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.
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.
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.
We recommend removing your dress from the sealed box to take photos to show the buyer its current condition. Buyers will want to confirm if there are any small flaws (like a missing button) before purchasing, and these are details that can go unnoticed before it was sealed. These images also allow the buyer to assess the current condition so that they won't have any surprises when they purchase.
You can always include pictures of your dress in the box, and then remove it and put it on a hanger to take a couple of extra shots to show how it looks currently and to check the tags. Make sure to wash your hands and not add hand lotion before handling the dress as body oils and lotions can be damaging.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.