The bride’s dress is the wedding’s piece de resistance, so it must look perfect on the big day. E-commerce has made it possible for anyone to get their favorite design from anywhere in the world. There’s just one concern, though.

How should you pack a wedding dress for shipping?

How should you pack a wedding dress for shipping

If you’re planning to retail intricately-designed clothes online, you must also make good packing strategies for your creations. Haphazard packaging won’t give anyone a good unboxing experience. But if done ingeniously and consistently, it can increase wedding dress sales. And perhaps, more orders for bridesmaids’ gowns’, too.

In this article, we share an expert guide on packing wedding dresses—and pretty much every other sophisticated garment—for shipping.

But first, we need to explain a few things that are critical to your packing approach.

What Should You Consider When Packing a Wedding Dress & Gown for Shipping?

Packing a cotton shirt for shipping is a cinch: fold it, put it in a labeled poly mailer, then ship it. When the customer receives it wrinkled, all they need to do is iron it out.

Meanwhile, a wedding gown’s complicated design and delicate fabric make it harder to package. You want it to get to the bride wrinkle-free so it saves her the hassle of ironing, which can ruin the dress if she’s not a clothing professional. You also want to ensure that all the pieces are intact when they arrive.

So to make sure that your client sings your praises on her wedding day, you must take note of the following details when shipping her dress:


Beads and Sequins

Most wedding dresses are embellished with these pretty things. Without careful packaging, they may come off during transport. Worse, they may snag an overlapping layer of fabric and ruin your design. Your packaging approach must protect the dress from such damages.


Gown Fabric

One concern here is whether or not the textile you use can remain crease-free during transport. If the bride chooses such material for her dress, then packing should be easier. However, if she opts for a wrinkle-prone fabric, you may have to put in more padding between the folded layers or arrange for a different mode of delivery.

Another concern is the difference in weight between the bodice and skirt. If the skirt is much denser than the bodice, it might tug at the latter during shipment and wreck its fitting. You can keep this from happening if you fold the dress properly and make sure that it doesn’t shift around much during shipment.

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Size of the Ensemble

Some brides prefer simpler dresses, whereas others won’t do without bigger trains. The dress size impacts both your shipping strategy and costs. Buyers get disappointed with very cheap packaging, but too high shipping prices can also turn them off. Assess the gown thoroughly so you can get the best type and size of packaging for it.

packing a wedding dress


Packing Materials

To ship a wedding dress, you need packing materials with the following qualities:

  • They must be of the right size.
  • They should be able to prevent creasing and snagging.
  • They must keep all parts of the dress in the same place during transport.
  • They must keep the dress free from odors, stains and moisture.

With these in mind, experts recommend using the following materials to pack a wedding gown for shipping:

(a) Wrapping Paper

For the dress’s inner wrappings, retailers may choose between acid-free tissue paper and newsprint paper.

Tissue paper is softer, so it’s more pliable. But this also makes it more likely to move about during shipment. The wedding dress may lose some of its protection if tissue paper gets pulled in different directions.

Meanwhile, many retailers prefer newsprint paper when packing wedding dresses bound for distant places. It is thin but does not crumple as easily as tissue paper. It is also cheaper, so it can help you pack a lot more dresses for the same price.

(b) Garment Bag

Garment bags are fabric- or plastic-made bags specifically shaped for clothes.

Fabric garment bags are usually made of nylon or muslin. Both protect wedding dresses from dust and light. They are lightweight and will not add much to your shipping costs. They are also safe to handle as they won’t leach harmful chemicals.

However, shipping experts prefer plastic garment bags over their fabric counterparts. Like the latter, they can also shield clothes from dust. Dark ones can provide UV protection if light sensitivity poses a problem. But plastic’s biggest advantage is its ability to protect from wetness.

If the dress has a long distance to go or if you expect rain at its destination, you’re better off using plastic.

(c) Shipping Box

When you pack a wedding dress for shipping, you should treat it like any fragile item.

