Are you having a destination wedding or finally sold your wedding dress online and now need to figure out how to ship it? Today is your lucky day because we have put together the ultimate guide on how to pack and ship a wedding dress.

  • Package it properly. This will ensure the dress is not damaged in transit. (Remember, the box will be loaded onto trucks, conveyor belts and potentially airplanes. The handlers will not be aware of the precious cargo inside).
  • Insurance: insure it for the value/selling price.   
  • Tracking: use a trackable method and require a signature release.
  • International shipments will have import duties and fees: buyers should be aware of their country's duties and taxes when importing a dress from another country. Each country is different!
  • Who pays for shipping? Typically, the buyer pays for the shipping cost (and any duty or taxes if applicable). This amount is added to the asking price for a final amount.
  1. Use a sturdy corrugated cardboard box.  Find one at your local Post Office or UPS store for minimal cost (typically under $5).
  2. Get a box that is just big enough.  The larger the box, the higher the shipping costs (even for the same weight).  UPS has boxes that are 24x18x5, and 18x16x9 (and many more options).  Look for something in that range. (Find your nearest UPS location).
  3. Fold the gown as required and use plastic to cover it (for the unlikely but possible event that the box gets wet).
  4. Seal the flaps and seams with strong mailing tape that is a minimum width of two inches.
  5. Place the shipping label on top and avoid putting the label over a seam/closure or on top of the tape. Put a duplicate label (with a phone number) inside the box.

Shipping costs will vary based on the location and dimensions of your package (expect a large ballgown to cost more to ship than a simple sheath).  Once you know your buyer's location, you can get a shipping estimate from any of these carriers.

 USPS

 

Calculate Shipping Costs

       Fed

 

Calculate Shipping Costs

     UPS 

Calculate Shipping Costs

 

Shipping a Wedding Dress Internationally

If you are shipping your dress from the US to Canada, you can get an estimate of the duty charges here. Customs/Duty for other international shipments should be discussed directly with your shipping provider. You can expect to pay importing fees, local taxes (like a normal purchase), and any duties your government has imposed on importing clothing goods.


In-Depth Guide: How to Pack and Ship A Wedding Dress

Get the Right Box

Any old box will not do when it comes to shipping a wedding dress. And you probably won’t know exactly what size and sturdiness you need (unless you are in the shipping business). The best place to get a box to ship your wedding dress is at the bridal shop where you bought it. 

You see, most bridal shops receive wedding dress deliveries every day. And luckily for you, they typically save some boxes for when they have to ship gowns out. These are the perfect boxes to ship a wedding dress because it is what the designers use to ship gowns to the boutiques. 

If you cannot get a box from a bridal boutique, then you can get one from a local UPS or Fedex store. You will want to get a box that is a little bigger than your gown when it is folded in half. Don’t get a box that is too small because then your dress will have to be crammed into it which may cause damage, and for sure will cause wrinkles. This will make the presentation of your gown when it is unboxed look horrible. 

Most wedding gowns will fit into a box that is 18 x 16 X 9.

Prepare Your Gown

We all know what happens with boxes when they are put into the delivery trucks or onto a plane. Ever watch luggage being loaded and unloaded onto a plane? Or watch your local delivery driver set boxes down in the rain? What! In order to protect your gown from damage, you should take the time to prepare it properly before you box it up. 

If your wedding dress has beading on it you will need to wrap it with some type of muslin cloth. Doing this keeps the fabric from getting caught on the beading which results in snags, pulls, and runs. You definitely don’t want that!

Once you wrap it up, the next step is to fold it. If your bridal shop will help you then request that they turn it inside out before folding it. Again, if there is beading they will need to add the muslin cloth before turning it inside out. This is a little unknown tip that most people don’t know! (you can thank us later). Why is turning it inside out important? If your box gets damaged, crushed, or worse...wet during the shipping having the gown inside out will protect the outer layers. The layers that would be affected would be the lining and tulle instead of the outer, pretty parts of the gown. 

Once it is inside out, place it into a clear, plastic garment bag. Your bridal shop should have these and while they may charge you for it (only a couple of bucks) it will help protect your gown should the box get wet. 

Next, then you can fold it; bodice to the hem. This should allow it to fit nicely in the box.

The Presentation

This part is critical. Don’t just shove your wedding dress into the box in a messy way. Make it look pretty so that the person that bought it will enjoy unpacking it. Use some acid-free tissue paper to line the box and wrap around your gown. Something pretty like a soft pink tissue paper or light blue would be great!

Seal It With A Kiss

Once your dress is properly prepared and wrapped neatly in pretty tissue paper your next step is to seal the box. Make sure to use heavy-duty packing tape. Seal down the length of the center of the flaps that open and down each side. This helps to keep the box from popping open during shipping (you know if they are throwing it into the truck and plane). 

If you are shipping it to another bride, you may want to consider adding a little thank you note inside the box. Your new bride will love this extra special touch. 

Note: if you receive a box from the bridal boutique it is a used box. There may be some small holes from other deliveries. Make sure to tape over these as well. It’s just an extra precaution. 

Label It

This is not an absolutely necessary step but we feel that it can help with how your dress is handled during the shipping process. 

Get yourself the biggest sharpie you can find and write (neatly) “wedding dress” on the outside of your box. 

Insure It

Do not miss this step! And do not skimp on how much insurance you put on it. The best thing for you to do is to add insurance to the package for the “full value” of the wedding dress. This is essential if the package gets lost or stolen. 

Sign For It

Another helpful tip is to add the “signature required” to your package. Yes, this is an added fee but if you do not require a signature to receive the package it will just be left at the door. If it sits at the door waiting hours for someone to come home it could get stolen. 

Speedy Delivery 

In order to limit the amount of exposure to damage that your wedding dress gets, you should consider shipping it the fastest way possible. Rather than going snail mail, or ground delivery upgrade it to overnight or two-day shipping. 

That’s it! How to pack & ship a wedding dress from start to finish. Our final tip may be the best of all. If you don’t have to ship it - don’t. If you are having a destination wedding travel with the gown yourself. For more inspiration and wedding planning tips check out our blog

PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com

About PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com

Since 2004, we've been connecting buyers and sellers of new, sample and used wedding dresses and bridal party gowns. Buying and selling with us is safe and easy. And since we don't charge any commission, you'll make more money selling here than anywhere else.