From the moment my husband got down on one knee and proposed in the sand at sundown, I knew I wanted a destination wedding. When it came time to choose a wedding dress, I only considered styles that were sleek and simple. Basically I had to find something I could pack inside a suitcase since we had booked tickets on a regional carrier. Most of these airlines do not have closets or decent overhead bin space. So I knew beforehand that I’d have to gate-check a bag at the airport. It was a risk I chose to take. Thankfully my dress arrived safe and sound. I picked it up on the tarmac in Monterey.
Not all brides are quite so lucky.
“Can I hang this inside the closet?” asked a passenger on my flight from New York to Miami last week. She held a long, white garment bag with the words David’s Bridal written in gold across the zippered front.
Normally flight attendants are more than happy to accommodate a wedding dress, but sometimes it’s just not possible. This was one of those times.
“Congratulations!” I said to the blushing bride in an attempt to soften the blow. She smiled. Oh how I dreaded delivering the bad news. How could I tell her there were no closets and that first class coats had been hung on a hook between the bulkhead wall and the last row of first class seats? No way would her big puffy dress fit in such a confined space. And if miracle upon miracle it did fit, it would get crushed.
Tips for traveling with a wedding dress:
Another solution would be to order the dress at the destination. This is, of course, very relative but if it’s a chain of stores, they can usually do this. The bride though might want some time to do any alterations. They would pick the design at their local store and have the same held where the wedding will take place.
For the record, I stuffed my Best Woman dress in my checked bags en route for my sister’s California wedding. No way would I drag that thing on board when I was flying alone with two small kids (left one in France). Came out great. Just hung it as soon as I arrived. It wasn’t poofy but it was full length, satin and had fish bones in it.
Once a passenger told me how my first airline LOST her checked wedding dress. She had to borrow one for the ceremony. How awful was that?!?
Great tips! For my destination wedding (Captiva Island, 2007), I shipped the dress. I was a little worried about it at first, but found it much less stressful than carrying it through the airport. Plus it gave my parents something else to get excited about – when it arrived at their condo, they took pictures of the box! Insane.
I used a Wally Bag for my big puffy dress. It traveled all the way from Flroida to Iceland and back. The garmet bad worked great and had plenty of room for all the tulle and extras and kept it wrinkle free! You can find them used on ebay sometimes… it made traveling with my dress a cinch!