It was an after-thought, one that with the sharp clarity of hindsight I should have asked much sooner when planning a destination wedding. The dress and suit were purchased; they were hanging in the closet, right there, ready to log a few frequent flier miles of their own. But how to get them across the Atlantic to our remote wedding location at Hotel Budir? The strong preference, of course, would be both "free" and "undamaged". More than a few inquiries and a lot of waiting later, I had gotten my hands on some valuable information:
- Icelandair, our carrier, did not allow coach passengers to reserve space in their on-board cabinet for a suit or gown. In their words:
"You can store your wedding dress in the overhead bin, provided it is within our carry-on baggage size restrictions. The dress should be stored in a garment bag and should be folded in half to reduce wrinkling...[and] items placed in overhead bins may have other items placed on top of them by other passengers. We can not hang a gown up, but you can ask the cabin crew when you come onboard if space is available in the cabinet. Please note the cabinet is not big and the dress would be folded to fit into it if space is available. This cabinet is reserved first for Saga Class passengers." -customer service email, 10/14
- Many other airlines have cabinets/closets available for special usage, like wedding gowns; they operate on a first-come, first-reserved system, so email them sooner rather than later to make sure your pieces can be stored there. Ask how large the space is; your items may still need to be folded to fit.
If none of those choices are the perfect fit (pun hugely intended), there are alternatives.
- Pay more for guarantees. Buy a seat for your gown, or upgrade to Saga Class/First Class for a promise that space will be available in the cabinet or closet.
- Ship your gown. Leave plenty of time for transport and customs.
Ultimately, we ended up happy we chose to purchase pieces that travelled well when we decided to simply carry-on or check them. Having materials that were lightweight, foldable, easily steamed back to perfection were key, as was boarding as soon as possible to make sure there was room overhead. Because our wedding was in October, a chilly time of year in Iceland, and my dress was lightweight, I also tucked a faux fur jacket into the garment bag. My BHLDN dress and coat were placed neatly in an overhead compartment near our seats (I didn't want to let that baby out of sight!) and and his Bonobo's Jetsetter suit folded into our single piece of checked luggage. Wouldn't change a thing.
We bribed a friend to carry a hand steamer to the venue, but Hotel Budir has two large steamers available for guest use. Handy to note!
photographs by Emily & Ofer and Happy Confetti Photography