Tips on Shipping Your Wedding Dress
First off the following information is as of 02/07/18 and from hearsay.
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 - Cheapest, but it's had its name soiled with accusations in the past. According to my personal experience, USPS packages have never had issues and arrive in better condition and quicker than both FedEx and Ups. I'm under the impression that they have stepped up their game and changed for the better.
Ups is viewed as the best, and FedEx is comparable with Ups. From personal experience, I only know that they cost more for small light mail and customer packages from them often arrive with more damage. Contents are fine but boxes destroyed.
The following information are tips I have acquired from many trips to USPS (3&4). As well help to package your dress (1&2). 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 and a hanger can damage a dress during shipping, 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, no need to do a full vacuum just reducing some of the air is extremely helpful, for any dress with Tulle especially! 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 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).
3. Choose a box with a max dimension of **15 inches** if you can.
Why? Costs will double when shipping priority mail for anything over 17 in, and they round up...so 16.2 is considered 17 in. Meaning buying a box with the internal size of 16 in will end up being considered 17 in and thus expensive. If you use a vacuum bag like stated above getting it under 15 in should be no issue for most gowns, just might have to re-fold it a few times to get the right shape. If your dress is simpler, no crinoline. you can probably use a FREE flat rate priority mail box from USPS and get even better rates. Just check your local USPS. Can't get it that small? Use Register Mail instead of Priority.
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, if you're under 17 in. I never miss a package from USPS. 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)
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. Recently my complex has had a LOT of mail stolen, only minutes after the mail was delivered. Luckily I personally have not had any mail taken but only one condo down from me has.
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.
With these tips, your package will be around only $40 fully insured!
Last Note: I cover return shipping for US clients (up to $40). I include insurance for cost of the coloring 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.