Star last December. We left MA in a major snow storm - I traveled with the dress in the white dress bag the entire way. I am a full figured gal and let me tell you the dress arrived fine. Mine was a strappless gown (it was hard to keep it on the hanger - I would recommend changing the hanger from the hard plastic to a wooden one) and had built in netting for the skirt. I dragged it thru security, the airport and onto the plane. I was on American and flew first class - they told me that I could not bring it on otherwise as there was no room to store it. I was able to roll the bottom of the dress in the bag and hang it in the closet. When I left there were suit cases on top of the rolled portion - so I think you may be able to roll the entire dress up and put it in the overhead - mine was not and wider than a carry on suitcase. When I got off I unrolled it, shook it out and then carried it on my back to the ship. I think the heavy white plastic wedding dress bag and laying it flat for the rest of the trip made a difference. I did not want to take a chance and mail it ahead of time - rather have wrinkles than no gown. My husband did do the tux rental thru the ship and it was waiting in the room when we arrived just right - no problems - so I would highly recommend this - less to carry with you. The traveling dress was enough. Hope the wedding is wonderful!

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I wouldn't recommend shipping it unless it is being delivered to someone you know and trust. There are just too many ways for it to get lost. And a wrinkled dress better than no dress at all!! :eek:


Here's what I did. I found a garment bag that met carry-on standards and packed the dress in it. I carried the bag unfolded onboard in the hopes that I could lay the dress flat in the overhead storage, or hang it somewhere. First, I smiled and asked as nicely as I could if I could pre-board so I could find overhead space for my dress. But the flight was fully booked and they couldn't do it. (I also got married on Superbowl weekend, but thankfully the Superbowl was not in Miami that year.) By the time I boarded the overhead storage was already jammed with bags and winter coats. So I pleaded with the flight crew to help me find overhead space for it. They ended up hanging it in what I think was a crew closet. The flight crew will try and be helpful, just ask as nicely as you can and they will usually try to find a way to work it out. But be prepared that you may have to check the dress.


Once I arrives, I knew there wasn't time for the ship to press my dress. But if the wedding isn't until the third or fourth day of the cruise, the ship should be able to steam it. Since that wasn't an option for me, I brought a small travel steamer. As it turned out, the dress traveled really well, and only needed a touch up with the steamer. But the steamer came in very handy for some wedding guests whose clothes didn't travel as well.


My plan was to do anything I could not to check the dress with the airline - especially if there was a plane change. In my case, traveling in winter, on Superbowl weekend when there are bound to be overbooked flights, the lost luggage lottery odds seemed pretty high. So just in case, I packed a "back up dress", a simple white sheath that I knew I could steam any wrinkles out of. Thankfully I didn't need it.

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I was planning on carrying my dress on in a garmet bag as well, but my wedding shop told me that they recommend that it be put in a carry on suitcase because it will draw less attention to you, it is easier to carry, and it is easier to get through security without having to worry about it getting snagged, etc. My wedding shop offered to pack it in a carryon suitcase for me because they have done this a lot in the past. It will get somewhat wrinkled, but they said that I would need to get it pressed even if I had it in a garmet bag.

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Under NO circumstances ship your dress anyplace! Bring it on the plane & have the ship do a ironing job on it when you get onboard. Pay the $20 or more to get it done. Believe me - they will not hurt it and will painstakingly go over to make sure its perfect. Call the cruiseline beforehand & they can alert the ship.


I know on the planes there are tiny closets right when you first walk on the plane. If you go to the front desk at the terminal where you board, ask them if there's room. More likely than not, the crew will find a place to store it for you. If not, ask them if they can store it in the First Class overhead bin. They are usually not full.


The company I work for, we deal with UPS alot & I can't even begin to tell you the issues you face.


- UPS like all airlines does alot of layover flights, packages get switched from one plane to another. If your dress DOES NOT make that connecting flight, it won't go until the next available flight which could be 2 days later.


- Your dress will be in a box. No matter how well you wrap & package it - its going to get crinkled or the box will get battered. So it has to be ironed anyway. Guaranteed!


- IF god forbid, any liquid seems into your box, kiss your dress goodbye. There will be no way for you to get this fixed & UPS will take forever to process a claim.


I'm not out to scare you, but I'm giving you only a few of the worse case scenario's.

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By "carry on garment bag" I meant actual luggage, as opposed to the typical nylon bags that come with a gown or suit. I wanted to make sure it was in something that would protect the dress if I was forced to check it with the airline. Unlike a standard roll-aboard, a trifold garment bag can be hung. A full length gown would still need to be folded, but hopefully with fewer creases than a standard suitcase.


I packed my nylon dress bag so that I could remove the dress from the undersized luggage as soon as we got to our hotel. I was able to board the ship with the dress bag without any problem.


Here's a photo similar to the bag I used....





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If you got it from someplace like Davids, and they have a store in the area, it might be possible for them to fit you locally and have it waiting for you when you get there for pickup. Have never done this, but it certainly couldn't hurt to ask...

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David's can arrange to ship your dress to local store. It will be pressed once it arrives so they need it to arrive a week or two in advance. Then you or someone in the area will need to pick it up at the store. I was married out of Ft. Lauderdale, and the closest David's was a 30 minute drive -- one way. I would have had to go down a day early and rent a car in order to pick up the dress in time for the wedding. I don't recall what the cost was for the shipping and such, but I do know they were willing to do it. There just wasn't a shop near enough to make it a viable option for me.

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I carried my dress onboard in a David's Bridal garment bag and it was no problem at all. I just folded my dress and put it in the overhead. Everyone was very helpful and more than accomodating. I was on a low cost carrier similar to Southwest. I did count the dress as my carry on and carried nothing else. When I got to FL my dress was hardly even wrinkled but I used a travel steamer to touch up the night before the wedding. I agree with the person who said use a wooden hanger instead of the plastic one.

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