If your dress is in one state and your wedding in another, you'll need to plan for the gown's safe arrival. "The best way to travel with it is by car," says Steven Saidman, president of Imperial Gown Preservation and Restoration in Fairfax, Virginia.
To minimize wrinkling, take the largest vehicle you can. Fold the back seats down and cover them with a sheet; then lay out the dress, extending the skirt as far as possible. If you're flying, don't take the dress as a carry-on. Says Saidman, "Any box or luggage small enough to fit in overhead bins is probably too small to fit a dress without crushing it." Ship the package to your destination using a reputable carrier, such as Federal Express or UPS. "These companies specialize in safe handling, whereas airlines are used to luggage and could damage a box," says Saidman. It's best to pack your dress for shipping as if for preservation: Stuff the bodice, skirt, and sleeves with acid-free tissue paper and place the gown in a tissue-lined archival box. To prevent sharp creases, fold the dress in a Z-shape over crumpled tissue paper. Or use a box large enough to accommodate the dress folded just once -- at the waist, says John Mahdessian, owner of Madame Paulette, a couture cleaner in New York City.