How to Travel with a Wedding Dress, According to the Experts

Penni Schewe


Don’t just throw your stuff into your carry-on—bring some strategy to the task. Bjornsdottir suggests organizing all of the items into small bags and laying them out the night before to avoid any day-of anxiety.

Reach out to the dress or suit designer for packing advice

Before you even think about how to carry-on your dress or suit, think about how you’re going to prepare it for the trip. “Nobody can advise you better than the designer,” says Bjornsdottir. “They definitely have an opinion and expertise on how to hang, roll, fold, and store your dress or suit and accessories.”

Garment bags are a must

There’s no getting around this one. The best way to make sure your clothing doesn’t fall prey to another traveler’s spilled coffee, or get run over by a rampant suitcase, is to pack it in a garment bag. You’ll still want to follow Bjornsdottir’s suggestion about getting the designer’s advice, as each garment will have its own quirks to consider, even when hanging. “Think about getting a garment bag with a hanger for better transport in the airport. This enables you to hang on strollers and even some suitcases while walking through the airport,” says Groeneweg. “Something that is easy to fold is also great in case you have to use the overhead compartment. And make sure it has a zipper, just in case customs or security will need to have a look in the bag.”

The world of garment bags can be overwhelming, so check with your designer for specific recommendations. If you bought something off the rack, there are a few reliable elements of a good garment bag: water-resistant material, zipper access, and a built-in hanger (or space to use a hanger). If it has a few pockets, even better. Consider how large your outfit is; the space will fill up quickly when you’ve got a dress packed with tulle. If the latter is what you’re working with, opt for something like the Simply Essential Dress Storage Bag from Bed Bath & Beyond. Not only is it great for security thanks to its see-through design, but you’ll be able to keep an eye on it to ensure the dress isn’t bunching up. If you have a smaller dress with a fabric that can be rolled or folded, consider something more compact like this convertible garment bag from Modoker that doubles as a duffel and has a convenient shoulder strap.

Some suitcase brands even have garment bags made specifically for their own designs, like Away; those who own the Bigger Carry-On have the option to add a centerfold garment sleeve. An option like this is best for outfits that have already been pressed or can be folded, as you will only have so much room to work with.

Contact the airline prior to travel

Don’t wait until you’re at the airport to let the airline know you’re traveling with precious (fashion) cargo. If possible, ask for an extra carry-on allowance well in advance to avoid any issues at the check-in desk or in security. “Make sure it will be registered in the booking,” Groeneweg says. “And mentioning the reason is good too.” And cover all of your bases: “It’s always beneficial to contact the airline prior to travel,” she continues. “For example, Icelandair would contact the crew and inform them about passengers traveling with garment bags. Speak to the employee at the check-in desk when arriving at the airport to get confirmation prior to going through security.”



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