Some brides prefer theirs to come in a stylish branded box. This adds to your packaging strategy’s complexity because you now have to take care of both this box and the dress. 

The branded wedding dress box is one of your most important selling points. It should have your brand and logo so that customers never forget you. To create the perfect unboxing experience, it must likewise reach its new owner looking lovely and fresh. So you may have no choice but to use the double-box technique.

For double-boxing, get a durable outer box with enough room for the dress, its wrappings, the branded box and 2” of padding on all sides. Branded wedding dress boxes’ typical dimensions are 9” x 16” x 18”. Dresses with bigger trains have bigger branded boxes. The outer box must be only 2” bigger on all sides, as bigger containers will increase your shipping costs.

If the bride-to-be is okay with getting a dress in a garment bag only, you may choose a more economical shipping box. When shipping any clothing item, it’s always best to get a container of just the right size. This helps you maximize your shipping costs. You may have to avoid standard or flat-rate boxes to get the best shipping rates on parcels containing lightweight items like clothes.

(d) Padding Materials

Padding materials let you protect all the contents of the shipping box. For wedding dresses, your choices are newsprint paper and bubble wrap.

Newsprint paper offers good cushioning for lightweight parcels. It will not get deformed easily under a wedding dress, unlike when packing large vases or plates. However, many wedding dress retailers prefer bubble wrap, which is lighter, more visually pleasing and more convenient to use.

(e) Labels

You need labels to communicate both with the carrier and customer. They consist of the following:

  • Shipping labels 

These are typically sized 4” x 6”, which is enough to contain all important shipping information. Carriers will not accept labels of different dimensions, especially if you’re using an online postage service to speed up your shipments.

Also, wedding dresses are not cheap items, so it is best to ensure that their shipping information is easily retrieved. Shipping and clothing experts recommend printing shipping labels in duplicate. One is peeled and attached outside of the shipping box. The other is left unpeeled, placed inside the box. 

The second label lets the handlers identify the sender and recipient in case the first label or the shipping box gets damaged.

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  • Fragile and this-side-up stickers

These are additional stickers that let the handlers know that they should be more careful when holding your package. You may even attach an extra label saying “delicate dress” or “wedding gown” so they do not just toss the package around. Ask your carrier if they will charge additional fees for using these tags. 

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  • Thank-you sticker

To further enhance the customer’s unboxing experience, you can attach one of these stickers at the top surface of the garment bag. If not a “thank you,” you may choose another greeting appropriate for the occasion. Customized sheet labels are perfect for this purpose, as they let you convey a feel-good message and promote your brand at the same time.

customized sheet labels for boxes

A good shipping strategy reflects on your brand and makes you unforgettable to your customers. It increases the chances of getting great reviews and free word-of-mouth advertising. These elements count for a lot when serving clients during an occasion as sentimental as a wedding.

What Are the Steps for Packing a Wedding Dress Properly in a Box?

First up, do not pack the dress until you are absolutely ready to ship it. This reduces the odds of wrinkling the dress.

Also, before you start, make sure you have the following shipping materials ready:

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Get the dress out of storage and take pre-packaging pictures. Send the pictures to your client so she knows what it looks like before shipping.

Now you’re ready to pack the wedding dress. Here are the steps:

