Tips on Shipping Your Wedding Dress
**UPDATE!** around 8/1/2018 prices have changed**
The following information is from hearsay, I am not a shipping pro just leaned a few tricks so passing them on.
This information could change if so I will try and update this promptly.
Tips 1 & 2 (and a few notes at the bottom) apply to all clients.
Carrier info and Tips 3 & 4 are for US only.
O and if your local to San Diego SKIP shipping and come drop off to my studio! (Zip: 91941)
USPS - United States Post Office
Cheapest. They have had its name soiled with accusations in the past. HOWEVER according to my personal experience, USPS packages have never had issues and arrive in better condition and quicker than both FedEx and Ups. Like others, I am under the impression that they have stepped up their game and changed for the better.
I have used them for returning all my Dresses with NO problems. There is a post office right across the street form my studio so I can easily get my mail there and just about everyone at my local post office knows me so you can be assured they take good care of these packages.
Ups & FedEx
Now UPS is viewed as the best, and FedEx is comparable with Ups. Both have better reputations but both have charged me double what USPS does. From personal experience, customer packages from them often arrive later and I have had a few boxes in the past destroyed, thankfully contents were fine.
Yet there has been a drastic improvement in the delivery’s since I have a business location now. I know all the delivery personal and all do a great job to get it to me safely. Even stopping by several times a day to make sure they catch me.
o and I HIGHLY suggest you pack it yourself and do NOT use ANY postal service. You care way more about your dress then they do!
1. Send ONLY the dress (and color samples)
Keep your hangers and nice dress bags! I have plenty of hangers and a very safe storage closet to keep your dress as it awaits coloring. These just add weight to the package, plus less for me to mix up the better!
2. Bag it Inside out and in plastic.
You want it in plastic so the elements can't get to it, Vacuum bags work great and help you reduce the size if you have a lot of tulle/crinoline, no need to do a full vacuum just reducing some of the air is extremely helpful!
Worried about delicate fabric like detailed lace, beads, chiffon? turning the dress inside out helps protect the outer fabric during shipping.
*Folding Tip* If your dress has boning (plastic in the top like a corset) fold after that so you don't distort the shape. Then proceed to fold up the skirt by wrapping it around the top in a rolling process (fewer creases).
I do Steam your dress 2 times, one prior to working, another prior to return but for certain fabrics you will need to steam it once more once you have it back.
3. Shipping USPS? Get a box from them.
This just recently changed big time so I don't have all the details. Previously any box with the max length of 15in or under didn't get the sur-charge, but this has changed. After a test it looks like boxes they stock at their stores skip the sur-charge but others even close in size will.
80% of gowns fit in their 15in X 10in X 12in box. You will have to buy the box but it's less than paying the sur-charge.
Small Dress? Use a FREE flat rate priority mail box from USPS and get even better rates.
For those of you that love the fluff, well shipping is going to cost a bit more.
4. Ship Via USPS Priority Mail OR Register Mail.
My Mail Lady and the Postal Store workers are wonderful! (yep. they all know me by name now. i'm a regular! LOL) So I get all the insider tips. Priority mail 2-3 day gets treated better and is only a dollar more, in most cases. You can get the packages insured, 1000 dollars of coverage for only around $15 extra.
Be sure to keep this receipt! It is the only evidence of the insurance and only way you get that money if something does happen. (FYI, you can use your own package for Priority mail, doesn't have to be labeled, they have stickers to "label" it)
Register Mail is another great way to go, it does take longer but it is more secure and insurance is cheaper this way if you plan to insure for anything over $700. To do register mail you will need brown paper tape, it's the kind you wet to activate the glue. They stamp your packing tape to insure it's not tampered with and hold it a day to be registered/put on file, hence the name.
Even if you decide to not get insurance, I REQUIRE YOU TO GET A SIGNATURE REQUEST! Seriously, MOST important step.
A wedding dress no matter how wonderful and delicate looking.. is just fabric.
FABRIC, not Glass. It's more durable than you think no need to stress! bubble wrap and packing peanuts are not even needed if the box fits the dress well.
It's a good idea to mentally add $200 to your quote, that way you have $100 planned to use on shipping and another $100 for steaming the dress once you get it back.
Typically Small dresses ship for around $20
Medium dresses around $50
Large dresses around $80
I cover return shipping for US clients and include insurance (amount is dependent on your dress and order) and ship USPS registered mail unless you need the dress quick (Then I'll use Priority). This includes a signature request.
For changes in method of return just ask.
Return Shipping is NOT included for International clients.
I Hope you found this helpful! If you can add any tips comment bellow.