Download our wedding packages! CLICK HERE

Everything You Need to Know About Destination Wedding Dresses

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. As a result, we’ve seen some amazing destination wedding dresses! We’re sharing our advice, along with advice from the experts, on shopping for and transporting a destination wedding dress.


What is a Destination Wedding Dress?

What comes to mind when you think of a “destination wedding dress?” Often, the first thought is to imagine an exotic beachside destination wedding location with a flowy, lightweight, and casual gown. Technically speaking, however, any dress you wear to your destination wedding is a destination wedding dress!

One of the things that is common amongst 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! Common lightweight fabrics for destination gowns include crepe, chiffon, lace, and organza, but many more may work well, depending on your destination location.

Designers know brides want to wear dresses that suit their unique destination wedding venue, yet allow them to look and feel like a bride. For one bride, this may mean an effortless flowy gown. Another bride may prefer a jumpsuit or even a mini dress that allows her to dance and feel free. What’s most important is finding a dress that feels most like you!

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.”


Indie Love, A bridal Boutique in Jacksonville Florida
Love, A Bridal Boutique in Jacksonville, Florida


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. However, be sure to contact your bridal boutique in advance and ask about what destination-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.


Interior of bridal boutique
White Magnolia Bridal Boutique | Photo Courtesy of Alondra Vega Photography


If you live in a climate that is very different from where you are getting married, local bridal salons may not have many gowns to try on that work for the style of wedding that 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 Laney Maddox at Love, a bridal boutique.

Once it’s time to go 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.”

If you’ve already booked a venue, you might 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.


Rachel’s dress from Tebault Bridal fit her St. Augustine wedding perfectly! | Photo courtesy of Olivia Morgan Photography


How to Travel with a Wedding Dress

As your wedding date approaches, start to think about how you will travel with your wedding dress.

The thought of traveling with a dress can be frightening for brides-to-be! To prevent any fear or anxiety, these are the top tips for how to travel with a wedding gown.

“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 stewardess at the front of a plane to hang if you are traveling by plane to your destination wedding. Double bag your gown if you feel nervous about traveling with it!” says Tara Caroll of The White Magnolia Jacksonville


bride and groom at their destination wedding location, the Lightner Museum
Kimberly and Dennis’ St. Augustine wedding portraits at the Lightner Museum | Gown from White Magnolia Bridal | Photo courtesy of Madison  Aycoth Photography


If you’re traveling by plane, carry your gown on the plane with you, either in a carry-on bag or by hand. “When traveling on a plane with your wedding dress, be sure to carry it on. Do not pack it in your checked baggage, because what if something happens and that bag is lost? 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.

“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.


wedding dress at the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, Florida
Brittany’s wedding dress hangs in the front of the Lightner Museum | Gown from Love, A Bridal Boutique | Photo courtesy of Portraits by Paige


Going To the Chapel!

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 attending guests.

While in previous years, planning a wedding long-distance was more complicated than planning a traditional wedding, 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.



Lightner Museum Blog Pinterest Link: Destination Wedding Dress Shopping

Contact Us / Book A Tour

  • *Please note: The Treasury Venue Collection does not handle elopements or photography permits in the Lightner Museum courtyard.
  • Select all that apply.

We can't wait to hear more about your event!

Step 1 of 4 - Basic Info


Please provide a few details before downloading our packages.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.