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So your dress is in one state, and your wedding is in another—what now? Luckily, you have a few options for getting it safely from here to there: You can drive your gown to your destination wedding by car, you can carry it onto the plane, or you can ship it via UPS or FedEx. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not so fast. Here, we break down each method to make sure your wedding dress looks picture perfect on your big day. But whichever method you go for, remember to bring a travel-size garment steamer to smooth out any wrinkles once you reach your destination. And this may go without saying, but you should never, ever stuff it, fold it, or roll it into your suitcase!
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Drive it There
Riding with your wedding dress gives you the most control, making it your safest bet to safeguard against wrinkles, airport security, or, God forbid, a lost UPS package. If your car has the capability, fold the back seats down, and lay the dress flat on top of a clean sheet (alternately, you can simply spread it out in the back seat). Place another clean, flat sheet over it, and keep the windows closed so dirt or dust can't blow into your car.
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Fly it There
Yes, you can carry your dress on, just probably not in the way you're envisioning. Instead of squeezing it into a suitcase that fits in the overhead bin—definitely not ideal for a big, poufy ball gown!—hang it up in breathable, muslin garment bag. When you get to your gate, ask an attendant to hang it up in the onboard closet. (Yes, those exist; they're for flight attendants' personal use.) They should be happy to oblige, but to be sure, call the airline ahead of time and see what they say.
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Ship it There
A do-it-all kit that can be shipped (or used as a carry-on in lieu of a suitcase) is another option for getting your gown out of town. The Original Destination Wedding Kit, sold by the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, includes acid-free papers, packing instructions, a stain stick, and a dress box that fits into an overhead bin ($50). Ship through a reputable carrier, like Fed Ex or UPS, and make sure to insure it.
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How to Pack Your Dress for Shipping
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.
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Don't Forget Your Extras
What you can—and absolutely should—include in your carry-on suitcase: all the accessories you plan on wearing with your dress, such as your veil or headpiece, jewelry, lingerie, and shoes.
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