wedding dresses

Destination wedding travel advice from the TSA

If you’re a bride planning a destination wedding, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) suggests you plot your trip through airport security as carefully as you plan that trip down the aisle.

That way, you’ll avoid wrinkles, both in the process — and in your dress.

Courtesy National Library of Wales

“Brides-to-be can definitely bring their wedding dress through a security checkpoint,” TSA employee and occasional blog contributor Lynn Dean wrote recently on the TSA’s blog. But she said if the dress can’t lay flat in its garment bag or box and fit through the X-ray machine, TSA officers will screen the dress manually.

If that happens, “Stay calm,” said Jack Ezon, president of Ovation Vacations, a luxury-focused Virtuoso agency that plans more than 200 destination celebrations a year. “Many dresses have wires and fake jewels and other decoration that may need to be inspected. And even through TSA agents wear gloves, you can ask them to put on a fresh pair before touching your dress.”

For the flight, Ezon suggests brides book a first-class or upgraded seat to get early boarding and first pick of storage space in the overhead bins or the closets. “I’ve had brides whose dresses were so elaborate that we even booked the dress its own seat.”

Ezon also said that while it’s important to protect a wedding dress on an airplane, there are other outfits to be concerned with as well. “You have the mothers of the bride and groom as well. They’re all focused on getting their clothing there, too.”

Beyond dresses, the TSA’s Dean notes other wedding-related items that may cause a checkpoint glitch for those on their way to getting hitched. Knives designed to cut wedding cakes should be shipped or put in checked bags, but wired bouquets are OK, “along with rice, birdseed, sand and candy-coated almonds,” she said.

Jewelry and other valuables should be packed in carry-on, not checked bags. And gifts for the bridal party should be wrapped at the destination, in case they require additional screening.

Another important consideration: identification. A bride may leave for her destination wedding with one last name but return to the airport with another. Current TSA rules require that the name on a ticket match the name on an ID exactly but, often, honeymoon tickets are made in the married couple’s name.

The TSA’s advice: “Take your marriage license with you in the event you booked your plane tickets in your married name but haven’t updated your driver’s license.”

Ezon isn’t totally comfortable with that advice. “It’s often left to the discretion of TSA or immigration officers whether or not to accept a marriage license as a legal document. But a wedding or honeymoon is such a big deal. You don’t really want to rely on that.”

Bottom line: Make sure your paperwork, like your partner, is a perfect match.

(My story: Planning a Destination Wedding? What to know before you go, was first published on’s Overhead Bin)