How to pack your wedding dress for airline travel?

You have booked your dream destination wedding and bought your wedding dress but are not sure how to get your dress to your venue.

How to pack your wedding dress for travel

Carry-on vs in the hold

It’s more secure if your wedding dress is with you in the plane cabin, but the size of carry-on luggage is fairly small. The advantage of hold luggage is that you can generally have a larger suitcase so it is easier to pack your wedding dress. The worry is that there is a possibility that your hold luggage may get lost in transit especially if you have to switch flights. If you do choose to use hold luggage then make sure you write your contact details in an obvious place on the suitcase in case it does get lost so you can get it back quickly.


Ask cabin crew to hang your dress

Some airlines such as British airway and Virgin Atlantic may be able to hang the dress for you, where space permits. BUT, it’s NOT GUARANTEED, sometimes the space is really limited on the plane or they have already packed other passengers’ items, in this case, they may not be able to help you.


Ask to leave your dress on an empty seat and move yourself next to it

Some brides have done this, but it only works when your flight is not full. Sometimes even if your flight has empty seats, it can still be difficult moving so that you are next to your dress.


Ship your dress to the destination venue with a courier

It sounds simple, but you should try to avoid it especially when custom and tax may apply, wedding dresses are expensive items, sometimes the customs duty and tax can ramp up to 30-40% of your dress, which is a hefty bill to pay. If your dress is held at Customs it can also cause delays.

If you have to ship to somewhere you know there’s no additional customs duty and tax, make sure you pack your dress well with a protective layer, to prevent it from getting damaged; track your package and insure it to the full value, leave plenty of time in case of delays.


In all, our final conclusion is:

Cabin crews are often happy to help you store your dress where the space permits, but generally it’s not their responsibility and it’s never guaranteed that they’ll have a space to do so. The safest way to take your dress abroad is to fold the dress in carry-on luggage.


How to pack my dress in carry-on luggage?

It is possible to pack your dress into a small carry-on, even for a big ball gown. Believe me, when we ship our dresses abroad, we pack them into small cubes. How did we do that? Well, a little secret is to turn the dress inside out, so the delicate details stay protected. Then, start with the skirt, fold them towards the centre and then fold them again like folding a duvet.

Watch how this girl packs her big ball gown into a small carry-on luggage.

Depending on which airline you are flying with, the size of the carry-on luggage differs.

Easy Jet 56 x 45 x 25 cm

British Airway 56 x 45 x 25cm

Max dimension for carry-on baggage 44 x40 x 23cm
Max dimension for foldable garment bag 57 x 54 x 15cm

You’ll probably need to purchase their ‘priority & 2 Cabin Bags’ for £/€6-10, the max dimension for this baggage is 55 x 40 x 20cm

Air France 55 x 35 x 25 cm

KLM 55 x 35 x 25 cm

Please do double check with your airline before travelling as the luggage sizes are always subject to change.


Will my dress get wrinkled after squeezing it into a small box?

This depends on the materials. Lace, chiffon and tulle generally do not tend to wrinkle too much; whilst satin, crepe and organza are much easier to get creased. Talk to your destination venue and see if they have any steaming facility that you can use, if not, you can always pack a portable steamer with you. Check here for the best portable steamers on Amazon.

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