Flying with Luly: How to pack a wedding dress

Over the next two years, internationally known Seattle fashion designer Luly Yang will redesign uniforms for more than 12,000 Alaska Airlines employees. Between design sessions, Yang will share her favorite fashion-related travel tips.

As a wedding and couture gown designer, one of the questions I am asked most frequently by my brides is, “How do I travel with my wedding dress?”

While peak wedding season typically picks up in summer and early fall, today’s brides are getting married year round, and many of them will travel to destination weddings.

Wedding planning website The Knot recently released its 2015 Real Weddings Study, and I’m not surprised by the results. Of the 18,000 couples surveyed, 21 percent planned a destination wedding in 2015, and 49 percent were married 200 miles or more from where they lived.

For many brides, the dress is the most important and personal element of the ceremony, and the thought of packing it in a suitcase or storing it in an overhead bin during a flight can be daunting. Luckily, with the right technique it is both easy and safe to pack your dress!

How to pack your wedding dress as a carry-on

Follow these steps if you choose to carry your dress onboard the aircraft, which Alaska Airlines strongly recommends. If there is room, the flight attendants may offer to hang your dress in an onboard closet, but keep in mind that space is limited. Have confidence in traveling with your gown – if you follow these instructions, your gown will be perfectly safe for the duration of your flight.

You’ll need: a full-length garment bag (most stores will provide one when you take your gown home).

  1. Keep your gown on the hangar and place the top inside the garment bag (hook pulled though the top opening with the train and skirt still outside of the bag). Hang the gown facing you with the top half inside the bag. Tip: If you don’t have a tall rack in your home, you can use the top of a door.
  1. Next, take the bottom left and right sides of the gown and fold them into the center in a trifold. Slimmer sheath dresses may not need this step.
  1. While keeping the two sides of the skirt folded, roll the train from the bottom until it is short enough to place in the bottom of the bag. Lace and other textured fabrics are less likely to show wrinkles, and if you’re careful about how you fold and roll the train, there will be a lot less wrinkling and touch-up pressing needed upon arrival.
  1. Carefully zip the garment bag. Tip: many dresses have delicate details like lace, tulle or beading. To protect the garment from snags and tears, place your middle finger behind the zipper and guide it all the way to the top as you zip. The same care should be applied when unzipping the bag.
  1. Next, lay the garment bag on a flat surface, and carefully roll it into a loose trifold. Some garment bags include a snap or hook to make this easier, while others are designed to be loosely folded in half rather than thirds.
  1. Now your dress can be carefully stored in the overhead bin. Do not put anything heavy on top of your gown in the bin, otherwise it will get wrinkled.

Tip: Alaska strongly recommends labeling your garment bag with your name, email, phone number and address for both your home and destination. You may also want to set a reminder on your watch or phone to retrieve your carry-on upon landing. Many times people traveling for special events get overwhelmed and completely forget about the most important baggage item – the dress!

  1. Let the train out to relax and hang completely from a tall door once you arrive at your hotel or destination, and you’ll be ready to walk down the aisle!

How to pack your wedding dress in a suitcase

Follow these steps if you choose to check your dress, or if it is small enough to fit in a carry-on sized suitcase.

You’ll need: a suitcase, a large plastic bag like the ones you receive from the dry cleaner.

  1. Remove your gown from the hangar and carefully turn it inside out. This is to protect the outside in case anything spills inside of your suitcase. Tip: If you’re able, I always recommend giving your dress its own suitcase to keep it far away from toiletries, shoes and anything else that could crush or stain your dress.
  1. Lay it on a flat surface – a bed, or a clean, carpeted floor.
  1. Fold the two sides of the skirt in at the fullest part of the skirt and loosely roll the dress from bottom to top. Do not push down on the dress – you want to keep as much air between the layers and folds of the garment as possible to prevent wrinkling.
  1. Place the rolled dress in a large plastic dry cleaning bag to protect it from dirt and spills. Tip: Tie off or tape the ends of the bag to create an air pocket around the dress. This will protect the dress from other items in your suitcase and minimize wrinkles.
  1. Place the dress in your suitcase and you are ready to travel. Tip: Don’t overpack the suitcase with other items, and don’t place heavy items on top of the dress.

Tip: Alaska strongly recommends labeling your suitcase with your name, email, phone number and address for both your home and destination. You may also want to set a reminder on your watch or phone to retrieve your luggage upon landing. Many times people traveling for special events get overwhelmed and completely forget about the most important baggage item – the dress!

  1. Hang the dress once you arrive at your hotel or destination and you’ll be ready to walk down the aisle!

2 Comments on “Flying with Luly: How to pack a wedding dress

  1. I hand carried my Dress and my Fiancee’s wedding attire aboard our Flight, The attendant hung it in the Hanging locker in the Front of the Plane! Worked Fabulously.

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