  1. Secure the bottom of the shipping box with clear packing tape. Making an H-pattern with the taping is best.
  2. Inside the shipping box, line the bottom with a 2” layer of bubble wrap. Set this aside.
  3. Apply a layer of newsprint paper on a flat surface, enough for the entire length of the dress.
  4. Carefully lay the dress face down on the newsprint paper.
  5. Fold the arms carefully at the back, making sure that there is a sheet of newsprint paper between every fabric layer.
  6. Place another sheet of newsprint paper on the back of the skirt.
  7. Fold the right- and left-hand sides of the skirt toward the center, ensuring that every layer also has a newsprint paper sheet in between.
  8. Carefully roll up the skirt.
  9. Place the folded dress inside the garment bag.
  10. Put your thank-you sticker gently on the garment bag’s top surface. It will greet the bride-to-be before she unwraps the dress.
    • If the dress has a detachable train, fold the train together with newsprint paper and place it in a different garment bag. This goes underneath the main dress when you put them both inside the shipping box.
    • If the dress has no extra train, proceed to step 12.
  11. For dresses with a branded box:
    • You may choose to line this box’s interior with a single layer of bubble wrap or newsprint paper before putting in the plastic-wrapped folded dress.
    • If the dress has a detachable train, put the train at the bottom and the main dress on top, face up. Proceed to step 11d.
    • If the dress lacks an extra train, put the dress inside the branded box, face up. Proceed to step 11d.
    • Get the shipping box that you lined with bubble wrap earlier. Put the branded box on top of the cushion bed. Proceed to step 13. 
  12. For wedding dresses with neither a branded box nor an extra train, get the shipping box that you lined earlier with bubble wrap. Put the garment bag face up on top of the cushion.
  13. Line the shipping box’s interior with more bubble wrap, making sure you have 2” on all sides. This should keep the parcel in place and protect it from impact throughout the trip.
  14. Put your unpeeled shipping label on top of the parcel.
  15. Put 2” of bubble wrap at the top.
  16. Close the box, making sure that you can close it without bending the flaps. Over-packing may also ruin the dress.
  17. Tape the box top. Again, an H-pattern is best.
  18. Attach your shipping label on a prominent side of the box. Put it away from edges, corners and seams to keep it flat and readable.
  19. You may put fragile stickers and additional labels outside the shipping box to remind the carrier’s employees to handle your package carefully.
shipping wedding dresses

Some clothing experts prefer to ship wedding dresses inside out, with a layer of muslin or tissue paper between the embellishments. This supposedly protects the beads and sequins from the impact of rough handling. However, shipping experts do not think that this measure is necessary, especially if you have ample cushion inside the shipping box. You may choose which one you think will please your customers more.  

Another variation is to put the dress first inside the garment bag before folding it. You may also do this, but make sure to protect the embellishments with a layer of newsprint paper. This should keep them from snagging the dress.

Et voila! You’re now ready to ship your wedding dress. Note that you can use this guide to any elaborately-designed gowns that you want to pack and ship.

USPS, FedEx or UPS: Which Courier Services are Suitable for Shipping a Wedding Dress?

Any carrier can ship your wedding dress securely. But do consider these factors when choosing the best one for your needs:

  • Your client’s schedule. The dress should get to her in time for fitting and possible alterations. You may want to look for the fastest logistics with the best rates if she’s in a hurry.
  • The carrier’s insurance. Not everyone will offer ample insurance. Wedding dresses tend to be pricey, so you should consider getting additional insurance before you ship one.
  • The carrier’s box dimensions. The standard ones used by USPS, FedEx and UPS are not always appropriate for shipping wedding dresses. Flat-rate boxes may not always give you the best rates, especially if you’re double-boxing wedding dresses.  

To make your shipments more secure, choose a shipping box that does not look too pretty on the outside. Your customer will understand it so long as you keep the interior looking good. This helps stave off package thieves—the porch pirates and cargo pilferers.

Ship Wedding Dresses the Right Way

In summary, wedding dresses are special garments that must be packed like fragile items before shipping. A good packaging strategy ensures that their embellishments remain intact during transport. It guarantees a memorable unboxing experience for your customers, which can help cement your brand in their minds.

The materials you need for packing a wedding dress for shipping include:

    • Corrugated shipping box
    • Bubble wrap
    • Newsprint paper
    • Plastic garment bag
    • Branded wedding dress box (optional)
    • 4” x 6” labels
    • Fragile stickers (optional)
    • Customized sheet labels

All of these help protect the parcel from internal and external damage. They also make sure that the carrier properly handles the dress.

Carriers like USPS, FedEx and UPS can all securely ship your masterpiece. However, your needs and those of your clients may vary at any given time. So choose one that can get you the best service at the winningest price when you need it.

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