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Choosing the Right Garment Bag for Your Wedding Dress

When cared for properly, your wedding dress will last a lifetime, and perhaps for generations to come. From choosing the right garment bag, to packing your dress, to traveling with the dress, to storing it after the wedding, there are certain tips every bride-to-be should know.

a bride in a flowing white gown walking outdoors

Whether your wedding will be held halfway around the world or just across town, it is critical that your wedding dress be transported with the utmost care. The importance of the occasion, along with the delicate fabrics and embellishments, warrant a special plan for your dress’s care.

From choosing the right garment bag, to packing your dress, to traveling with the dress, to storing it after the wedding, there are certain tips every bride-to-be should know.

Choosing the Right Wedding Dress Garment Bag

One of the most important and challenging tasks when planning your wedding is finding the perfect dress. After the search is over, and you’ve found the perfect one, the next step is keeping it immaculate through fittings, alterations, and transport to the venue.

An error that many brides-to-be make is assuming a bridal boutique bag will protect their wedding dresses. Boutique bags are designed to protect a dress for a short period of time and under ideal conditions, perhaps from the bridal boutique to your house. Purchasing a higher quality long garment bag will protect your dress through many outings and even long-distance travel.

a bride-to-be looking through wedding dresses in a salon

There are a few other things to keep in mind when purchasing a wedding dress garment bag:

  • It should be large enough to hold and accommodate the entire wedding dress. Fuller dresses will require a bag with a wider gusset.
  • It should be made of a natural textile, such as organic cotton, that will allow the dress to breathe.
  • It should be made of lightweight material, so it doesn't add additional weight to the dress.

Packing Your Wedding Dress

Unlike casual or even formal clothing, a wedding dress requires special handling of the delicate fabric, as well as ample storage for a sweeping train.

The best advice when packing a wedding dress is to pack it as if you were preparing it for long-term preservation.

  • Begin by inserting the hanger, with the dress already on it, through the slit in the top of the garment bag.
  • Then hang the gown up high against a wall, with the garment bag attached to it as a cape, so it can be easily folded into the garment bag.
  • Take the left and right sides of the dress and fold them over each other, meeting in the center of the dress.
  • From here, start loosely rolling up the bottom until it fits in the garment bag comfortably.
  • Once you have the gown safely inside the bridal garment bag, very carefully zip up the bag, with your index finger placed behind the zipper to prevent snags and ripping.

Traveling With Your Wedding Dress

Traveling with a wedding dress can be a stressful undertaking. One of the easiest ways to safely transport your wedding dress is to purchase a ticket for the dress. You will be able to keep an eye on your dress at all times and will know that it is safe.

However, if that is not an option, consider these tips to keep your dress protected while traveling.

  • Never check your wedding dress.

    Even if you are using the highest quality wedding dress garment bag, it is never a good idea to include your gown with other checked luggage. There is nothing that can ruin your wedding day faster than learning that your dress got lost, stolen, damaged, or redirected to another part of the world.

  • Contact your airline.

    Although airlines can't guarantee the safe transit of your wedding dress, airline professionals can advise you on their policies for flying with large and delicate items. Most airlines will consider your dress as a carry-on item, but it is wise to double-check your airline’s weight and size regulations.

  • Consult with the flight attendants.

    Some airlines have closets for first-class passengers and pilots, and the flight attendants may be willing to store your dress there. Or, there may be empty seats on the flight, and your dress could have its own seat.

  • Pack a portable steamer.

a portable steamer

During transport your dress may have gotten wrinkled or creased. The portable steamer - an easy-to-pack, inexpensive item - will return your dress to pristine condition. If you are traveling to an international destination, be sure to pack an appropriate plug adapter. And, to keep the water spots from the steam away from your dress, place a towel or a cotton sock over the steamer's head.

Storing Your Wedding Dress After the Wedding

Many brides choose to store their wedding dresses after the wedding. To properly preserve a dress and avoid any damage from occurring, follow these tips:

  • Purchase an acid-free box or garment bag to store your dress in.
  • Store the dress in an area that is safe from harsh light or extreme temperatures.
  • Add silica desiccant packets inside the box for humidity control.

Another option is to take your dress to a wedding dress preservation specialist who will create a plan based on the dress’s fabric, embellishments, and stitching.

a stunning wedding dress being packed in a box

FAQs

1. How do I transport my wedding dress?

The safest way to transport a large and delicate item like a wedding dress is to use a high quality wedding dress garment bag. Fragile items like wedding dresses need to be packed correctly and protected during any kind of transport, whether across town or across the world.

2. How do I transport a dress on a plane?

When it comes to air travel, there are a few ways to make sure your dress will be safe from harm during the flight. You should contact your airline about their policies for handling delicate items. You may even be able to store your dress in a first-class closet or empty seat. However, the most secure option is to buy an extra one-way ticket for your dress.

3. How long is a garment bag for a wedding dress?

A wedding dress garment bag should be somewhere between 60" and 70" long. It’s also important that the garment bag has a wider gusset in the bottom of the bag. This can prove especially useful for wedding dresses with extra material.

4. How do I store my wedding dress after the wedding?

The most important thing in preserving your wedding dress long term is to store it in an acid-free garment bag. Keep the dress away from light and heat, and you will be able to preserve it for many years to come. You might also consider purchasing a wedding dress preservation kit or hiring a professional to package it.

5. How do I pack a wedding dress in a suitcase?

It is not recommended to pack your wedding dress in a suitcase. Folding wedding dresses and other fragile items can cause wrinkles at best and damage at worst. A dress should always be hung during transport if possible.

wedding favors saying ‘thank you’

When cared for properly, your wedding dress will last a lifetime, and perhaps for generations to come. As the saying goes, “It’s not just a dress. It’s the dress that you’ll remember forever.”

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