Destination Weddings: Advice Regarding your Wedding Dress

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Being wedding planners, based in a hugely popular destination wedding city, Scottsdale, Arizona, we often work with brides who are traveling from other states and countries to have their weddings here in sunny AZ.  Some of the most popular questions we get from our destination brides are, “Should I purchase my dress where I live or where I’m getting married?” or “I bought my dress where I live, what is the best way to get it to where I’m getting married?”  Due to a recent situation we encountered with a bride, we decided to write about this topic.

One of the brides we were working with lived in New York and shipped her dress via UPS to Scottsdale for her wedding, which took place this past weekend.  Brides shipping their dress is very common and happens all of the time so you can imagine the shock and stress that was felt when the
absolute unthinkable happened…UPS lost her dress.  This bride’s photographer, Mike Olbinski, sent out a tweet, expressing his frustration on the matter.  Moments later, he received a call from one of our local news channels, who wanted more information on this story.  Check out what AZ Family News covered as they tell the story of our bride’s unfortunate incident:

In order to avoid this from happening to others, we wanted to make sure we were able to communicate to as many brides as possible about what we will now be advising destination brides to do with their dress when they are traveling to their wedding.

♥ Purchase Your Dress in your Wedding Destination Area

We highly recommend purchasing your dress in the city you will be getting married.  You will most likely be traveling to the city you are getting married in to look for your venue.  During this time, we suggest allocating enough time to go dress shopping as well.  You should only have one other additional trip for your first dress fitting, where your seamstress will begin alterations.  When you are traveling back for your wedding, we suggest arriving a few days early.  Schedule a dress fitting right when you arrive, so your seamstress has enough time for her final alterations.  After this you will be ready for the aisle.  This is the best case scenario to avoid any hassle with shipping your dress or carrying your dress on your flight with you.

♥ Shipping the Dress 

Being as we recently had the worst possible outcome for this option, this situation makes us a bit nervous.  However, we completely understand this may be the only option for some brides.  If your dress is large and full, carrying it with you on the airplane is not practical, so you are going to have to ship.  We can say, we have had several success stories with brides shipping their dress, so don’t stress too much if this is your only option.  I, myself, was married at a destination location and shipped my dress.  It arrived with out a problem.  If shipping your dress is the only way to go, we recommend shipping it overnight.  This cuts out multiple stops for the package, which will help avoid any mishaps with the shipping company.  You will need to set up an appointment with a trusted and reliable dry cleaner for steaming, fluffing and pressing. This has to be a company who is very familiar with working with wedding dresses.  Your wedding planner will definitely have some reliable recommendations for you.

♥ Flying With the Dress

This situation can be tricky.  We DO NOT recommend putting your dress in your checked luggage.  You have more of a chance of the airline loosing your luggage or your luggage ending up in a different state, than you do with your dress getting lost during shipping.  You must travel with your dress in a carry on.  The biggest problem we run into here is that some dresses are too large to fit into a carry on.  Sometimes brides are able to hang their dress in the first class wardrobe compartment, but this is rarely the case as flights tend to be overbooked and tight on space.  We recommend checking with your airline, prior to booking your ticket to make sure you know all of the ins and outs of bringing your dress on the plane with you.  We have noticed that each airline has their own set of regulations.  We recommend that you know these regulations prior to boarding with your dress, so that you are not walking into an unexpected stressful situation.  Just like with shipping your dress, you will want to have an appointment set up with a reliable dry cleaning company that can press or steam your dress before the big day.

As you can see from the above scenarios, there is no ideal situation.  The reality is, transporting or traveling with a wedding dress does have a downside.  However, as long as you do your research and pick the best solution for your situation you should be just fine!  Be sure to always include your wedding planner in your decision and get his or her opinion on what he/she has seen work best in the past.

We hope this information is helpful.  Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any specific questions on this topic! We are always here to help.

For more wedding advice, trends, and planning tips, be sure to check out our other social media pages:

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Until next time,


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