When it comes to wedding dresses, there is no such thing as a “typical” or “standard” gown. From black tie, to the backyard, and everything in between, there is truly something for everyone!
As a St. Augustine wedding venue, we host a lot of destination weddings and see a wide variety of wedding dress styles, and as a result, we’ve seen some amazing destination wedding dresses! We’re sharing our advice, along with advice from the experts, on everything you need to know about destination wedding dresses, from how to shop for them and, most importantly, traveling with your wedding dress.
What is a Destination Wedding Dress?
Technically speaking, any dress you wear to your destination wedding is a destination wedding dress!
Laney Maddox, Store Manager at Love, A Bridal Boutique in Jacksonville Beach, Florida says, “A destination wedding dress is whatever you want it to be! We are seeing so many brides embrace midi and mini dresses. Even jumpsuits are having a moment! Overall, a destination wedding dress should be effortless, comfortable, and authentic to your personal style. There are no rules anymore—be yourself and have fun with it.”
What comes to mind when you think of a “destination wedding dress”? Often, the first thought is an exotic beachside wedding featuring a bride in a lightweight, casual gown. But if your destination wedding is taking you to the mountains or a vineyard, you’ll be shopping for a different style dress.
A common thing among all destination wedding dresses is the need for them to travel well. Whether you are traveling by car, bus, plane, or train, you don’t want a dress that will be difficult to take with you! Whether because of its size or fabric, a wedding dress that can’t be folded or is too heavy is not a fit for a destination wedding.
Common lightweight fabrics for destination gowns include crepe, chiffon, lace, and organza.
Choose a wedding dress that will not only travel well but is easy to care for once you arrive at your destination because you likely won’t have all the luxuries waiting for you there.
How to Find a Destination Wedding Dress
Once a bride has chosen to host a destination wedding, it’s time to start bridal gown shopping!
The best way to find a destination wedding dress is by shopping like any other bride in search of the perfect gown. Be sure to contact your bridal boutique in advance and ask about what style wedding dresses they have in stock, or can order in time for your big day.
“Our biggest piece of advice right now is to shop early for your gown, 9-12 months is ideal, to ensure your gown will arrive in time for your alterations and also your travel plans,” says Tara Carroll of The White Magnolia Jacksonville.
Something that makes shopping for your destination wedding dress unique is the weather. If you live in a climate that is very different from where you are getting married, local bridal salons may not have many gowns that work for the style of wedding you are planning.
“A great tip is to find a bridal boutique in a similar location to where you’re getting married. Planning for a beachside ceremony? A boutique in a beach community will have so many options! Dreaming of a ceremony in the snow? A boutique in a cold climate will have so many more sleeve options for you!” says Maddox at Love, a Bridal Boutique.
Even before you begin wedding dress shopping, bridal gown designer Sohil Mistry of Enaura says, “Start with a mood board! Pinterest and Instagram are great ways to explore different style options. Once you begin to try on dresses, be open-minded to different silhouettes and styles, as many brides fall in love with something they never expected.”
Once you’ve booked a venue, you’ll want to choose a wedding dress that fits the aesthetic. A historic old-world venue may be the perfect fit for a classic lace gown, while a sleek and sexy gown might be the best match for a modern beach resort.
How to Travel with a Wedding Dress
For most people, their destination wedding is a plane ride away, and air travel doesn’t exactly put everyone at ease when it comes to their luggage.
The first rule of flying with your wedding dress is don’t put it in your checked luggage. The second rule is don’t stuff it into your overhead bin.
If you’re feeling anxious about traveling with your wedding dress, these tips from several bridal boutiques should help put your fears to rest.
“Contact your airline in advance. Every airline is different, and you want to know what options are available before stepping on a flight. See what on-flight accommodations they have available for storing your dress.”
You can generally hand your gown to a flight attendant at the front of a plane to hang during the flight. Double bag your gown if you feel nervous about traveling with it!” says Tara Carroll of The White Magnolia Jacksonville.
“Carry your gown on the plane with you, in the garment bag that was provided, and kindly ask the flight attendant if they can stow it in the closet for you,” says Kristen Tebault, Founder of Tebault Bridal in St. Augustine, Florida.
Once you arrive at your destination, there’s more care to be taken in regards to your dress.
“Trust us…your wedding dress will be in need of good steaming once you have arrived at your destination for your wedding. We suggest reaching out to the venue, hotel, or wherever you will be getting ready on the wedding day, to confirm whether or not they have an on-site steamer. If this is not something they provide, we recommend traveling with a hand steamer or purchasing one once you are there.”
“Inquire with your bridal stylist as to how to properly steam your wedding dress and veil—some will even have super handy video tutorials,” added Bri Marbais, Business Development and Bridal Stylist at The Bridal Finery in Winter Park, Florida.
You’re Ready to Say “I Do!”
Destination weddings (and wedding dresses) have become increasingly more popular over the years. Couples are loving the thrill of planning a wedding that also offers a vacation for themselves and their guests.
While in previous years, planning a wedding long-distance was more complicated, we now have endless resources like virtual tours to help you plan your dream—no matter where you’re located.
If you are looking to host a destination wedding with us, click here! We offer a range of options for those traveling near or far to wed with us and we look forward to making your dream a reality.