*Your wedding dress is one of the most important aspects of your big day. It's also one of the most delicate. To make sure your dress looks as pristine as it did at the bridal salon down the aisle, we reached out to Julie Sabatino, a.k.a. The Stylish Bride, for her expert advice. Based out of New York City, Sabatino helps engaged girls find their dress and style it — essentially she helps her brides-to-be look red-carpet ready on their big day. Below, Sabatino breaks down how to get your dress from point A to point B, whether you're marrying in your hometown or hosting a destination wedding. *
"How a dress is packaged is critical to the condition it is in when you arrive to your wedding," Sabatino says. "If you purchased it at a bridal salon, it will be professionally stuffed to preserve the shape and minimize wrinkling. They create a bust form out of cardboard and tissue paper, so that the bodice won't cave in. Then they cover the dress in a layer of plastic before putting it in a large bag." (If you bought your dress off-the-rack or ordered it online, you can still package it like the professionals. Just ask a dry cleaner in your area to do it. Sabatino recommends searching WeddingGownSpecialists.com.)
"You need to figure out how you want to get it where it needs to go in the most reliable way possible," she says. Below, she breaks down the pros and cons of your two options.
Carrying It With You: "Depending on the size of your dress, the garment bags can get very big. If you're driving, you'll want to lay it as flat as possible in your car. If you're flying, you can ask the stewardess to hang it in the closet — they're usually happy to do it," the expert says. The one downside to this method: "Your dress is being handled more, which can cause wrinkles."
Shipping It: "Place your packed dress into a large box. Generally, I like to ship it over night via Federal Express, so it can be tracked. Choosing over night shipping also ensures it will be in the box for as little time as possible. Also, you make sure to have someone available to sign for the package when it's delivered," she explains. "Shipping is logistically easier of your two choices, but you give up the comfort and security of having your dress in your possession. Though do not ship it if you're marrying outside of the country because you run the risk of it getting caught in customs."
Remember: You can't control the weather. "All sorts of unexpected circumstances can impact transit time, so make sure there is enough time between the arrival date and your wedding date!" notes Sabatino.
Day of Care:
"When your dress arrives, you should hang it in a spot that's out of the way and take the train out of the bag. Put a sheet down on the floor and fold it over the train to avoid it getting dusty or stepped on," Sabatino recommends. "If you're dress is a little wrinkled, ask a professional to care for it. Fabrics are treated differently, so you want someone to handle it properly."